Sunday, June 1, 2008

Steak redux

I love to cook steak. Next to boilin' shrimp, it is the most rewarding dish that requires the least amount of effort going.
But I screw up from time to time. I can blame the steak, but I've cooked enough steaks to know how to do it right. And on Memorial Day I didn't do it right.
The wife and I grabbed a couple steaks at the grocery store the day before. I took them home and laid down a rub. When the time was right, all I had to do was pull them out of the fridge, throw them on the grill and cook them properly.
Unfortunately, in this case two out of three was bad.
Now, a lesser person would blame how thin and fatty these rib eyes were (and they were). Still, I've grilled steaks like that to crusty and juicy perfection. Last Monday, though, I screwed the pooch.
Alright, that's overstating it a bit, but they weren't my best effort. Nevertheless, I shrugged it off and moved on.
And then I saw it.
Wandering through D.C.'s Eastern Market on Saturday, I saw a 1.5 lb. porterhouse in the butcher's cooler. It was thick, bloody and beautiful. I knew right then and there that it would be the steak to redeem me.
I bought it, laid down a rub and several hours later, I did it right.
I feel better now -- not the least because I have a pound of Black Angus beef in me (I did share some of it). I feel better because I cooked a steak, a simple steak, and I did it right.
So here's how it went down and the damn easy recipe that I used to grill it.

Grilled steak

1 1.5 pound porterhouse or t-bone steak

1 tbs. of rub (I use a modified version of Steven Raichlen's basic barbecue rub) or a generous amount of cracked black pepper and a tsp. of sea salt

Put the rub on the steak and stick it in the fridge for at least four hours. Ideally, you want to let the steak (or steaks) sit overnight. If you're using a charcoal grill, pull the steak out of the fridge when you light the coals. If you're using a gas grill, pull them out 30 minutes ahead of time so the meat loses some of its chill.

When you're ready to cook, oil the grates with a bit of canola or vegetable oil to prevent the steak from sticking.
Cook the steak for 5 minutes directly over the coals or a medium flame. This will form a crust and partially cook the steak. Turn the steak and cook for another 4 minutes. Then, move the steak away from the direct heat and cook for another 6 minutes. (This amount of time will produce a rare steak -- when you're cooking a 1.5 lb. steak. And when you buy a high quality 1.5 lb. Black Angus steak, you eat it rare. If you want more of a medium rare steak, when you pull it away from the direct heat, cook it for about 10 minutes.)

Pull the steak off and let it rest for about 7 minutes.
The wife and I shared the 1.5 lb. Black Angus beast with a salad, some blue cheese and a couple Sea Hag IPAs from New England Brewing Co.
Frickin' delicious.
(Quick note on blue cheese: Many people melt the blue cheese on the steak, which is great. However, if you have a real soft and creamy blue cheese, serve it on the side. The cold and hot contrast between the cheese and steak is great. Plus, the flavor of the cheese isn't muddled by the juices of the steak, which can happen when you melt it on top.)

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