Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tips for Grilling Great Steaks - Part 2

Here are some helpful things to remember when using a tenderizing marinade:

A tenderizing marinade contains a food acid or a tenderizing enzyme.
Acidic ingredients are lemon and or lime juice, vinegar, Italian Dressing, salsa,yogurt and wine
Tenderizing enzymes are present in fresh ginger, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, and figs

Tenderizing marinades penetrate down about a 1/4 inch into the meat.For these cuts of meat the marinade process is longer. Anywhere from 6 hours minimum to no longer than 24 hours.

After that then the meat may start to become mushy and remember we want steak not mush. There are tons of marinades out there on the shelves or you can make them yourself.

Check out online as well, you will be amazed at what you find.

Always marinade your meat in either a Non-Conductive glass or stainless steel bowl or in a good Zip-Lock baggie that is then stored in a bowl in the refrigerator.

Before cooking the meat you need to allow it to warm up. SPECIAL NOTE: This is where most people will tell you no you cannot take it out and let it get to room temperature, it will get bacteria and hurt you. Well that is true if you do not clean your counters, but if you keep your area clean (kitchen work area that is) and work with the food with either gloves on or washing your hands frequently you should keep that from happening.

The reason for getting the meat to room temperature is, well have you ever had a good steak but the middle is a little tough? Well that is because it was not warmed up before throwing it on the grill. If there is a cold spot in the middle of your steak let it sit a little longer. I usually have mine in a baggie on the granite counter top that helps extract the cold out of the meat. ( yes it really does help get it where it needs to be on temperature). The baggie helps keep it safe while it warms up.

Now I KNOW there are people that will argue with that till they are blue in the face, but I will let you test it out if you want. All I can say is, if you allow the meat to warm to room temperature (65-70 degrees not above that) and when you are ready to grill, if you touch the center of the steak ( with gloves on or washed hands ) and it feels not cold cold but like about the temp of the room, your steak will be very juicy and not tough in the center.

With the grill ready you will want to have one side of the grill on a medium high to high heat and the other side either on low or off. Gas grillers one side on and one side off, Charcoal grillers coals on one side none on the other. This is Direct and Indirect Grilling. Use a old CLEAN rag and put some EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) on it and coat the grates on the grill. This will help keep the meat from sticking.

Then place the meat over the hot side for 45 seconds. Lift rotate 90 degrees and another 45 seconds. Repeat this on the other side. This will give you those great grill marks.Once that is done then place the meat on the other side and let it cook with indirect grilling turning only once or twice.

There are two ways you can check to see if it is done. The first way is to do the finger test. If your fingertip presses into the meat too much then it is not time. If you press it in and it feels spongy and has some bounce you may be done. You can use a thermometer, but remember any holes on the meat will let the juices leak out and give you a dry steak. Here is a site that describes it a little more for you:


Once the meat is then cooked you will want to place it all on a plate and then cover with foil tightly and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak and not leak out and give you dry steak as you cut into it. Also the steak will cook about 5 degrees more than when you took it off, so remember that when you use a thermometer checking the temp.

Here is a good spot to look at the times and temp when cooking:
Cooking Times

Well this is a sampling of how to grill a great steak. I may add something later on. My brain is currently shutting down for the weekend.

OH, one last thing. NEVER, and I mean NEVER (my personal opinion) use any instrument other than a thermometer to poke the meat. Get a good set of long handled tongs. Any holes in the meat will defeat the purpose of a good juicy nicely done steak.

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