Man, is there anything better than putting that first piece of perfectly barbecued steak into your mouth? Well, unless your a vegetarian, and it would probably make you convulse and puke, and well, that really doesn't sound very enjoyable. If that's you, then it's probably best moving on to the next blog post. Although, I think I have heard of grilling tofu, but can't say that I've ever tried it. At least not willingly.
Anyway, who hasn't had the experience of putting expensive cuts of beef on the grill in anticipation of tender, juicy guest-pleasing steaks and having them emerge as dried-out, barely chewable disasters? Well, as with everything, there's a name for the fear of repeating this experience. It's called grilling anxiety, or G.A. to those in the business.
Well, thanks to Jonathan Torres, executive chef at the Morton’s, The Steakhouse in San Juan (Caribe Hilton Hotel) , your olde pal Don Dees has the top ten tips to avoid grilling anxiety. And let me tell you Morton's knows steak. Last year alone, the chefs at the company’s 69 restaurants broiled more than 2,400,000 steaks.
Top Ten Essential Tips for Perfect Steaks
- Size Does Matter! Steaks at least 1” to 1 1/2” thick are best for grilling. The thicker cuts can sear on the outside and still not be overdone inside. While a thinner cut, anything under an inch, is likely to dry out on the grill.
- Bring ‘em in from out of the cold. Steaks should be at room temperature before grilling.
- Check the oil. Before you begin, lightly oil the grilling rack. It keeps the meat from sticking and tearing – and losing its natural juices.
- It’s got to be hot! Pre-heat the grill to 600-800 degrees and keep it at that temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before putting the steaks on. It’s during the first few minutes of grilling that the high temperature sears the meat, forming the coating that seals in those tasty juices.
- Use a seasoned approach: Add a bit of seasoning before placing the steak on the grill. Some salt and pepper can do wonders.
- Don't overcook! Cooking steaks on the grill too long will cause moisture to evaporate, increasing the likelihood that the meat will be tougher and less juicy.
- Stick a fork in it? Never!! Always use tongs or a spatula to turn over a steak during grilling. And resist the temptation to use a fork to test the steak for doneness as it’s being grilled. A fork will pierce the meat and allow the juices to seep out.
- One good turn…is enough! After you put your steak on the grill, don’t turn it over before at least five minutes of grilling have elapsed on one side. Turning too soon can prevent searing from taking place. The steak should be seared on one side, then turned, seared on the other side and allowed to cook to the preferred doneness.
- Won’t let go? If the steak sticks to the surface when you’re trying to turn it over, stop trying. It’s a sure sign that it needs more searing on that side. Give it more time.
- Keep your lid on! By keeping the lid closed during grilling, you increase the broiling temperature, while decreasing the cooking time.
There you have it! Although, I have a small confession to make, I love grilling. But I'm afraid that I'm guilty of not following a few of those tips. So I'm looking forward to making a few changes and tasting the results. Wow, my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Let me know what your secrets to grilling are and I'll compile a list and share them with everyone else.
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