Steak has to be one of the best, simplest and fastest things to cook, and it is something every man should have in his culinary toolbox. Besides being delicious, steak just has this aura about it that makes it manly. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it, the fact that it started out as just a slab of meet, or maybe it’s a little more carnal that that. I don’t know. But whatever it is, the steak is a sexy meal. When I picture the perfect date, it comes with a either a good red wine or some whisky, maybe some Sam Cooke in the background, and a perfect, well plated, medium rare steak.
So how do you cook this pinnacle of meats. Well peoples’ preferences are all different, but at it’s core a steak is pretty easy to prepare. First things first you are going to need some steak (room temperature), salt, pepper, olive oil, charcoal, lighter fluid, and a grill. Once you have those things you are ready to get started.
Preparing The Grill
Steak doesn’t have to be prepared on a grill, but it’s by far the best way. That’s just a fact. So, in order to start cooking, you are going to need to prepare your grill. For steaks, you want the heat as high as possible. To accomplish this pour about 100 briquettes of charcoal into the bottom of your grill. Arrange them into a a pyramid shape, pour a little bit of lighter fluid on them and light them up. Keeping the grill open, let the coals heat up. You’ll know they are ready when they have a red glow to them (around 15 minutes). Now spread the coals out evenly on one half of the grill, put the grate back on, brush it with some oil, make sure all the vents are open and it’s time to prepare the meat.
Preparing The Meat
A general rule of thumb is you want your steak about 1 inch thick. If it’s thicker pound the meat down till it’s about an inch. this also serves to tenderize the meat a little. Trim any excess fat to avoid flair ups on the grill and vertically slash the thin piece of fat around the outside of the steak to keep it from curling. Now, toss the steak in some oil for a second and liberally rub the steak all over with coarse salt and ground pepper. After that you’re good to start grilling.
Grilling The Steak
The moment you’ve been waiting for, it’s time to grill the steak. Our goal is to make the steak “medium-rare”. Some people may argue, an ignorant few, but medium-rare is the way you should prepare your steak. It has to do with the amount of doneness of a cut of beef where the temperature is just hot enough to allow the outside of the cut to caramelize and the fat to melt into the meat and distribute all the flavor while still keeping the inside of the cut juicy and tender. Cook it too long and you’ll most likely get a tough peice of meat; cook it too short and the fat doesn’t have the same opportunity to distribute. So, in order to get your steak to “medium-rare”, place it directly on the grill rack on the side with all the coals. Close the grill and leave it for 3-5 minutes. I always go on the safe side and try for right at 4 minutes. Once the time is up, flip the steak ONCE, and only once. Close the grill again and let it cook for another 3-5 minutes. Again I try to hit right at 4 minutes. After the timer goes off again, you’re done. If you are cooking more or aren’t serving just yet you can set them on the side without any of the coals, then once you are ready take them off and enjoy.
That’s all there really is to it. There is definitely an art to preparing the perfect steak, but the only way to get there is practice. So keep at it. Find the combination of salt and pepper that works for you. Try different times of cooking and thickness and see what works best. Just practice, practice, practice. It’s a skill worth having and something ever man should know how to do. Plus there’s something to be said for being know as the guy that “can cook the best steak you’ve ever had”. Everyone likes that guy.