Steak Grilling Secrets Of A Master Back Yard CookSteak Grilling Secrets Of A Master Back Yard Cook

Are there really grilling secrets that make some back yard chefs better than others?

I can't say that "secrets" is the right word, but I can definitely say that there are some things that, if not done correctly, will make for a less-appealing dish. This is especially true with steaks.

Grilling a great (not just good) steak starts long before firing up the grill. Buying the right cut of meat is at least as important as anything else you will do. Buy the best that you can afford.

Filet mignon, porterhouse, t-bone, and top sirloin are the top choices for your grill. These cuts will require the least amount of pre-grill preparation. New York Strip and ribeye steaks are also very good, but will sometimes need a bit more tenderizing.

Your steaks should be between 1 and 1-1/2 inches thick. If you have chosen the strip or ribeye, make sure that the "marbling" is sufficient and marinate them in standard meat tenderizer and pure lemon juice for one to two hours prior to putting them on the grill. This mixture will eat away any ligament material but leave the tasty fat. Wipe (don't wash) the mixture from the meat before grilling.

Personally, this is the only marinade that I ever use, but I know that others like to use other marinades or "rubs" to add additional flavor. For me, if I'm going to take the time and expense to grill the perfect porterhouse steak, the steak is all I want to taste. But, you can use them if you want to.

When you're ready to cook, make sure that you have everything you may need at the grill. Having enough charcoal or fuel for gas grills will ensure that you don't have to stop half way through cooking to rebuild your fire. Have all of your cooking tools, marinades (if you use them), any anything else that you might need at the cooking sight. Grilling the best steak should take all of your time and attention. You'll have no time to leave the grill and look for something that you forgot to bring.

If you're using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal with a chimney starter or paraffin lighter cubes. Using lighter fluid can taint the flavor of your steaks. And, be sure to let the coals burn down to a white ash before you begin cooking.

Let your steaks sit at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes before putting them on the grill. Once you begin, stay at the grill! Juices dripping from the steaks can cause flare-ups, and flare-ups burn steaks.

During cooking, only turn your steaks once. When you do turn, use tongs or a spatula. Never (ever!) stab cooking steaks with a fork. The holes will allow the most flavorable juices to seep out. After turning, insert a meat thermometer into the center of the steak.

For "rare", cook to no more than 150 degrees(F), "medium", 155-160 degrees(F), and "well done", 170+ degrees(F). Remember, too, that meat continues to cook for a short time after being removed from the grill. Let the steaks "rest" for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

So, are these grilling "secrets"? Hardly, but they are the proper steps that are taken by every Master Back Yard Cook that I know.
by D. Thomas Webb
References and Bibliography
For the best in back yard grilling, you may want to consider the Weber Performer charcoal grill. Read our thoughts on this terrific grill: http://www.jdtradeco.com/weber-performer-charcoal-grill
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