Thursday, June 2, 2011

the saga of an epic steak

steak & sweatpant sunday has become a tradition around here. after a busy weekend at the market, complete with early morning meringue making & late night last minute baking, i'm generally pretty tired. nothing recharges me like an epic steak from getaway farm. i now have a standing order for their most gigantic top sirloin each week - i think they get a kick out of how much i can eat too!
this is what they set aside for me this week.

i know i technically shouldn't be eating this much meat in one serving, but i only eat meat once a week so i figure it all comes out in the wash.
now i've said this before, but top sirloins are great. my culinary background is in fine dining so all i'm used to dealing with are tenderloins, striploins & ribeyes. in my opinion, tenderloin doesn't have much flavour, striploins are great but pricey & ribeyes are rad but the fat to meat ratio is a little high for me these days. when the lads suggested i try this cut, i was pleasantly surprised with the combo of flavour, tenderness and price - it's a keeper.
i like my steaks grilled - the charred exterior, the smokey flavour, the absence of a smoke-filled kitchen or a pan to wash up... 
this is where i do my grilling:

it made the trip home with me from ottawa. i can't find the top rack and one of the doors is broken, but it still works great and i love it. that's the thing with bbq's, you have to get to know your grill - find its hot spots, learn how it holds the heat, figure out how to connect the side burner (still working on that one...). this one also has cast iron grills. if you are in the market for a grill this summer, invest in cast iron. just like the best way to cook a steak indoors is in a well seasoned cast iron pan, the best way to cook one outside is on a well seasoned cast iron grill. 
ok back to steak, i don't do anything too fancy. with a nice cut of meat you don't need a marinade or fancy dry rub - sometimes i make homemade montreal steak spice, but most of the time i can't be bothered when i'm just cooking for myself. the tried & true combo of salt & pepper works just fine. 
preheat the grill to max & give it time to heat up. make sure to work on clean grills - any icky remnants increase the likelihood of 'stickage' and i often squirt veg oil on a kitchen rag and give the grills a quick wipe down - don't go squirting the oil right on the grill unless, of course, you don't enjoy having eyebrows.
then slap that baby on the grill - if you don't hear a nice sizzle you didn't preheat long enough.

to get nice, cross-hatched, char marks place it on the grill like this. wait a minute & then rotate it a quarter turn. like this:

don't fiddle with it. i find that people always stress & freak out when bbq'ing. just chill out. your meat will essentially tell you when it is ready to be flipped. once you have developed a nice caramelized crust to the meat, it will naturally release from the grills and be super easy to flip. if your steak is stuck, give it another minute & try again.
another question people always ask is: 'lid up or down?" i pretty much always go lid down. i also live in perhaps the windiest place on earth, so having the lid open for any length of time just wicks away all of the heat. if you're grilling shrimp or scallops on a hot, sunny day with no wind, go ahead, leave the lid up, but otherwise i'd keep it down.
ok, so once a couple more minutes have elapsed, it's time to flip that steak over.

yahooo!!! that looks pretty darn good, if i do say so myself.
repeat the same technique on the other side and then take it off the grill. let it rest for a few minutes so the juices redistribute instead of spilling all over your plate. people are often confused about resting meat. just think of it this way - if you were placed on a screaming hot grill, you'd probably freak out & contract and try to shrink away from the heat as much as possible. a steak does the same thing; all of the juices rush to the centre of the meat. by letting it chill out for a few minutes after it's off the heat, the juices will go back to their original position and create a much more even distribution of flavour and tenderness in the finished product. if you're worried about losing all of the heat, just tent is with a little foil, you'd be surprised how much heat it retains.
today i will be attempting planked salmon & smoked pork shoulder in the wind and rain... this should be interesting... i'll try to document it, but also don't fancy a water-logged iphone...


  1. that is one pretty looking steak. can we have that when i come and visit? with some potato salad? yeah... that combo would be SWEET.

  2. no problemo - anything for my sous!