With spring in the air, it means time to roll out the grill from the garage and get ready for BBQ season. Technically I don’t need warm temperatures to grill, since I’ve grilled outside even when there’s been a couple feet of snow on the ground. Oh how I envy those of you living in climates where is warm all 365 days of the year. Traditionally BBQ in the Caribbean means 2 things.. chicken and fish and getting good cuts of beef to grill is somewhat difficult at the grocery stores. Last October when we were down on the islands we had a terrible time sourcing a good cut of meat (t-bone,NY strip, prime rib or tenderloin) so we opted to hit a restaurant instead. BTW, where do these restaurants get their steaks from?
If you’re like me and love a good steak, here’s some of my tips for grilling a perfect steak. (sometimes I have to venture away from traditional dishes to show a little bit of variety on the site)
Start with a good cut of meat. One that’s trimmed and contains a bit of marbling. Check the beef has good marbling – little streaks of fat running through the meat. This melts when heated, helping the steak to baste itself from within as it cooks.Ideally you’d like to have your steak aged as the top steak houses do, but without the right conditions this is almost impossible for us to achieve. And most true steak lovers will say that they like their steak “naked”, but I like to dress and marinate my steaks before grilling.
In this recipe you’ll need…
– steaks (I used NY Strip)
– Montreal steak rub
– 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
I start by patting dry my steaks with a paper towel (make sure they’re fully thawed and at room temperature), then I pour the olive oil (make sure it’s extra virgin) over them and finally I sprinkle on some Montreal steak rub. Then, using my hands (you can use tongs) I make sure every steak is evenly coated evenly. I seal with some plastic wrap and allow to marinate for about 30 minutes at least.
Time for grilling – I’ll be the first to admit that ABSOLUTELY nothing beats the flavour you get from a charcoal grill, but I also like the convenience of a gas grill. Therefore that’s the one I have stored in my garage. Hopefully when we move back to the Caribbean I’ll finally be able to build a brick fireplace/grill in our back yard that I’ve always wanted to. Clean off the grill and get it up to a high temperature (about 425 should be good). To avoid any sticking I usually spray some vegetable cooking spray (like Pam) or you can dip a paper towel in some oil and brush onto the grill.
Place the meat on the hottest part of the grill. If at any time the grill flares up, move the steaks to the outside edge, returning them to the center when the flame dies down. Do not slide the steaks across the grill; gently pick them up with tongs. The key is not to flip them around. Ultimately you want to turn a New York strip steak only three times, cooking each side twice for 4 minutes at a time (for a total cooking time of 16 minutes), to get a medium steak with adequate char. See below for a way to test your steak for doneness, without having to cut through it.
Know when and how to turn the steak. Place the steaks on the grill at a 45° angle to the bars. Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate the steak 90° without turning over. This makes a nice crosshatch grill mark. You will know to flip the steak when you see tiny beads of blood beginning to form on the top.The proper way to turn is with tongs or spatula. Never, ever, stab the meat with a fork, as this will cause all the juices to run onto the coals and create a flavorless, dry steak.
* Note that cooking time will vary on two things, the temperature of your grill and thickness of your steak. So use the info I’m giving as a general guide.
How to get an idea on how done your steak is. (Follow with pictures below)
Place your hand open, palm side up and touch your thumb to your index finger. Then using a finger from your other hand, press gently onto the meaty portion at the base of your thumb as in the picture below. You’ll notice that it’s very soft. That’s the density of a rare steak if you were to press against it while it’s cooking. As you work your way using your other fingers (see pics below) you move from rare, to medium rare, medium and when press your pinkie finger to your thumb and press against the base of your thumb.. that’s what a well done steak will feel like if you were to press against it.
If you don’t have a jar of Montreal steak rub, you can create your own with the following combination: Combine 2 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 1 tablespoon granulated garlic, 1 tablespoon granulated onion, 1 tablespoon crushed coriander, 1 tablespoon dill, and 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes, and mix well.
Corn on the cob (no salt and butter for me please), caesar salad, pan fried mushrooms (olive oil, dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper) and my friend.. Mr steak!
Almost forgot to mention one of the most important steps.. Resting: Now for the most important part, don’t serve it right away. Let the steak “rest” for about 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness. This allows the juices to move back into the meat. Resting should be done in a place that is about room temperature and with only a loose covering over it.
Got some grilling tips you’d like to share with us or maybe you have a question we can help with? Leave us your comments below.