Seven Myths About Grilling a Steak

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Cooking
instructor and author of Planet
Barbecue
Steven Raichlen knows a thing or two about grilling
a steak, and today he’s debunking a few grilling myths that’ll help
make your weekend barbecue that much better.

The perfect
steak is one of the "high holies" of the grill. So let’s
dispel some common myths to help you nail the perfect steak every
time.

Myth 1:
A steak is a steak is a steak.

Fact:

Not all steaks
are created equal and each requires its own special way of grilling.
Thin ones, like skirt and flank steaks, should be grilled quickly
over a hot fire. Thick steaks, like a porterhouse or T-bone, require
a two zone fire – the hot zone for searing, the medium hot
zone for cooking the meat through. Tough, fibrous steaks, like flank
steaks, should be scored on the top and bottom to tenderize them
and thinly sliced across the grain when served. Lean steaks, like
filet mignon, require added fat, either in the form of an oil-based
marinade or a wrapping of pancetta or bacon.

Myth 2:
You should
bring a steak to room temperature before grilling.

Fact:

Leaving meat
out at room temperature is a formula for disaster and there isn’t
a respectable steak house in the world that does it. Steaks (indeed,
any meat) should be kept ice-cold – and bacteria free –
until the moment they go on the grill. (When you’re working over
a 600° to 800°F fire, it takes mere seconds to take the
chill off the meat.)

Myth 3:
Salt toughens steak. Don’t apply it before grilling.

Fact:

A generous
sprinkling of salt (kosher or coarse sea salt) and cracked black
peppercorns applied just prior to grilling gives you the savory
crust and robust flavor characteristic of the best steak house steaks.
Grill masters from Florence to Florianópolis back me up on
this. Season steaks right before they go on the grill. Just don’t
season them hours ahead or the salt will draw out the meat juices
and make the steaks soggy.

Myth 4:
A barbecue fork is the proper tool for turning a steak.

Fact:

Stabbing a
steak with a fork serves only to puncture the meat and drain out
the juices. Turn your steaks with tongs.

Read
the rest of the article

June
28, 2010

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