by Parke Ulrich
from Fine Cooking 129, pp.36-42
As executive chef of Epic Roasthouse, a steakhouse in San Francisco, I know a few things about steak. Here are my tips for great grilling, plus easy ways to add flavor with a fragrant marinade, a toasty spice rub, a tangy herb sauce, and a flavored butter bound to become your new favorite thing.
A - Advance planning
At least 1 hour before grilling, and preferably much longer than that, I rub my steaks with olive oil and then season them generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Salt is the key here, and it does two things: It draws out moisture, which concentrates flavor, and it begins to break down muscle tissue, making the meat more tender. If you plan to season your steaks more than 1 hour ahead, refrigerate them uncovered and let them come to room temperature before grilling.
Test Kitchen Tip: Why we love kosher salt
B - Butcher
Knowing where to buy steaks is just as important as knowing how to cook them, and developing a relationship with your butcher is invaluable. He or she can educate you on the wide variety of steak cuts and help you with special orders. While all of this can happen at a supermarket, a dedicated butcher shop will likely offer more variety, including prime beef (the highest grade) and aged steaks, so it's worth seeking one out in your area.
Test Kitchen Tip: When you look for a good professional butcher, searching The Butcher's Guild is a good place to start. Members take an oath to maintain integrity and support local, sustainable farms. Use this map to find a member of The Butcher's Guild in your area.
C - Compound butters
A flavored (compound) butter is a really easy way to dress up a grilled steak. Gutsy and aromatic ingredients like fresh herbs, blue cheese, garlic, olives, roasted peppers, anchovies, capers, and chiles are all good candidates for mashing into softened butter along with salt and pepper. Then it's simply a matter of topping the hot steak with some of the butter and letting it melt into delicious goodness.
|Grilled Strip Steaks with Miso-Truffle Butter||New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter||Latin-Style Flank Steak with Chipotle Butter|
More great butters to try on any steak
|New York Steaks with Martini Butter||New York Strip Steaks with Sweet Pepper-Chorizo Butter||Sirloin Tip Steaks with Café de Paris Butter|