Guide to Grilled Steak, from A-Z - FineCooking.com

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Guide to Grilled Steak, from A-Z

Park Ulrich is the executive chef at Epic Roasthouse and Waterbar in San Francisco.

Park Ulrich is the executive chef at Epic Roasthouse and Waterbar in San Francisco.

By Fine Cooking Editors, editor

June 4th, 2014

D - Dry-aged beef
Tender and full flavored, dry-aged beef is fantastic on the grill. It has less moisture, so it browns beautifully, and the smoke from the grill complements the funky-in-a-good-way flavor of the meat. Only the best grades of beef-ones with evenly distributed fat-are dry-aged, which adds to its allure. You won't find dry-aged beef in most supermarkets, but you can get it at some butcher shops or by mail order.

Test Kitchen Tip: How to dry-age beef at home

E - Equipment
Here are my essentials:

chimney starter A chimney is a quick, inexpensive, and easy way to light a charcoal fire. Just stuff the bottom of the metal cylinder with newspaper, add charcoal to the top, and light the paper. Thermodynamics does the rest. When the coals are ready, simply dump them into the grill.

tongs A good pair of stainless steel tongs is essential for flipping steaks and moving them around on the grill. I've pretty much singed off all the hair on my forearms from years of cooking over live fire, but if you want to keep yours, look for tongs with a handle at least 12 inches long.

basting brush For brushing steaks with marinades, infused oils, and glazes. I'm a little old school and so prefer one with a long wooden handle and natural bristles, but silicone bristles also make sense when working over flames.

grill brush A dirty grill makes food taste bad and can cause it to stick, so invest in a good quality grill brush to keep things clean. The best have stiff wire bristles and an offset handle so that you can apply an even amount of pressure while cleaning. To clean well, heat the grill first and then brush away that old carbon buildup.

Chimney Starter Tongs Grill Brush
Chimney starter   Stainless steel tongs (right)   Grill brush

 

F - Fat
Because fat equals flavor, you want steaks with even marbling; this intramuscular fat melts during grilling, naturally basting the meat so that it's juicy. Notice the marbling in these cuts and click on the links to learn more about them.

Porterhouse rib eye steak Beef top sirloin
Porterhouse   Rib eye steak   Beef top sirloin

 

G - Grill Gas or charcoal?
I prefer a charcoal grill for best flavor, but I appreciate the convenience of a gas grill. Your choice. Or, better yet, have both on hand, one for weeknight cooking and the other for weekends.

Test Kitchen Tip: How to add smoke to a gas grill 

H - Hanger steak (and other value cuts)
Often referred as the "butcher's steak" because butchers would keep it for themselves, hanger steak is prized for its flavor and tenderness. It grills quickly and is best served rare to medium rare. Other good value steaks include flank, skirt, and flat iron.

Grilled Spice-Rubbed Hanger Steak Argentine Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa Criolla Grilled Skirt Steak with Quick Romesco Sauce
Grilled Spice-Rubbed Hanger Steak   Argentine Spice-Rubbed Flank Steak with Salsa Criolla   Grilled Skirt Steak with Quick Romesco Sauce

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