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

T - Touch
When I suggest you get a feel for grilling steak, I mean it literally. Take the steak's temperature, give it a poke with your finger, and see how it feels to you at the different temperatures, the most important one being just how you like it cooked.

Grill Master Video Tip: Poke steaks with your finger to tell when they're done

U - Umami
Umami is a basic taste just like sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Not sure you know it? Just take a bite of a well-seasoned, well-seared steak. That meaty, savory flavor is umami. You'll recognize umami flavor in wine, eggs, spinach, ripe tomatoes, mushrooms, soy, and aged cheeses. When you eat those foods along with steak, you're heightening the experience. Check out these umami-pack recipes:

Hanger Steak with Spicy Miso Glaze Grilled Steak and Peppered Spaetzle with Black Trumpet Mushrooms Porterhouse with Garlic-Soy Sauce Marinade
Hanger Steak with Spicy Miso Glaze   Grilled Steak and Peppered Spaetzle with Black Trumpet Mushrooms   Porterhouse with Garlic-Soy Sauce Marinade

V - Vigilance
It's easy to get distracted when you're outside grilling, but don't wander off too far or you may miss a flare-up and burn your steak. Grab a beer and stay close.

W - Wood
There's nothing like cooking a steak over a wood fire, but it's not a practical choice for most people. To get a similar smoky flavor, use some soaked wood chips. The chips will smolder and smoke, transferring that elemental flavor to your steak.

Grill Master Tip: How to make a homemade smoker pouch with soaked wood chips and heavy-duty foil.

X - X-ray vision
Determining doneness would be a breeze with X-ray vision, but until there's an app for that, an instant-read thermometer can let you "see" how the steak is cooked. The temps that follow reflect when you should take the steak off the grill:
For rare: 125°F
For medium rare: 130°F
For medium: 135°F
For medium well (not that I recommend it): 140°F
For well done: Well, don't.

Y - Yummy sauces
The buttery béarnaise and the Madeira sauce we serve at Epic both complement the richness of steak. Our horseradish and chimichurri sauces, on the other hand, offer contrast. In summer, I like a bright, tangy, chimichurri sauce.

Slideshow: 13 Ways to Sauce Your Steak. These warm and cool sauces were developed to accompany beef tenderloin, but any and all would be just as delicious with grilled steak.

Z - Zante grapes
Grapes and steak? You bet! Zante grapes (also called Champagne grapes, because the small, seedless grapes look like tiny bubbles) are a delicious, dramatic accompaniment for grilled steak. Char clusters of grapes on the grill (their thick skins can handle the heat) and serve alongside the steak; they're like red wine sauce on a vine, as the sweet tartness of the fruit marries perfectly with the salty, charred crust of grilled steak.

  champagne grapes
  Ingredient: Learn more about sweet champagne grapes
posted in: Blogs, grilling
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