Tuesday, July 22, 2008

6 Steps to a Great Steak

6 Steps to a Great Steak

• Use fresh beef that you've just bought or have refrigerated for up to three days. Do not use meat that has been frozen.

• Preheat your gas grill on high for at least 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grates. Remember to keep the lid closed during preheating and as you cook.

• Trim excess fat from the steak. Then season the meat with freshly ground pepper and kosher or coarse salt, using a little more salt than usual since some will drip off during cooking.

• To get steakhouse-quality grill marks, place one end of the steak diagonal to the grates facing left (pointing to 10 o'clock). Then, without flipping the steak, move the end so that it now faces right (pointing to 2 o'clock). Flip the steak and repeat the previous two steps.

• Grill a boneless steak, such as rib-eye or sirloin, 1 to 11/2 inches thick, for 90 seconds for each step if you prefer rare meat. Grill a bone-in steak, like a porterhouse, for 2 minutes per step for rare. Add 30 seconds per step for medium-rare. Cook for 3 minutes per step for medium-well. Remove the steak from the grill.

• A meat thermometer should register 145º F for medium-rare, 160º F for medium, and 165º F for medium-well, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

You might have heard that charring your food can lead to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. It’s not yet known how much HCAs might increase cancer risk in people, but there are ways to limit your exposure. Read "Don't Char the Meat" for more details.—Steven H. Saltzman