Saturday, March 10, 2012

the art of cooking a perfect steak (lyn)

I look for unusual things to do and then try to find people with whom to do them.  Trust me, finding the activity is a whole lot easier than finding the people (and I have a lot of friends). The other day, for example,  I come across a Groupon for an urban adventure.  It sounds intriguing. It is only $14, regularly $28.99 (and I am willing to buy the ticket).  Here’s the description I send out.  Timing is open.

Each UrbanQuest journey consists of a series of clues to be solved by a small team of your most loyal companions. The Holy Grail could take a long time to find, but this journey ends in time for dinner -- within about an hour and a half, your search will lead you to a reservation at a mystery restaurant (you pick the cuisine). This deal is sure to thrill, so get yours today and let the exploits begin.

I email 12 people.  Ellen responds asking the timing.  Gail responds with:

I am living my own Urban Adventure.   Let me know if you see a deal for a Bermuda beach detox non-adventure. 

I don’t hear from the other ten.  Clearly, none of my friends are interested in an urban adventure.

Today, I try for something more homey.  At 2pm, the executive chef from Del Frisco’s Grille (Scott Kroener) will be giving tips on cooking the perfect steak.  He’ll be in the Housewares department at Bloomingdales.  I send an email to only seven this time (one of my friends is a vegetarian; I don’t email her, and a few others already have plans).  Only two people respond, and they cannot come.  I go alone.

It is more crowded that I thought it would be.  Maybe 30 people.  The chef is engaging and knowledgeable.  He clearly knows his meats, and the chemistry involved in cooking them.  

Some of his tips I know, and some I don’t.  Here’s what he tells us.

Porterhouse (strip and filet)
  • If ordering at a restaurant, ask for the third cut 
  • Should be 1 inch or more in thickness and the filet section should be two inches or more in length
  • If ordering at a restaurant, ask for it medium rare and charred (unless of course you don't like medium rare)
  • Prefers bone-in; the meat near the bone is the best
  • Should be cut 1.5 to 2.0 inches; about 22 ounces
Cooking at home
  • Always use prime beef
  • Steak should be at room temperature before cooking
  • Place in very hot pan
  • Don’t need any oil in pan, but if there are no grill lines, you can use a little oil (but not directly on the meat)
  • Use kosher salt and regular ground pepper, and over season because a lot comes off while cooking
  • Season right before the steak is put in the pan…season side down
  • Season second side, right before flipping it
  • Flip when steak looks very charred
  • If you are using a pan with grill marks, turn steak to get cross marks
  • Never use a fork; use prongs
  • Let steaks rest so juices don't run out
  • Lastly, finish your steak by brushing it with a bit of melted butter to take the edge off the seasoning as well as adding a slight richness to the steak.

When is steak done?
  • Use fat below thumb:  top part is rare, second level is medium rare, etc.

We all get to sample the meat after the chef cooks it.  Amazing.  

I wish I weren’t going home to a tuna fish sandwich for dinner. But it is a lot fewer points.

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