The famed filet, the most tender of all steaks. Caution: The lack of fat causes this steak to dry out very quickly! Rare and a touch under medium rare are your best bets here unless you like a dry, albeit tender, steak.
New York Strip
A favorite of steak lovers. The strip is the perfect balance of tenderness and flavor. Not quite equal to the filet in tenderness but exponentially more flavorful, the strip steak is sometimes also referred to as a shell steak or club steak in other lands. But in New York, it’s always a New York strip steak.
The best of both worlds, the porterhouse combines the filet and the strip steak (with a bone in between). It is the perfect steak to be shared by two people. It’s smaller cousin, the T-bone is fundamentally the same cut, but comes from the smaller area of the short loin.
The marbling is the key here. More marbling equals more flavor. When given the choice, pick the rib eye with the bone-in.
A richly-flavored cut, this is for the caveman in all of us who desires a nice big steak with lots of mineral flavor.
Charcoal vs. Gas
While you may not be able to tell a huge difference between a burger cooked over charcoal and one cooked over gas, with steaks you most certainly will. While Kingsford is ubiquitous, a natural wood charcoal will give better smoky flavor.
Cast Iron Skillet
If your bbq is being used for other foods, a cast iron skillet is the favored tool of chefs everywhere. The heat is diffused evenly and a well-seasoned cast iron skillet makes a better non-stick surface than that Teflon pan. For a thick steak such as a London broil or big sirloin, season liberally with salt and pepper, maybe a little garlic, and a dash of oil, sear each side on high heat for 1-2 minutes then put the entire skillet in a 450 degree oven for 5-8 minutes. Let steak stand before slicing. For a thin steak, sear for 2 minutes on each side and let stand.
The Spice Rub
An expensive prime steak won’t need much seasoning—salt, pepper and a little garlic is enough. But if you love your spice, have fun with the rub, experiment until you find the balance that works for you. Start with salt, pepper and garlic, and then add what you can find on your spice rack—ground cumin, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar and onion powder are all good possibilities.
Grilling Your Steaks
Seasoned and seared by Cornelius Gallagher
If you have access to it, aged prime beef is always a better choice than what you will find in the supermarket. Choose cuts of meat that lend themselves to the grilling technique. Grilling is a “dry heat” cooking technique, so it won’t break down elastic or other tough muscle fibers. Cuts like sirloin (strip) or filet mignon (beef tenderloin) work well.
Prep the Grill
Always pre-heat the grill on high for at least 10 minutes before grilling. Just before putting the steak on the grill, dip a folded towel in some vegetable oil and run it over the tines of the grill. This will prevent the steak from sticking. As an added measure, you can rub a bit of oil on the steak itself.
‘Tis the Season
Always season the steak before grilling it, but not too far in advance. If you season it too early, the meat will “sweat,” which will increase the likelihood of sticking.
Make sure that the grill rack isn’t too close to the flame. As the steak cooks, it releases fat. That fat drips down onto the open flame. If the steak is not positioned high enough above the flame, the fat will “flare up” and give a burnt-carbon flavor to the steak.
After the steak has cooked, make sure you rest it for 15 minutes per pound of meat cooked. When you cook meat, all of the juices drive toward the center of the cut. After you remove it from the heat, the juices need time to redistribute throughout the flesh. If not, you will cut into the steak and juices will come out onto your plate or cutting board. This will make the steak dry.
St. Louis slows
Pulled Pork and Ribs by Eric Rifkin, Executive Chef and Owner of Bobbique
Pick your pork
We always use fresh bone-in pork butt for our pulled pork, cooked slow and low.
It’s important to find the right balance between the salt and sugar in your rub. You need the sweetening of the sugar, white or brown, to balance the acidity from the tomato or vinegar. You really want to caramelize the meat so it forms a bark, the dark outer coating.
When real wood is added to the cooking process, it forms a smoke ring in the pork, a pink coloring under the surface crust (or bark) in the pork.
We use St. Louis ribs, which have been trimmed to a rectangle shape. St. Louis ribs are meatier than baby backs and leaner than spare ribs. Baby backs are a commodity item so they are usually previously frozen. You can tell when a rib has been previously frozen if after you eat them, the rib is dark or gray.