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The real secrets for cooking perfect steak that chefs wont tell you

The Real Secrets for Cooking Perfect Steak that Chefs won’t tell You

Cooking perfect steak might mean different things to different people, but by using the same — very simple procedure, everyone can achieve their own personal definition of perfection right on their BBQ grill. The process begins with choosing and preparing a whole beef tenderloin and ends with knowing exactly when that steak has finished cooking to the doneness that you want it to be. And all of this happens without disrupting the steak’s beauty with knife gashing and checking that center for «pinkness.» Intrigued? Give me 10 minutes and I’ll give you my formula for cooking perfect steak on your outdoor grill tonight!

It All Starts BEFORE Cooking Tenderloin!
For most carnivores, the beginning of the process towards steak nirvana is when you actually start cooking tenderloin. Unfortunately, this approach leaves out one of my best secrets for cooking perfect steak: start with the whole tenderloin. There are so many advantages to buying a whole tenderloin and breaking it down yourself. You can definitely save some money learning how to do this, and it is a lot easier than you think. When you buy the whole tenderloin, the first thing you have to do before cooking tenderloin is to remove the «chain». The chain is the side muscle; it contains a lot of the fat and is great for use later in stews, chilis or even my favorite treat: Tenderloin Philly Cheesesteak. But that’s a whole other way for cooking tenderloin and beyond the scope of this article! Once you’ve removed the chain, you must remove the thick top end of the tenderloin — «the head». This, too can be set aside and used later. What you are left with is a long tenderloin from which to cut your steaks. The most important thing to remember is to try to cut the steaks of consistent size by weight. Consistent size equals consistent cooking, which equals reliable cooking! Use a scale and aim for a consistent size somewhere between 3 and 5 oz per steak, depending on who you’re cooking for.

Do you Really Know How to Grill Beef?
If you believe most people, grilling takes no skill at all. It’s so much easier than cooking and anyone can do this with little advance planning or common knowledge. Right? This is actually one of my favorite cooking myths! Knowing correctly how to grill beef (or anything else) is essential to outdoor cooking success. Grilling is direct source conductive heat. Cooking is to grilling as driving is to flying a rocket ship. Everything happens quickly and intensely with grilling and that includes mistakes. So, let’s begin with the simple process:

  1. First, get the grill as hot as possible. Keep the lid down while heating the grill, but open when cooking. This is another common grilling mistake. If you close the lid while cooking, the method you are applying is similar to that of oven cooking. Why bother doing it outside on the grill?
  2. Brush the steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. You can use any other kind of seasoning or rub here, but I find that the true steak flavor comes from a good cut of meat and you don’t need anything else. You might have a different opinion so season as you see fit.
  3. Place the steak on the hot grill «show side» down — meaning the side you’d want to display on the plate goes down on the grill first.</li>
  4. <li>Now observe for signs of done-ness. When the steak is 75% done on one side, flip it over and cook the rest of the way.

Knowing how to grill beef is a simple process, but most people still go into it blindly. By following the steps, you will always be working towards cooking the perfect steak, rather than just cooking a steak until it has reached a safe to eat temperature and texture. The fine line of difference between acceptable and perfection make all of the difference, and with perfection so reliably reachable, why not aim high?

How Long Should the Meat Cook? Until It’s Done!
If you want to know how long to cook anything, the answer is always the same. We cook our food until it’s done. So how do we determine how long to let the meat cook so that it’s «done»? Now that is a better question! When we cook anything, there are some consistent and reliable things that happen. The first cooking sign we look for is coagulation of proteins, which happens at 165 degrees. The sides of your steak will turn grayish brown, as it stiffens and shrinks a bit. This is how you observe this coagulation of proteins in your steak. Next, at 320 degrees, sugars carmelize forming grill marks and imparting a nice steak smell. To get those cool cross-hatch grill marks, pick the steak up, rotate it a bit and drop it back down on the grill while it is still cooking on the first side. At 50-75% done, (what the French term as «a point»), you flip the steak to the other side to complete cooking. The only way to determine if your steak is cooked the way you like it is with a thermometer. You will insert a thermometer — and ONLY a thermometer — into your steak and cook until the steak has reached your desired final temperature: 125-135 degrees is rare; 145-150 is medium and 160-165 is well done.  If you gash the steak to examine the middle, you’ve released some of the moistness, which is almost always NOT what you are tryng to do. Also, remember to let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes before serving so that the juices have redistributed in advance and will not run off on the serving plate.

Just by understanding these simple facts about grilling, cooking perfect steak is almost a guaranteed result. Go ahead and get your own whole tenderloin today and get ready for some great outdoor eating!

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