Cooking The Perfect Steak – Part One
There are few foods more satisfying than a good, thick, juicy steak. Fundamentally simple, the process of cooking steak has long been a topic of discussion. I plan to tackle a few variations in the name of research!
The bone-in rib eye is probably my favorite steak to cook. With lots of marbling, the meat is luxuriously basted in fat while cooking, and the meat along the bone provides a very tasty item to gnaw on. Yes, I gnaw bones!
This night I started with some nice specimens that were about 1 1/4″ thick with a good amount of marbling. I let them come to room temperature, and rubbed them with a split clove of garlic and a little cracked pepper. Generally a purist, I usually stop there, adding only a bit of sea salt after cooking.
But tonight I was interested to find a way to impart a little more flavor to the meat – nothing too overpowering, but something different. Barbeque sauce by itself would be way too strong, and soy sauce would burn. I liked the idea of a hint of the smoky sweet barbeque sauce. I also liked the idea of a slightly asian-grilled essence. Thinking about the thickness of barbeque sauce, I turned to oyster sauce!
Knowing that anything high in sugar content would char if put directly against the heat, I knew I was looking for a simple baste that would add just enough flavor to the meat, but not mask it. I simply mixed two tablespoons of bottled barbeque sauce with two tablespoons of oyster sauce and set the mixture aside.
I got my coals good and hot. I drizzled one side of the steaks with a little olive oil and placed that side down on the grill. Flames erupted and singed the lovely fat along the edges, and after three minutes, I flipped the steaks. They were cooking perfectly, the fat glistening on the sizzling browned surface. Using the back of a spoon, I immediately basted this side with some of the barbeque/oyster sauce mixture and cooked the steaks for three more minutes (well, one person around here likes -gasp- WELL DONE steak, so it lingered a bit longer) and took it off the grill.
The result was a deliciously grilled steak, cooked to perfection inside. The juices had pushed up through the top of the steak, mingling with the basting sauce to create a tangy, juicy glaze that wasn’t too strong. It was just what I wanted. I could detect a slight hint of the sauces, but more importantly, I could still taste and appreciate the goodness of the meat itself. The slightly charred areas around the edges had a delicious sweetness, and the medium rare center was amazingly tender. The meat around the bone was more rare, and very flavorful. Steamed cauliflower and a glass of Toasted Head Cabernet rounded out my wonderful meal.
I can’t wait to cook my next steak!