During the summer, a cookout is both iconic and functional. Lounging outside with family and enjoying some cold beverages while the sizzle and smoke of the grill ensures your meal will be ready soon is a beautiful way to spend a hot, summer day. But grilling, though apparently America’s favorite form of cooking, is difficult. It’s so easy for that sizzle and smoke of the grill to turn into the sizzle of meat sticking to the grates or the smell of your choice cut of meat going up in smoke. It is because of my own undercooked chicken and way too well-done ribeye that I decided to talk to T-Bone, the head chef at Bevo, as well as owners Aaron & Kathleen to start at square one with…
How to Grill Steak Like a Professional Caterer:
Before we can even begin to talk grilling, first you need to choose the cut of meat. Choosing a cut of meat can be overwhelming, there are so many and each meat seems to have its own special needs for cooking. For this post, I thought I’d focus on one cut that is commonly overlooked by home cooks: the flank steak. Flank steak is found just below the sirloin cut near the hind legs of the cow. This cut is particularly lean because it comes from such a strong and active area of the cow’s body. The leanness of the meat means flavor and tenderness–if prepared properly.
Flank steaks, like most cuts, should be a bright red when you purchase them. Flanks steaks can be found in the grocery stores, but to ensure freshness and the highest of quality it’s usually best to order one from your local butcher. Now that the cut has been chosen it’s time to figure out what to do with it…
Marinading a steak like the flank steak is important. A nice, long bath in a marinate will help for many reasons. First, the marinade will break down some of the fat allowing it to stay in the meat during cooking. The fat is where the flavors are, so, the more fat that stays in your meat during cooking, the more flavorful it will be (the flank steak is an especially lean cut so it is important to hold every bit of fat it does have to retain flavor). Second, the marinade will help break down some of the proteins. This is important for tenderizing the meat and getting the flavors of the marinade to deeply penetrate the meat. Finally, the marinade will help make your job easier; if your meat comes out rarer than you had hoped, the marinade will have already helped tenderize and soften the meat, if your meat is rare it won’t be chewy. The marinade will help if you end up over cooking your meat too; the marinade, by helping the flavors penetrate the meat, will help the meat stay juicy, even if you cook it too long.
Gluten-Free Soy Marinade:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 lime juice
1 small Ginger root
1/4 Sirracha (this sounds like a lot but the spice cooks down during the grilling)
To create: Peel the ginger root and cut off dry part of root tips. Use a mandolin or a cheese slicer to cut thin, flat strips of ginger root. Stir ginger and all other ingredients together in bowl. Place flank steak in a ziplock back and pour marinade into bag. Shake the steak and marinade around in the bag to ensure all parts of the meat are covered. Let sit in refrigerator for at least one day, preferably two.
This recipe makes enough marinade for one 12 oz. flank steak.
Here comes the big moment. You lit the grill, what’s next? Get your marinated flank steak to room temperature before grilling, this will ensure even cooking. The flank steak, having sat in it’s bath for two days, and sitting at room temperature is ready to be put on the grill.
Place your grill on high and get it very hot before placing the meat on. The actual grilling of the flank steak will happen quickly. Because the flank steak is such a lean cut of meat it is best served between rare and medium-rare. Place your steak on the grill for one and a half minutes, keeping the lid open. Rotate the piece 45 degrees (don’t flip, just spin the meat 45 degrees) and grill for another 1.5 minutes. Now flip the steak over and repeat on the other side; grill for 1.5 minutes, rotate, grill for another 1.5 minutes. After the total six minutes of cooking, your steak should be a beautiful medium-rare. Three minutes of cooking on each side works really well for flank steaks with an average thickness of about one inch and weight of about 2 lbs. If your steak is thicker or thinner, adjust accordingly; about 15 seconds on each side for every additional 1/4 inch. It is very important to leave your steak alone while you’re cooking it. Only touch it to spin or flip it, too much touching will result in a loss of juices and a dry, flavorless steak.
How you prepare the steak for serving is just as important as how you cook it. Before any eating can happen, the steak must rest for about 10 minutes. This resting period ensures that the juices stay inside the steak once you cut into it creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience. Once the steak has rested, be sure to cut it against the grain; this means that you will cut perpendicular to the fibers in the meat. Also, angle your knife at about 45 degrees in comparison to your cutting surface. Cutting the steak on an angle like that will make each bite tender. A flank steak should be served in thin slices; it is not to be eaten like a rib-eye or a sirloin. Because this steak is so flavorful, it does not need a lot of side dishes. We suggest some crunchy sesame green beans and a soba noodle salad (recipes below). Pair with a dry Reisling (we suggest Pacific Rim found at Healthy Living) and you have a delicious summer meal that can be eaten hot, or served cold at a luncheon.
Soba Noodle Salad:
1 package soba or rice noodles
4 tbl. sp. sesame oil
.5 cup pre-cooked edamame
.5 cup finely sliced (julienne or finely diced) bell pepper
.25 cup finely sliced (julienne or finely diced) red onion
.5 cup finely chopped Nappa Cabbage
.25 cup finely sliced (julienne or finely diced) radish
.25 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
To create: Boil the soba noodles to al dente. Strain and toss with sesame oil. Toss other veggies and mint with noodles. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.
Sesame Green Beans:
1 lb. green beans
1/3 sesame oil
toasted black and white sesame seeds
To create: Blanche and shock green beans. Toss beans with sesame oil until lightly covered. Sprinkle with black and white toasted sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.
The steak, soba noodle salad, and green beans are all gluten free recipes. Enjoy!