Labor Day weekend is still prime grilling season, so we turned to Executive Chef Cenobio Canalizo of Michael Jordan’s The Steakhouse NYC for this Weekend Project
. A steakhouse specialist, Chef Canalizo shared his top tips for getting the best out of your steaks this summer.
Start with High Heat: Steak cooks best quickly over high heat, so preheat the grill and get it roaring to go. Bring your meat to room temperature before grilling, to help it cook evenly and fast. If the steak stays on the grill too long, it loses moisture, so the goal is to get it on fast and then off the heat the moment it’s done.
But Don’t Let it Burn: You want to avoid flare-ups and burns, and attain that perfect char. Coat your steaks with a little safflower oil – not so much that it drips onto the coals. The oil will protect the meat with its naturally high smoke point.
Season Assertively: Don’t hold back: season your steaks with a healthy amount of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. These basics bring out the flavor. Then after the meat is cooked and is ready to serve: finish it with coarse sea salt. You can add some fresh, finely chopped herbs. The key is to season in stages as you go.
And Butter it Up: To raise your steak up to a level of rich beauty, make a compound butter to top it with. This is a mixture of softened butter with your favorite flavorful ingredient. Some examples of winners: fresh herbs; chipotle; diced truffle; roasted garlic; cognac; fresh herbs; it’s endless. These blends are a steakhouse tradition – chefs often have their own signature combo – classically called maître’d butter. Add when the steak is off the grill.
Let it Rest: Even if your friends are circling the pit, hungry for the steak right away, you have to let it rest – ideally for half the cooking time. This gives the meat’s moisture a chance to evenly distribute throughout the steak – if you cut it too soon, all the natural juice will spill out and be lost.
Now Slice and Serve: It’s time for the payoff – slice carefully, always against the grain. Slices cut against the grain ensure maximum tenderness - this way the muscle fibers are short and buttery soft. For a crowd, it’s fun to grill larger cuts to slice, serve and share. Not only are they economical, but they are also impressive to show off – they look and taste great.
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