Here’s a great video from the folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine that describes their lab testing of cooked flank steak and strip steak and the relative force needed to cut both meats with the grain and across the grain.
Tests using a texture analyzer showed that cooked flank steak took 4 times the force to cut with the grain than across the grain. For cooked strip steak, it took almost 2 times the force to cut with the grain than across the grain. Most interestingly, it turns out that the force needed to cut both cooked flank steak and cooked strip steak across the grain is almost the same!
The Bottom Line: How steaks are cooked, to what internal temperature, and how they’re sliced after cooking have a huge impact on tenderness; and cheap(er) cuts like flank steak, skirt steak, and hanger steak can be almost as tender as expensive steaks when cooked and sliced properly.
When you’re out shopping and come across a special cut of meat—buy it. That’s what I did when I spotted USDA Prime ribeye cap steaks at Costco.
The ribeye cap, or spinalis dorsi, is probably the most flavorful part of the cow. You’ve probably enjoyed it when eating prime rib—it’s that highly marbled outside edge that surrounds the large center eye of the prime rib. Here it’s been separated from the prime rib roast in a single piece and cut into narrow “steaks”.
When grilling such a special cut, seasonings should be simple and used only to enhance the natural flavor of the meat. Kosher salt, black pepper, and granulated garlic are just the ticket.
Preheat the grill on HIGH for 10 minutes, then scrub the grates with a grill brush. Turn the heat down to MEDIUM and place the steaks on the grill. Keep the lid open and turn the steaks every 60-90 seconds so they cook evenly on all four sides.
Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal meat temp. I grilled these steaks to 135-140°F for something between medium-rare and medium doneness.
Once the meat is done to your liking, remove to a platter and let rest for just a few minutes to allow juices to redistribute within the meat. Finish with a sprinkle of sea salt or kosher salt to boost the flavor.
So soft, so tender, so delicious…that’s all I can say about these ribeye cap steaks. They were a real treat! If you have a chance to try them, do it. If you’re in the mood to splurge, you can order a whole ribeye cap from Snake River Farms.
The cooking grates had been recently replaced by the previous owner and the Flavorizer bars were in pretty good shape, but there were plenty of issues with broken bolts and rust on the frame that needed to be addressed.
THyde also replaced the burners, ignition system, and control knobs. And of course, there was lots of cleaning and cosmetic work to be done to make this beauty shine like new again.
In my opinion, nothing goes better with a grilled steak than a tender, fluffy baked potato. I’ve always baked them in a 400°F oven for 45-60 minutes and then poked with a knife to determine doneness…sometimes without much success. I cut into the potato and find the center a bit under cooked.
The folks at Cook’s Illustrated magazine tackled the question of The Perfect Baked Potato in their January/February 2016 issue. They determined that the optimal internal temperature for a uniformly fluffy baked potato is 205-212°F. Cook’s suggests baking potatoes at 450°F for 45-60 minutes until the largest potato registers 205°F in the center.
So now you’ve got yet another reason to own a good quality instant-read thermometer! Next time you bake a potato, probe it to ensure the perfect internal temp!
I would be remiss if I allowed the year to pass without noting that 2015 marks the 30th anniversary of the venerable Weber Genesis gas grill.
Earlier this year, Weber published a lengthy blog post documenting the process of how the Genesis came to be. It’s a fascinating read that explains how executives responded to competitive pressures and customer demands to design a gas grill that far exceeded anything on the market when it came out in 1985—including its $400 price tag.
“I think it was more or less survival. You could feel the ground shift underneath you, so we knew that we had to be in the gas business, but we had to be in it in a Weber way where consumers would have a great experience.
“We said, ‘We’re gonna make a really great gas barbecue that’s worthy of the Weber name and whatever it sells for – that’s what it sells for.’”
Weber Global Chief Marketing Officer
To evenly sprinkle salt, pepper or rub on meat, increase the height at which you hold your fingers or shaker.
According to America’s Test Kitchen Radio, sprinkling from a height of at least 12 inches results in a more even distribution than if you sprinkle from just a few inches above the meat. Place the meat on a rimmed baking sheet before sprinkling, then pat or roll the meat on the pan to pick up any excess seasoning.
The porterhouse steak is one of my favorites because it’s two steaks in one: the larger strip steak on one side of the bone and the smaller tenderloin steak on the other side of the bone. The strip has better flavor, but the tenderloin has better tenderness. The porterhouse steak is the best of both worlds!
I’ve grilled these steaks over direct heat for years with good results, but grilling indirect with a reverse sear at the end is all the rage these days, so I thought I’d give it a try with these two beauties. The process I followed comes from a recipe in Cook’s Country magazine.
Let sit at room temperature until the steaks register an internal temperature of 55*F, about 60 minutes.
Once the steaks hit 55*F, rub both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper.
About 45 minutes into the salting process, preheat your gas grill with all burners on HIGH for 15 minutes, then clean the grates with a grill brush. Turn one burner to MEDIUM LOW and turn off all the other burners. Adjust this one burner as needed to maintain about 300*F.
Place the porterhouse steaks on the grill just off the edge of the fire, with the bone-end facing the lit burner. Cook the steaks to 75*F, about 10-20 minutes.
Flip the steaks, keeping the bone-end facing the lit burner, and cook to 95*F, another 10-20 minutes.
Remove the steaks from the grill. Turn all burners to HIGH and let the grill preheat for 5 minutes. (If you have a cast iron griddle or plancha, place it on the grill and preheat for 10 minutes.)
Put the steaks back on the grill (or griddle or plancha) and sear both sides until well browned to an internal temp of 120*F for medium-rare, about 4 minutes per side.
Remove steaks from the grill, cover loosely with foil and let rest for just a few minutes while getting the rest of your meal to the table.
The indirect cooking process with reverse sear results in evenly done meat with minimal overcooked meat at the surface of the steak. The process is a little fussy and takes a bit more time versus the typical direct cooking process, but the results are worth it.
It seems counterintutive, but a sharp knife is actually safer in the kitchen and around the grill than a dull knife. When a knife is dull, we saw, hack or force it through whatever it is we’re trying to cut, and it’s in those moments that we lose control of the knife and cut ourselves. A sharp knife is easily controlled because it slices through meat or veg or bread smoothly and easily, and is therefore safer.
The folks at America’s Test Kitchen suggest that you test your knives for sharpness as follows: Grasp the top edge of a piece of printer paper firmly with one hand and draw the knife blade across the edge of the paper from heel to tip. The knife should slice easily through the paper with minimal effort.
Here’s a 3-second video clip showing how to do the knife sharpness test: