Category Archives: Recipes

Simple Sirloin Steaks

When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s, it was a big deal to go out for dinner at Saddle ‘N Sirloin in my hometown of Santa Rosa, California. In those days, going out for a steak dinner usually meant an affordable sirloin, and it was considered a special treat. Add some A-1 Steak Sauce (we didn’t know any better), a baked potato, and all-you-can-eat salad, ranch beans, and sourdough bread and you had a real meal!

Saddle 'N Sirloin matchbook

Today, I’m more likely to enjoy a ribeye steak or a filet mignon or a strip steak, but occasionally I get a hankering for a sirloin. What a sirloin steak lacks in tenderness and fat marbling, it makes up for in good flavor without breaking the bank.

So one day I’m shopping at Walmart and see these sirloin steaks on sale. I don’t typically buy meat at Wally World, but they looked pretty good and the price was right, so I picked up two.

Sirloin steak on sale

A sprinkle of garlic salt and black pepper was all that was needed before throwing these steaks onto the grill. You can make your own garlic salt by mixing 3 parts table salt with 1 part granulated garlic powder.

Steaks seasoned with garlic salt and black pepper

Preheat the grill on HIGH for 10 minutes, then use a grill brush to remove any debris. Reduce the temp to MEDIUM and grill over DIRECT heat.

Grilling sirloin steaks over medium heat

For a 3/4″ thick steak cooked to medium doneness (160*F), grill for 4-5 minutes per side; for a 1″ thick steak, 5-6 minutes per side. Increase or decrease the cooking time to achieve your preferred doneness.

Resting sirloin steaks after grilling

In the few minutes it takes to get the steaks off the grill and onto your dinner plate, and for you to find a steak knife, these guys will have rested enough for the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.

Close-up of grilled sirloin steak

These sirloin steaks are ready to enjoy!

As for steak sauce…I don’t do A-1 anymore. But in homage to the 1970s, I tried some Heinz 57 Sauce which was top-rated in a taste test by Cook’s Country magazine. They said that Heinz “provided a nice counterpart that let the meat shine through without overwhelming.” It’s “tomatoey, spicy, and earthy,” with a “sweetness [that] is rich and fruity,” and it has a “peppery tang.”

I’m not a big fan of steak sauce in general, but I thought Heinz 57 was pretty good as steak sauces go. More importantly, it served its purpose of taking me back to a simpler time when a sirloin steak and a bottle of steak sauce were not just a weeknight meal, but a special occasion.

P.S. Less-tender steaks like sirloin might benefit from the salting process described in this post: Salted Ribeye Steaks.

Butternut Squash

My good friends John & Amy live in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Silicon Valley. They have a beautiful garden in which they grow all sorts of veggies, including this butternut squash.

It turns out butternut squash is quick and easy to grill. The hardest part is cutting it up!

Peel the squash, cut into thick planks, and remove the seeds. Brush both sides with a mixture of 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2-3 cloves of garlic run through a garlic press, and salt & pepper to taste.

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Preheat the grill on MEDIUM, making sure the grates are clean.

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Grill for 6 minutes on the first side, then flip, tent with aluminum foil and grill for another 6 minutes. You may need to turn down the heat a bit to prevent burning if your grill runs hot.

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The squash is done when you’ve got good grill marks and the flesh is soft when poked with a fork.

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To serve, drizzle with a little EVOO. Taste for salt and sprinkle with more kosher salt, if needed. Enjoy!

Hamburger Sliders

Hamburger sliders are so fun and so easy to make…once you have the right buns!

First stop is the bread aisle at the supermarket. If you can find slider buns like Sara Lee Mini Buns, that’s perfect. If not, King’s Hawaiian or a similar small, soft dinner roll is a good alternative.

Once you’ve got the buns, it’s time for the beef! Buy a good quality ground beef, but not too lean so you get a nice, juicy slider. 80/20 or 85/15 lean to fat ratio is a good choice. I used Prather Ranch ground beef, something a friend turned me onto at the local Farmer’s Market. Too expensive for regular use, but a nice occasional treat and very good quality meat!

Divide one pound of ground beef into 6 portions. If you have a kitchen scale (and you should) that’s about 2.75 ounces per slider. Form into patties of even thickness and season with kosher salt.

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For me, melty, gooey American cheese is a guilty pleasure on burgers. Use whatever cheese you like best, but since a slider is smaller than a regular burger, you’ll want to scale down the cheese portion, also. I tore American cheese slices into quarters and used three pieces per slider. Even that was a bit much, you can probably get away with just half a slice of cheese per slider.

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Preheat your Weber gas grill on HIGH, making sure the grates are clean. Once preheated, turn the burners down to MEDIUM and arrange the sliders on the grill. They cook quickly due to their small size, so watch them carefully.

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When the first side is done, flip and cook for just a minute or so before adding the cheese. Quickly toast the buns and you’re ready for some slider deliciousness!

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Grilled Peaches

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It’s summer time and that means it’s time for grilled peaches!

Peach lover Jo Torez recently posted this photo on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board which inspires this blog post!

TVWBB member dean offers these preparation tips: “Make sure the peaches are ripe but still firm–no mushy ones. Cut neatly in half and give a gentle twist to separate the halves. Take out the pit. Grill with the flat side down for a couple of minutes to get some nice grill marks, then flip over and put brown sugar and cinnamon in the hole left from the pit and on top. Put the lid back on and let them go for a few minutes depending on the heat (of the grill) and how you like them. These are delicious!”

Torez likes to drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on her peaches. That’s what she did in the photo above. TVWBB member Greg Powers brushes his peaches with simple syrup before grilling, then fills the hole left from the pit with a mixture of cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yum!

Fresh peaches won’t last forever…so get out there and grill some today!

Salted Ribeye Steaks

For TVWBB GrillFest 2 on August 2, I grilled some USDA Prime ribeye steaks over lump charcoal in my Weber 26.75″ kettle. I used a salting technique that I read about in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Salting seasons the meat deep inside and alters the protein structure to make any steak even more tender. It works great whether grilling over charcoal or gas.

USDA Prime ribeye steaks
USDA Prime ribeye steaks

Two hours before grilling, pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides generously with kosher salt. Kosher salt is preferred because it’s easier to sprinkle evenly over the meat than table salt. Cook’s recommends 1.5 teaspoons per pound of meat, but I just eyeballed it.

Put the steaks in the refrigerator uncovered for two hours.

Steaks sprinkled with kosher salt ready for the refrigerator
Steaks sprinkled with kosher salt ready for the refrigerator

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove steaks from the fridge and pat dry again with paper towels. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Press the pepper into the surface to help it stick to the meat.

Searing the first side of the steak
Searing the first side of the steak
Steaks flipped and searing on the second side
Steaks flipped and searing on the second side

Grill to your preferred doneness. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for just a few minutes before serving.

Finished steaks resting before serving
Finished steaks resting before serving
Salted ribeye steak grilled medium rare
Salted ribeye steak grilled medium rare

Grilled Eggplant

Eggplant grilled with SYD All-Purpose Rub
Eggplant grilled with SYD All-Purpose Rub

My wife Julie likes to make grilled eggplant. Grilling makes this bland veggie taste great and the process couldn’t be easier.

Pre-heat the grill on HIGH for 10 minutes, then brush the grates clean and reduce the temp to MEDIUM.

Cut the eggplant into 3/4″ slices. Brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper or SYD All-Purpose Rub. Grill 2-3 minutes per side until you get some browning and nice grill marks.

Enjoy grilled eggplant by itself, as a side to grilled meats, or as an ingredient in other dishes like an orzo with grilled vegetable salad.

Skirt Steak: Part 1

Two Types Of Skirt Steak

Skirt steak comes in two varieties: outside and inside.

Outside skirt steak is the more desirable skirt steak cut. It’s the cut you should buy if you can find it. Outside skirt steak comes from the diaphragm. It’s said to be the cut of beef that started the fajita craze years ago. It’s got good flavor and tenderness, but can be hard to find because much of it is shipped overseas to consumers willing to pay top dollar for it.

Inside skirt steak comes from the transverse abdominal muscle. It is wider, thinner, and tougher than outside skirt steak.

How To Identify Outside Skirt Steak

Outside skirt steak tends to be longer and narrower than inside skirt steak…sometimes much longer. Here’s an example of a single piece of outside skirt steak. In the meat counter it’s folded neatly into a compact shape but unrolls into something like this:

Very long piece of inside skirt steak

The problem is that skirt steak is not always identified as “outside” or “inside” at the supermarket. Even the high-end market where I buy skirt steak doesn’t label theirs, as shown here:

Is this outside or inside skirt steak? There's no way to tell from the label.

So I asked the butcher what they were selling and he said it was outside skirt steak. I asked if I could see the case box label and he produced this:

Outside skirt steak case box label

So not only did I learn that this high-end market is selling real outside skirt steak, but it’s also USDA Choice or higher which makes this a very nice cut of meat.

Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher what he’s selling. If he’s on the up and up, he’ll be happy to produce the case box label.

Preparing Inside Skirt Steak

On this occasion I found a piece of inside skirt steak at a good quality supermarket. Inside skirt steak comes as a single, long piece of meat, though not as long as the outside version shown above.

I cut this skirt into three pieces so it was easier to work with and marinated it in Korean barbecue sauce. If you were making this for fajitas, you’d substitute an appropriate fajita or carne asada marinade.

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I grilled the meat at high temp on my Weber Summit 450 gas grill. All skirt steaks benefit from very intense heat, either on the grill or on cast iron. You want a good crust on the exterior and medium doneness. Any more or less done than medium and the meat is tough and chewy.

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After cooking, cover loosely with foil and let rest for just a couple of minutes before slicing the meat thin across the grain and on the bias.

Give Skirt Steak A Try!

If you ever see outside skirt steak at the supermarket, give it a try. It’s a real treat! Otherwise, inside skirt steak will do and it makes for a great meal, too!

The HotBurger

The HotBurger
The HotBurger

What do you do when you want to grill hamburgers and you don’t have any hamburger buns or sliced bread, but you do have leftover hot dog buns?

You make The HotBurger. An elongated hamburger patty that fits perfectly on a toasted hot dog bun. Season with salt and pepper, top with ketchup and mustard and one of those Stacker pickle slices and you’re good to go. Cheese is optional.

That’s The HotBurger™. Ask for it by name at participating Weber gas grills near you!

SYD Tri-Tip

Here’s a tri-tip I grilled on the Weber Summit 450 using Harry Soo’s tri-tip method from his Backyard Pitmaster class.

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Season the tri-tip with granulated garlic, white pepper, and then some Slap Yo’ Daddy All-Purpose Rub. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

Grill to 125-135*F internal temperature. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Brush with Slap Yo’ Daddy All-Purpose Easy Sauce, slice, and serve.

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You get layers of spice from the white pepper and the SYD rub, and from the cayenne & hot sauce in the SYD sauce. Really delicious!

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