Steak. Is there anything that defines grilling more than steak? For that matter, is there anything that lets you know that Spring is finally here more than cooking steaks over an open fire on a clear, warm afternoon with a frosty beverage of your choosing in hand? I picked up a few strips yesterday afternoon and after dusting them with my secret seasoning of choice I went out to fully appreciate a beautiful Spring evening next to the grill.
As you can see from the picture above, I went with a light seasoning. Nothing too aggressive, something that lets the flavor of the beef take center stage. I only use four ingredients when I season my steaks, and those of you with a keen eye can probably pick out what they are. For the record though, I use the following:
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
Apply all ingredients to taste. Like more garlic? Add more garlic. Less salt? Use less. This is more about the combination of the flavors, and less about the ratio of the ingredients being used.
I feel that the biggest thing to keep in mind here is the amount of time you let the steaks sit with the seasoning on them. I try to let my steaks sit, seasoned, in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. I also try to let them come up to room temperature before I throw them on the grill.
First, the time spent with the seasoning on them will do a lot for the penetration of the flavors into the interior of the steak as well as improve the moisture content of the finished product. The salt will slowly draw the moisture from the meat, which will absorb the flavors of your seasoning. After some time, this moisture along with the addition of your seasoning, will be drawn back into the meat.
Second, letting the meat come to room temperature will give you a much more uniform end product. If the meat is cold and thrown directly onto a hot grill, the surface of the meat will begin cooking immediately, and quite rapidly, while the center comes up to temperature much more slowly. Basically, a cold steak gives you a burnt outside and an undercooked inside.