Adding Flavor To Steak

Adding Flavor To Steak

When I think about seasoning a steak, I firmly believe less is more. In my slightly warped world, eating a perfectly grilled medium-rare ribeye is just about nirvana. So as I savor every bite, there is always one thing I want to shine through, the meat.

When grilling flavorful steaks such as strip, filet, or my beloved ribeye, I always go with a dry rub. A dry rub at its bare minimum can consist solely of kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper, but in all likelihood is a mixture of numerous spices, herbs, and flavors. Dry rubs are added over the outside of the meat to enhance flavor in the crust, as the flavor is in the crust. When heat is applied to meat, protein and sugar molecules, combine through what is known as the Maillard Reaction. This reaction is responsible for the browning of meat, as well as a flavorful crust. A great dry rub makes a crust.

When grilling steak, my approach is what I call salt, pepper and a third. I use plenty of salt, plenty of freshly cracked pepper, and a third spice, which changes on my whim. Sometimes the “third" is paprika, sometimes it's granulated garlic, and other times it’s ground chipotles. The mixture, with an added brush of olive oil, adds just enough to heighten and accentuate the flavor, without hiding the main event, a perfectly grilled ribeye hot off my kettle. 

Another option for introducing flavor to steak is by use of a marinade. Marinades are a mixture of oil, an acid, and herbs. While marinades do not necessarily tenderize, they do penetrate the outer layer of meat with flavor. I like to use marinades when grilling cuts of beef like flank or skirt. To design your own marinade, start with the easy ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid and any aromatics you happen to have on hand. For steaks, just a few hours in a marinade can transform dinner.

While there is a lot we can do to add flavor to a steak, I stand by my less is more approach. 

What are your thoughts? (16)

10.24.16

harry h

I prefer either strip steak or ribeye. Very thick - 1 3/4 inches to 2 inches thick. I use a gas 6 burner weber grill. I take the steak out of the fridge about 1 -1 1/2 hours before cooking. Turn the burners way up and get it as hot as possible. When the grill reaches peak. I prepare the steaks with pepper and lots of salt ( the salt barley permeates the flesh since it going right on the grill, it helps to make the char flavorful) now heres the 'extra ' - we like it rare- I cook approximately 8-9 minutes tuning only once with tongs of course. Remove onto cutting board, and pour olive oil and more (lightly) salt on ( rubbing them in ) both sides, and place sprigs of Rosemary below and on top THEN tent in foil for about 5 minutes ( its still cooking ! )
Cut the steak (s) into strips like a steak house, and platter poring the blood drippings over the plated steak
you can die its so good ( only great cuts of steak - need a a good butcher )

10.24.16

Mike Lang

Hi Harry - Wow, your process and method is absolutely mouthwatering! I would say you have your process perfected!

10.22.16

John G

Mike:
I've run into some great sales on ball tip sizzlers, about 8 oz. each. Some of these have grilled very well, but on some occasions we were left with very tough and stringy meat. Any idea on how to handle these cuts? I am relatively new to grilling and use a Q 320.

10.22.16

Mike Lang

Hi John!

I hope you are enjoying your Q320! It's a fantastic grill. Ball Tip's can be a great cut but are very lean. Subsequently, I suggest a marinade prior to grilling. For best results, grill to medium rare and slice in thin strips against the grain. Let us know how it works out!

Grill on!
Mike

10.21.16

colin s

YOU WANT THE BEST STEAK TRY MY PERFECT RECIPE TAKE 2 SIRLOIN STEAKS BOTH ABOUT ONE INCH THICK NOW COMES THE BEST BIT ABOUT AN HOUR BEFORE COOKING LEAVE MEAT OUTSIDE FRIDGE SPRINKLE WHITE SUGAR ON BOTH SIDES OF STEAK LEAVE AT ROOM TEMP. YOUR STEAK SHOULD NOW HAVE A GLAZED LOOK DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE STEAK . COOK ON HIGH HEAT TILL MEDIUM RARE ENJOY A PERFECT STEAK PS ADD SALT WHEN COOKED

10.21.16

Mike Lang

Thanks for sharing, Colin! Grill on!

Mike

10.21.16

Zygmunt O

Too many people including Chefs are using way too much salt on steaks, fish etc. I'm constantly finding myself having to remind the waiter to inform the Chef that I do not want any salt on my food. Instead of enjoying the taste of the food you're stuck tasting the salt.

10.21.16

Mike Lang

Hi Zygmunt -

While I tend to like my food well salted, I have plenty of friends who don't. I completely agree about the flavor of the food coming through. This is probably why my favorite steaks are from my own backyard!

Grill on!
Mike

10.21.16

Cole B

Salt, pepper, and a little bit of garlic... I want to enjoy my steak as it is, no need to mask the flavors. If I ever paid money for a steak that was marinated or over seasoned I would be angry lol

10.20.16

Mike Lang

Hi Cole -

I like how you think...and grill! The garlic addition is great and you are so right, the meat needs to come through! It's probably why my favorite steaks are always the ones I grill at home!

Cheers!
Mike

10.20.16

Tom H

This is in regards to Geoff M and his recipe. Once the steaks are seasoned are they covered or uncovered and refrigerated or left out at room temperature? The recipe sounds great and I'd like to give it a try. Thanks!

10.20.16

wilfred S

Do you have a rule of thumb for grilling or do you go by the touch test/

10.20.16

Mike Lang

Hello, Wilfred - I always grill to temperature, as read by an instant-read thermometer. It is the most accurate way to ensure a perfectly cooked piece of meat. With that being said, time and touch are great ways to "get in the ballpark," but once you are close, a trusty thermometer will always get you to perfection!

Great question and happy grilling!
Mike

10.20.16

Barbara C

Hi, what if you have to restrict sodium. Do you have any suggestions ? Barb C

10.20.16

Mike Lang

Hi Barbara -

If you want to either eliminate or drastically reduce the amount of salt you are using, I suggest replacing it with a larger amount of herbs. Rosemary & Thyme can add a huge punch of flavor. Also, you might want to consider a compound butter with unsalted butter. I hope this helps!

Happy Grilling!
Mike

10.20.16

Russell E

Hi, for Ribeye I add 2 beef stock cubes to a small bowl and add drizzle of olive oil then mix/grind into a paste. Rub that onto your steak and grill away.

10.20.16

Mike Lang

Hey Russell - That sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing!

Mike

10.20.16

grady r

Another way to tenderize and make steaks juicer is the Brining method.
Mix 1/4 c kosher salt with 1 Qt. of water in a zip bag. Do NOT use table salt as it will be too salty.
Place steaks in brine water and store in fridge for 2 hours. Remove, rinse, pat dry and then apply the rub.
Now get those coals ready.

This also does wonders for chicken and pork.

10.20.16

Mike Lang

Hi Grady -

Brining is a great suggestion and it sounds as though you have your process down! Besides wet brining, dry brining is another possibility. It takes a little time and planning, but it's well worth it!

Cheers!
Mike

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