Steaks star when seared and grilled to perfection

The summer season has arrived and if you haven’t broken out the grill yet, you will this weekend for Father’s Day.

Gas barbecuing is easy but when you start grilling with charcoal, you’ll never go back.

To get that smoky flavour with a gas grill, soak hardwood grill chips for about 30 minutes, drain and place in a foil pie pan with holes poked in it directly on the lava stones.

Oil food generously to prevent sticking. Once you place food on the grill, sear the meat before turning.

If you have good quality meat and vegetables, salt and pepper are the best seasonings.

There are a variety of salts that can be used but the least expensive and easiest to find is kosher salt.

The coarser texture sits on the surface rather than soaking in and creates a nice crust. Also experiment with sea salt.

When preparing a large piece of meat for sharing, be generous with the salt and pepper.

The seasoning is only on the outside of the cut and needs to flavour the entire slice.

Depending upon what you are grilling, you may want one side of the barbecue hot and no coals on the other side.

This allows you to move food over to continue cooking when the exterior is perfect. Get the fancy grill marks by letting meat sear for about three minutes and turn over. Leave another three minutes and move to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking to prevent an overly charred surface.

The grill needs almost constant attention. Flare-ups create ugly black smoke on the food that ruins the flavour.

Always use a thermometer to check the doneness of meat. Cutting into it allows the juices to escape.

Meat will continue to cook after it is removed from the grill so judge accordingly.

After removing from the grill, loosely cover the meat with foil and let it rest five minutes before serving. This allows the juices to distribute and not be lost when sliced.

Tomahawk Steak

The tomahawk steak is a bone-in rib steak with the entire rib bone intact. The bone is usually frenched or trimmed of meat and fat for a nicer presentation.
To keep the bone white during cooking, wrap with a moistened paper towel and then with kitchen foil.
The steak is usually about one pound (500 g) and can serve up to four people. It is similar to a porterhouse, T-bone and New York strip steak and easy to slice.
A restaurant trick is to put a pat of room temperature compound butter on the steak right before serving. I cooked this steak to 145 F (60 C) for the perfect medium to medium rare.

  • 1 lb. tomahawk steak 500 g
  • 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil 80 mL
  • coarse kosher 
or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the grill. Blot any excess moisture from the steak with a paper towel. Season the topside with salt and pepper.
Place steak on the hot grill, seasoned side down and grill for three minutes. Season the top side with salt and pepper and, using tongs, turn the steak and grill for three minutes.
Remove steak from grill and, using a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides with olive oil.
Return to the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until the exterior is nicely charred and the interior has reached the desired degree of doneness on an instant-read thermometer.
Rare steak will have an internal temperature of 120 to 125 F (48 to 52 C), medium-rare to medium should read 130 to 150 F (54 to 65 C). This should take somewhere near 25 minutes, depending upon the thickness of the meat and the precise heat.
Above 150 F (65 C), a steak is considered well done, which is not a desirable temperature for a good steak.
A steak should sit for five minutes before cutting. The meat temperature will continue to rise as it rests. – Adapted from Dining at Delmonico’s.

Compound Butter

Mix room temperature unsalted butter with flavourings such as snipped chives, roasted garlic, smoked paprika, crumbled blue cheese or curry powder.
Place butter on a piece of waxed paper and form into a log. Twist the ends to seal and place in refrigerator or freezer. It will keep up to three months in the freezer.
To use, open the log and bring back to room temperature. Slice into coin shaped pieces. Place one slice on each serving of steak.

Grilled Caesar Salad

  • 2 flat anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, 
chopped
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin 125 mL 
olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper 2 mL
  • 12 slices baguette 2.5 cm
 (1/2-inch) thick
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice, or to taste 30 mL
  • 3 hearts of romaine
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese 125 mL

Puree anchovies, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.
Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).
Brush both sides of baguette slices with anchovy dressing, and then grill bread, turning until toasted, about two minutes. Add egg and lemon juice to dressing in blender and blend until emulsified, about two minutes. Season with salt.
Cut romaine hearts in half lengthwise and lightly brush with olive oil, then grill cut sides down until grill marks appear, about two minutes. Serve on a platter and drizzle with dressing, garnish with Parmesan and grilled bread.
Bread can be brushed with anchovy mixture, romaine can be washed and halved and dressing can be made four hours ahead and chilled separately, covered.
The egg in this recipe is not cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area. Anyone with a compromised immune system should be made aware of the uncooked egg in the dressing.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: [email protected].

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