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Steak - crispy on the outside and rare inside


markk
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I have no problem with a steak with zero crust. I'm happy to have a steak put in a sous-vide bag, brought to the exact right temperature all the way through, and served. A nice Maillardized crust is a plus, and perhaps a hint of char is acceptable or even desirable, but I'd rather have no crust than anything that tastes charred. The no-crust scenario at least allows one to taste the meat.

Well, you did answer my question - thanks.

Two unrelated notes:

This thread was in honor of my dad, who loved to eat, and could never get a decent meal at home, or a steak that wasn't gray. And he always craved a great steak. When we'd go out to steakhouses, he'd ask for his steak more dramatically than any actor I could imagine, as if by his tone and inflection he could convince them just how he was drooling over it- he's say, "Charrrrrred on the outside" with a bit of excitement, and then drop to sotto voce and add "and rare on the inside".

The other unrelated note is that I've never gotten a gray steak, or one cooked without a great crispy sear, in France, or from a French chef for that matter.

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Of course it's not the same, but for most home cooks without high-powered equipment, a smoking hot cast iron skillet with a big knob of lard is a pretty damned good option, and a lot better than sticking the meat under a weak gas broiler for many.

Did he ask that? Did Mark ask "which is the best way to cook a steak for the home cook"? He didn't. He asked for a STATEMENT, or answer to a general inquiry. So that's what coloured my reply. No need for you to try and disqualify it.

eta: I hate it when I leave out possessive pronouns (like 'the')

Dude, I could just as easily be offended by your disqualifying MY statement. But I am not. Because i realize that this is all just opinions and a discussion.

I like all over crispy. Grilling has it's merits. A hot pan will get you all over crispy. A broiler (which is different from a grill) will not.

I like Maillard reaction rather than burnt.

P.S. How come in some places it is called "Pittsburghed", whereas others call it "Chicago style". I heard Pittsburghed for the first time last week. I thought the customer was confused......but apparently they weren't.

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I actually find in my personal experience that a super heated cast iron pan is the only way to really get a nice malliardized crust on the outside. Of course it's not the same as a broiler, but I find it's second best.

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I almost whole heartedly agree with the cast iron method.. The only thing I would argue is the "super heated" statement.. I find that if I heat for 20-30 mins in a 500 degree oven to charge it and then put on a high burner that is plenty of thermal energy.. Blistering hot makes for blistered food.. Brush the room temp steak with canola oil enough to make it glisten.. Copious amounts of kosher salt and good sprinkling of cracked black pepper on a 3" thick slab o' cow (perferably dry aged) and two mins per side.. No fussing around with it after it hit the skillet except to flip.. After that, flip once more and toss the bad boy, skillet and all, in the 500 oven again for another 2, flip once more and invert a small plate on a larger one and get a sheet of foil ready to cover.. After the last 2 mins in the oven pull it and put it on the inverted platform and tent with foil to allow the juices to redistrubute for ten mins and then get ready to gorge.

I have always been a "put a couple of band aids on it and it will be out grazing again" kinna guy though...

Chow down,

Kev

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I actually find in my personal experience that a super heated cast iron pan is the only way to really get a nice malliardized crust on the outside. Of course it's not the same as a broiler, but I find it's second best.

Have you tried medium-high heat plus butter? Several chefs recommend that method, and achieve excellent results. From an article in Nation's Restaurant News last year, by Florence Fabricant:

Tom Colicchio of Craftsteak in Las Vegas and the new Craftsteak in New York cooks his steaks on a flat griddle on medium heat, turning them frequently. He feels that this method produces the juiciest, most consistently cooked meat.

"I can get a crust this way," he says, "Without the rim of gray you often see just under the crust, which says to me that part of the meat has been overcooked.

Also:

When Alain Ducasse, the Michelin three-star French chef, cooks a thick rib-eye in one of his restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, or elsewhere in the world, he starts by cooking it on its edge, on the fat, in a heavy, deep pan on top of the stove so the fat renders into the pan.

Ducasse then cooks the steak, lightly salted, on its flat sides, about 10 minutes per side for medium rare. "I want good caramelization on the surface, but I'm not interested in carbonizing it," he says. "For me that ruins it."

It's very difficult to convince people online or just by citing references -- even though Alain Ducasse and Tom Colicchio are people worth listening to. But I've demonstrated this method several times for friends and they've always been amazed at how it shatters their preconceptions of steak cookery.

We've been talking about this in eG Forums discussions since 2002, when Alain Ducasse and Florence Fabricant first published the method in the New York Times. Here's his original article and here's the first of many eG Forums topics where this has been discussed. Try it. Really.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Ever notice how people who don't know how to roast a marshmallow always get their caught on fire? Then they claim to like it that way...

The picture of a crispy browned steak is getting me drooling.

I agree with fat guy that if it gets black on the outside, you did something wrong... burnt is burnt. Grill marks are not an exception, just becuase they are covering less surface, doesn't mean there should be little burnt tire treads on your steak. Get them brown and crispy, not burnt. Crisp the sugars, activate those amino acids. Bottom line is to make sure your steak tastes like steak: not blood, not iron and certainly not burnt anything.

Dry-aging is crucial to get rid of the acrid blood taste. Resting the meat after cooking is crucial to redistribute moisture. Paying close attention to the surface is crucial to avoid burning.

Not reverting back to cavemen is probably a good idea too... sure they had organic steaks, but no matter how good those steaks were, they could never enjoy one with a glass of shiraz.

Here's a more important question... when do you salt a steak? Before or after it is cooked?

PAL

Pierre A Lamielle

Pierre A. Lamielle

illustrator

Calgary, Alberta

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Wow... steaks! Yum! I cook them often. For groups of oh, 600 or so. Here's the best set of tips I can give. Most importantly, the better the meat the better the end result. We prefer to use a 14 to 16 ounce New York strip dry aged about 21 days and then trimmed and vacuum packed (times 600) by our butcher. All steaks are seasoned by hand (but very lightly) using salt, pepper and a small quantity of fresh garlic. Steaks are put on a HOT mesquite grill. We use a grill that is 8 feet by 6 feet, and typically have 4 cooking on it, 2 for first flip, 2 for 2nd flip / removal. We also use 2 more to feed the grill raw steaks, spray the cook crew and furnish cold beverages. Hot is defined as you can't count to one with your hand 1" over the surface of the grill. Steaks are cooked without turning until blood just begins to pool on the top side. Steaks are turned and cooked on the flip side. At the first sign of juices showing steaks are removed. These are allowed to rest for up to 3 minutes in steam trays while being transferred to serving lines. All steaks will coast to medium rare. Now- for the carnivores like me: Steaks are grabbed off the fire for an early flip, and given a short second side. They are delivered to a fully plated dinner and go directly to the table RARE. Please note that these can coast to medium rare if put in a steam tray... but will remain rare if left on a dinner plate. I've done this 2-4 times a year for the last 15 years. I do know my steaks. And for the guys who want 'em well done (though heaven knows why), we always put a half dozen on the edges of the grill and just keep them going and going and going... not to burn them, but to make them grey and fully cooked. Everybody knows how a steak is cooked. Not everybody agrees, that's all. :laugh:

"Cogito Ergo Dim Sum; Therefore I think these are Pork Buns"

hvrobinson@sbcglobal.net

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I actually find in my personal experience that a super heated cast iron pan is the only way to really get a nice malliardized crust on the outside. Of course it's not the same as a broiler, but I find it's second best.

Have you tried medium-high heat plus butter? Several chefs recommend that method, and achieve excellent results. From an article in Nation's Restaurant News last year, by Florence Fabricant:

Hmm I'll try that out. To tell you the truth, I learned the cast iron method from Alton Brown, and I tend to put alot of faith in him when he said that insanely hot cast iron was the only way to get any crust on your steak on your home stove. Certainly it'll save me alot of time from having to preheat the thing for 10 minutes.

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A little late in the thread...But here are my thoughts...

I do steaks two ways.

First off, both ways, get the steak up to 70º to 100º . many ways to do this. sous viede, leave it on the counter for a half hour or so, or put it in the M/W on super low for enough 1min cycles till it gets there. (M/W's vary so you can't do this in all of them. test with a thermometer) Make sure all the fat is trimmed from the edges.

First is on a rest. type gas grill. (has heavy cast iron grates) Get it up to 700º or so .and turn and flip to get the nice grill marks..grill till it just starts to get firm. Let rest for a couple mins and serve.

Second is the cast iron pan. Dry . just a very very light layer of table salt in the bottom.

Heat to 550º 600º. (if you dont have an I/R thermometer,- until the salt just begins to pop) then add steak and cook till it just starts to get firm, and is nice and crusty . rest and serve. (make sure the exhaust fan is on high.)

These are for steaks med rare, to about an Inch thick or so.

For 2 or three inch thick steaks- When the things are brown and crusty take em out and into a 550º oven till they get the suitable internal temp

Bud

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  • 5 months later...

While re-reading this thread I was wondering about some opinions on the issue of flipping. I have used the 'Alain Ducasse'-method that Fat Guy so emphatically endorses (and it really does produce a great steak), but I also just re-read the McGee argument for flipping your steak often.

Any opinions on the flipping issue? I might just have to do a little experiment soon to compare flipping often to flipping twice, but I remember reading that flipping specifically is not a good idea.

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"Tom Colicchio of Craftsteak in Las Vegas and the new Craftsteak in New York cooks his steaks on a flat griddle on medium heat, turning them frequently. He feels that this method produces the juiciest, most consistently cooked meat"

Having just recently had some Waygu steak at Craftsteak in Las Vegas, I have to say Tom C., has the cooking method down it was some of the most amazing meat I have ever have.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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I fall into the cavewoman camp.  :shock:

A 1-1/2 inch thick NY Strip cooked over ripping hot hardwood charcoal really fast until the center is no longer blue and not quite medium rare, but somewhere in that narrowly sublime warm and juicy red place. It comes off the grill sizzling with a nice brown crust, but not charred. I loosely cover it with tin foil and let it rest for 5 minutes. :wub:

Edit: I just push on the meat to test for doneness. I don't like sticking thermometers in the meat because then you really will lose all that beautiful juicyness.

Just the way I like my ribeyes!

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