Steak nights are an occasion at our house, a meal that typically happens on Saturday night. Firing up the grill for steaks is a celebratory event engrained from childhood, when my grandfather would splurge on massive T-bones, fry potatoes and onions, haul out the horseshoes and douse a pile of coals with lighter fluid (a tradition I have not adopted). Serving your people, “a nice, big steak,” is a reward for a productive week of work, and a way to savor the slower pace of weekends.
On Saturdays, I don’t give much thought to rounding out the meal (a salad and grilled toasts suffice as supporting players). The meat is the main event, so I seek out the best cuts from my local market. For me, that means a well-marbled cut, dry-aged steak sourced from a particular farm or ranch. Dry-aging, or cooling the meat for an extended period of time concentrates moisture and results in a rich, beefy flavor.
Although I’d never turn down a ribeye, my go-to is a New York Strip. The symmetrical shape of the boneless cut makes it easy to achieve the ideal balance of crispy char on the outside and a juicy pink middle.
Saturday Night Steak
Serves 2 to 4
- 2 dry-aged strip steaks (1½ to 2 inches thick)
- Steak King seasoning
Coat all sides of both steaks generously with Steak King seasoning, then use your hands to evenly coat the steak. Set the meat aside to marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.
About 30 minutes before you plan to grill, prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. Clean and oil the grill grates and vent the grill for smoking. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, grill the steaks over direct heat, flipping and rotating around the fire as needed for even browning (close the grill in between flips to maintain a high temperature. When both sides of the steak are crisp, deeply browned crust. You don’t want a black crust, so if it’s charring too quickly move the steak to indirect heat to finish cooking through.
Remove the steak from heat and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
A few more tips:
- Season enthusiastically, before you light your coals. Salt and other aromatics add tremendous flavor, keep meat juicy, and enhance the charring process to create a flavorful exterior. Texture forward seasoning blends like Steak King, made with kosher salt and cracked spices and herbs create a particularly crackly, tasty crust.
- To ensure your steak cooks evenly and has a juicy pink center, allow the seasoned meat to sit at room temperature an hour before grilling.
- Cook with a two-zone fire. This set-up will allow you to sear the steak over blistering heat, then allow it to finish (or avoid a flare-up) on the cooler side of the grill.
- Let it be. We know, it’s hard not to dig into a sizzling ribeye the minute it comes off the grates (like, when you’re still standing at the grill). But allowing the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing gives it time to reabsorb its flavorful juices.
Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe.
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