The seasoned griller commands an arsenal of experience and recipes, all having been painstakingly passed through the generations and perfected over time and temperature. The origin of these tasty traditions usually can be found in family, and the one often deserving the credit is dear old Dad.
Southern grilling guru Fred Thompson, author of the new book “Williams-Sonoma Grill Master” a collection of back-to-basics tips and recipes, recalls the influence of his father as early as nine years old. “Every Saturday night my father grilled rib-eye steaks. I wanted to keep up with daddy so I hung out at the grill,” he says. “I was fascinated with what my father could do.”
This Father’s Day and BBQ season, try honoring the Old Man with delicious tradition. So light that fire!
Take a page out of Thompson’s book and learn the secrets to grilling the perfect steak:
• Buy good meat: Grass-fed and grass-finished beef tastes better and has a bolder flavor that holds up particularly well against the lick of the grill’s flames.
• Simple seasoning: Sprinkle steak liberally on both sides with salt and pepper when you take it out of the refrigerator. Brush steaks on both sides with a little olive oil (not extra virgin). This facilitates the heat transfer, so you can get an evenly browned crust and a delicious steak house flavor.
• Timing is important: There’s nothing worse than a rubbery, tasteless overcooked steak. Professionals use touch to gauge doneness, and so can you. Touch your index finger to your cheek. When the meat feels this way, the steak is rare. Touch the tip of your nose. That firmness equates to medium. Your forehead is well done. “But please don’t go there,” says Thompson.
• Let it rest: If you cut into a piece of beef as soon as it comes off the grill, you will lose precious juices. Give the proteins in the steak the opportunity to unwind a little bit from the heat they have just experienced. Let most steaks rest at least five to 10 minutes to give the juices time to redistribute evenly throughout the meat.
• Goes great with: Skip the steak sauce. A pat of plain or compound butter is the perfect finish.
Even experienced grillers need new tips, tools and tricks to perfect their steaks, ribs and dry rub techniques. Consider gifting dad a successful grilling season with “Grill Master.” Grill tips, BBQ recipes and information about the book can be found at www.WeldonOwen.com.
“There’s a mystique that happens with smoke and flame that you just can’t get any way else, and it’s pretty simple to create,” says Thompson.