Howto: Steak to the point

Hi,

I often get asked why my steaks are almost always so perfectly done. A lot of people told me their problems with searing a steak.

This is why I decided to start a Howto-Series and I am going to start with one of the most asked question to me “How to sear a steak perfectly!

Here we go:

In fact the “perfect” steak depends on some prerequisites.

  1. Most important is a good quality of meat.
  2. Thickness of the meat. Should be 3-4cm and also evenly thick.
  3. Two zone temperature on the grill
  4. Grill heat more than 200°C (400°F). I prefer round about 220-230°C (430-450°F)
  5. A cast iron grate would be the best choice. If you do not already own one but you like good steaks you should invest in a cast iron grate !
    If the surface of the meat is nice and even you can also use a griddle plate (I prefer here cast iron, too)
  6. Give the Grill time to heat up (at least 10 minutes)
  7. A good grill thermometer. (I prefer the Maverick 732/733 or Maverick XR-50 or Weber iGrill-2)
  8. If you own a Thermapen feel free to use it 🙂

So I prefer a medium Steak so I will explain it here for a medium steak. (54°C (129°F) core temp. (during the rest-period it will rise to ~56°C(133°F))

Appendix concerning “searing”

When it comes to searing steaks I can really recommend the so called “Cold Grate Technique”. This method creates a superior and even crust on the meat. This crust is pure flavor. (If you are a fan of the photogenic hash sear marks don’t use the Cold Grate Method!)
Use the Internet (10:36) to see how it works.
In short:
The goal is to have a relatively “cold” grate between the direct heat and the steak. I recommend to rotate the grate a quarter every minute, so there is always a cooler part of the grate over the heat and flip the steak each time.

Method #1 – Reverse searing

So the steak is perfect in some simple steps. I guarantee that the described reverse searing method brings you to perfection.

  1. Acclimated core temp, means 1h before out of the fridge to get a core temp of the room (nearly)
    Appendix: This room temp resting causes a much more even cook
  2. Place the steak on the indirect heat zone in order to heat it up slowly to a core temp of 48°C (118°F)
    You can do this without switching the steak but I prefer a turnaround at 44°C (111°F)
  3. After reaching the 48°C (118°F) core temp put it on the direct heat area.
  4. Now it will take round about 4-6 minutes to get the final core temp of 56°C (133°F) (medium)
    In order to get nice looking grill marks sear it for 1 minute and change the angle for 45° and sear it for another minute.
    Then turn around the steak and do the same procedure for this side again.
  5. If the time does not fit to your steak let the second side (after turnaround) simply a bit longer.
  6. After reaching the 54°C (129°F) put it in a foil to give it a rest for 10 better 15 Minutes. The core temp will rise to ~56°C (133°F)
  7. That’s it

Method #2 – I call it the “Frozen Meat Method” (FMM)

Believe it or not but this is my preferred method and works great for big steaks. The benefit is not only saving the time to defrost the meat but also creating a superb constant reddish color to the meat if you cut it into slices. There is more or less no “grey” and well done edge.
The meat is finally super juicy.
Give it a try!

  1. Place the frozen steak (-18°C) on high direct heat and just sear it from both sides until you got a nice Maillard reaction, means nice brown color.
  2. If both sides are good to go place the steak into the indirect zone and let the core temp come up to your preferred core temperature.
  3. That’s it – Simple enough? 🙂
  4. Example

I prefer the seasoning after the searing and the rest time. I only use salt flakes (mostly English ones) (sea salt) and Chipotle Chili Flakes. Also a good choice is the “Steak Pfeffer” from Ankerkraut.

Method #3 – Other ways

There are of course some other ways to prepare a steak.

  1. The most common way:
    Searing the steak on direct heat to perfect grill marks or crust and put in than on indirect heat for “resting” to preferred core temp.
    Additional foiling is also needed.
  2. Souse Vide method. It’s time intensive, you need a vacuum system and a Souse Vide circulator or a Souse Vide cooker. Of course you also have to add some searing to the surface so you need a pan/griddle, grate or a top heat oven (e.g. the famous Beefer) too.
    The final outcome is a super tender steak.
    For me it misses the spirit of BBQ completely. 🙂

Here are some impressions:

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