OK, I heard you say, “your eyes are bigger than you stomach” and you’d be right! Way Bigger!
OK, I heard you say, “your eyes are bigger than you stomach” and you’d be right! Way Bigger! But, curiosity is a mover and shaker sometimes and mine was way above mildly curious. Working my way through my seventh year of studying Barbecuing and Smoking Meats, I had done many steaks with edible success each time and with varying degrees of satisfaction.
To get that perfect doneness and the requisite grill marks crossed just so so and just the right color on the inside of a steak of any thickness is the challenge every time you place that expensive piece of meat on the hot sizzling grill. Of course, over done meat can be accomplished in almost no time at all, if The Grill Master doesn’t stay on task! Completely on task! Interruptions, especially if you’re not using a good timer and an accurate meat thermometer, can leave a disappointing taste in your mouth. Pun intended!
Now after you’ve done a few 2 inch and 2 1/2inch thick T-bone Steaks, you feel like you’re starting to get on top of the techniques required to produce the desired characteristics in your steak. That doneness requirement is a real tricky one and is easy to get wrong. At my house we are not into rare meat with the red running onto the plate. At our house we want medium doneness with pink being the target color at first serving, which allows acceptable color and doneness after reheating in the microwave for one on my personal favorites … left overs! If you buy a big enough steak, what do you get … that’s right, left overs, yum!
So, with a Birthday celebration at hand, you decide to take the challenge up a notch … or two. That’s right, let’s try a “Real Thick One”, and see how it goes.
Our butcher at our favorite store to buy meat had cut steak for us many times during the years of my Barbeque Study project and he had previously asked The Mrs, “how does your husband cook these thick steaks”, when I had requested the 2 1/2 inch thick steak? The Mrs told him I grilled first and then slow smoked the steak to get the correct doneness. This answer seemed to makes sense to him and satisfy most of his curiosity. Not just every grill can perform this task properly and no I don’t use one of the modern “green” grills/cooker.
Oh no, I use an antique grill that The Mrs and I have been using with great satisfaction for years. We are over half way through our 4th decade with this grill. The Mrs and her Father each got a new grill from the Birmingham Stove and Range Company, back in 1978. This cast aluminum grill/smoker has stood the test of time and use. Reminds me of the Quality and performance of my very favorite automobiles I’ve owned over the last 50 years.
That would be a 1959 Cadillac de ville. Quality and performance in one package. And like this great car they haven’t made our favorite grill in decades, but, we don’t need a new anyway. This one works great! Still!
So, when I requested a T-bone that was over 3 1/2 inches thick and weighing in at around 5 lbs., please, I knew for sure I had a challenge on my hands this time. And that’s just what I wanted! The overdone problem was going to be the big thing to avoid with this big extra thick steak.
After 3 days in the special homemade marinade recipe in the fridge, it was time to “put the steak on” and see how it goes. This beautiful piece of beef measured in at over 3 3/4 inch thick and weighed in at a whopping 4.84 lbs. Wow, that’s a big hunk of steak! I was concerned and excited, all at the same time. If you didn’t keep this meat edible from this point on, well, let’s just say that was an expensive school of hard knocks.
So, long story made much shorter … the money was not wasted at all, but, the over done fear came true and the word tough and chewy were used by me, so, that pretty well tells the story. And of course there is always in a tough situation, pun intended, the blender. If the flavors there, then texture can be modified. Well, the flavor didn’t get an A either, because the days of marinade had not reached the center of the meat to give it that special extra taste required at my house. And, of course with the “over doneness”,it failed the re-heat left overs in the microwave requirement at my house also.
So, there is no doubt at all, a “rematch” is called for in the future, time and date to be determined. But I have a few ideas I’d like to try, like injecting flavor to the middle of the meat to start the 3 days spent in marinade. Also, we have ideas on the “over done” problem. All and all, I’m sure glad I tried that barbecuing class, because even the one’s with a poor grade in class, beat the hell out of hot dogs and burgers!