Nothing compares to the rich flavor and tender texture of a grilled steak. It’s the preferred choice of meat for countless home chefs. But if you’re planning to grill steaks, you should avoid making the following mistakes.
Why do you need to cover your steaks in butter or oil? Well, doing so serves two specific purposes: first, it encourages the seasoning to stick to the steak. Secondly, it prevents your steak from sticking to the grill. So, try to get into the habit of covering your steaks with butter, olive oil, vegetable oil or some other oil before seasoning them.
If you’re having trouble lighting your coals, you may feel compelled to douse it with lighter fluid. Unfortunately, this is a serious mistake that will negatively affect the flavor of your steak. The chemical-rich lighter fluid will release fumes when burned that soak into the steak, essentially altering its flavor. Rather than using lighter fluid, a better way to your fire starter is to use a charcoal chimney. After placing newspaper at the bottom, fill it with charcoal and light the bottom.
Another common mistake that you’ll want to avoid is placing steaks on a dirty grill grate. If you don’t clean the grate after each use, food particles will harden onto it. In addition to making your steaks stick, this also promotes rust and corrosion. You can clean your grill grates using a basic grill brush and a little bit of water.
Many home chefs toss their steaks on the grill immediately after removing them from the refrigerator and seasoning them. A better solution, however, is to let your steaks sit at room temperature for 20 minutes, no more or no less, so the protein enzymes will begin to break down. The general idea is that allowing a steak to sit at room temperature helps it become more tender. So, start a timer once you remove your steaks from the refrigerator, and when it hits the 20-minute mark, toss them on the grill.
The general belief is that the hotter the fire, the better the steak, as heat creates a nice seared/charred texture on the outside. The truth of the matter, however, is that too much heat will burn the outside of your steaks. If you’re looking to achieve a Pittsburgh-style steak, this is perfectly fine. For all other occasions, though, you should avoid this by evenly distributing your coals across the bottom of your grill or fire pit.
When you’re grilling some delicious filet mignon, you may want to check and see how it’s doing on a regular basis. But each time you open the lid, it disturbs the heat while subsequently affecting the way in which your steaks grill. For traditional charcoal-flamed grills and fire pits, opening the lid allows air to enter, which then increases the heat. To promote an even, thorough cooking, avoid lifting the lid while your steaks are cooking. You should only lift the lid when you need to flip or remove the steaks.
Not all steaks are created equal, and it’s important to choose the right type when grilling them. Generally speaking, the most common cuts of steak include filet mignon, sirloin, ribeye, New York strip and Porterhouse. Of all the different cuts, filet mignon is the most tender with the least amount of fat. However, it’s also the most expensive (by weight). In terms of flavor, most chefs will agree that a ribeye is the best, simply because it contains more marbling (fat). Familiarize yourself with the different cuts of steak and choose the one that’s best suited for your personal taste.
Try to limit the number of foods you grill at once. If you’re grilling steak alongside shrimp, vegetable skewers and other foods, it may cause cross-contamination. Bacteria from the steaks may seep into the nearby foods, essentially contaminating them. And even if it doesn’t cause cross-contamination, grilling steaks next to other foods will affect the flavor at the very least. Your steaks may have a hint of flavor from the other foods. To prevent problems such as these, either grill your steaks separately or keep them far away from the other foods.
Yet another mistake that you’ll want to avoid making is cutting into your steaks immediately after grilling them. Maybe you want to see if they are cooked all the way through, so you cut the center with a knife. Seems harmless, right? Unfortunately, if you cut your steaks immediately after removing them from the grill, the juices won’t have time to settle; thus, they’ll run out of the steak, resulting in a dry texture and lackluster flavor. Let your steaks sit for at least three minutes before cutting into them.
These are just a few of the most common mistakes home chefs make when grilling steaks.
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