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I recently spent a sweltering weekend in Massachusetts with Cree LeFavour, the author of The New Steak: Recipes for a Range of Cuts Plus Savory Sides (Ten Speed Press) and a thrillingly fun person (think midnight water fights.)
It may have been a bold move, but prior to her arrival, we decided to grill steaks for dinner. Some felt the choice was risky given what she just went through writing a book about steak, but I assured my compatriots that just because I wrote a book about baking doesn't mean when I go to someone's house for dinner I will scoff at any sweet offering.
So on we grilled, and boy did we. Five Hardwick Farms rib-eyes later, I caught Cree teaching my husband to put pats of butter on the steaks as they finish in the oven and I insisted she share some more tips with us.
Here are Cree's tips:
Grilling steak for a crowd can cause the coolest, most confident cook to melt into a humid puddle of worry. Getting it right -- serving up steaks that are pink and tender inside, with a hint of smoky, crispy fat around the edge – is easier than you think. Next time you're on the spot, here are eight simple things to remember:
- Buy good meat.
For bold flavor and peace of mind look for grass-fed, grain-finished steaks from the rib or short loin.
- Bring your steak to room temperature before grilling.
It'll cook faster and stay juicy.
- Salt boldly.
Salt your steak before you put it on the grill, and again before serving.
- Before you grill, make sure the steak is dry and lightly oiled.
It'll brown beautifully, baby.
- Sear the steak over high heat, then cook gently to finish.
Grill over intense heat for 3-5 minutes per side, then move the meat to a cooler spot on the grill to cook it through.
- Don't overcook.
Use a meat thermometer and aim for between 125°-130° F. for rare, 130°-135° F. for medium.
- After you pull it off the grill, let the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Set the steak on a plate in an 170 F. oven, or tent it with foil on the counter.
- Think butter.
Plain sweet butter or – even better -- a composed butter of shallots and chopped herbs makes any steak taste better.
• Buy The New Steak: Recipes for a Range of Cuts Plus Savory Sides (Amazon, $13.57)
Last Week's Posted Email: From The Email: A Few Toys For Barbecuers