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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 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.
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.
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