Tip #13 – Cooking the perfect Steak – 30 Days to better BBQ

Sliced Ribeye Steak

Steak is one of the true pleasures in life! Everyone has their favourite cut and their preferred way of eating it but it’s a little disheartening when you cut into a beautiful steak to find it isn’t cooked how you had hoped. For today’s tip I want to share a few simple methods to help you cook your steaks to perfection every time!

 

Cook to an internal temperature

So we’ve all been to a restaurant with friends and family, everyone orders up a steak to their preferred level of doneness but when they arrive they’re maybe not quite how you would have liked. Your idea of a medium steak may not be the same as the chef’s and sometimes even two medium steaks cooked by the same chef can be a little different.

You’ve maybe experienced the same problems at home on your BBQ. You can work off guide times on each side to achieve the results you want but there are too many variables for this to be reliable every time. Your BBQ may be a little hotter, the steaks may be thicker or you may be using different cuts so the same rules can’t apply each time.

The simplest way to make sure your steaks are coming off the BBQ perfect every time is by reading the internal temperature and pulling them off the grill when they hit a specific temperature. It doesn’t matter if your steak is 1 inch thick or 2 inches thick, the internal temp will remain the same for your desired level of doneness.

So here are some guide temperatures for you to hit the next time you cook a steak on your BBQ.

Rare  45C  –  50C

Medium Rare  55C – 60C

Medium  60C – 65C

Medium Well  65C – 70C

Well Done  70C +

Hitting these temperature ranges will allow you to achieve consistent results every time. Now for thicker steaks, it can be a little bit more difficult to get an even doneness all the way through. On a direct heat, the outer layers of your thick steak will be overcooked by the time the middle hits the desired temperature. To get around this, you can use a method called the reverse sear.

 

The Reverse Sear

You may have seen traditional chef searing cuts of beef in a hot pan before placing it in the oven to finish off. The reverse sear, as the name suggests, is the opposite to this method. You bring the internal temperature of your meat up slowly by cooking it indirect (opposite the coals) until the internal temperature is a few degrees below your desired final temperature. You then ramp up the heat inside your BBQ and sear it on all sides to give you a nice golden crust.

When you cook your thick steaks this way, you will achieve a more even doneness all the way through. I like to rest my steaks a little after the indirect portion of the cook to allow the carry over process to finish. The internal temperature will drop a little so you can be sure it will not overcook during the sear.

The reverse sear isn’t necessary for steaks that are less than 1 inch thick as they should cook quickly over a high direct heat but for thicker steaks, this is a great method to use.

To achieve a golden crust on the outside of your steak whilst keeping the centre soft and juicy, you want a very high heat. I was introduced to one particular method to sear a steak by Marcus Bawdon from Country Wood Smoke. I wasn’t a believer at first but now I’m in love with this way to cook steaks……. It’s time to talk dirty!!

 

Cooking dirty

Now before you get carried away, I’m not talking about throwing all food hygiene rules out the window, I’m talking about cooking your steak directly on the charcoal – No cooking grates, no griddles, no foil – just meat and red hot embers!

Ribeye Steak on the coals

“But won’t my steak be covered in ash?” I hear you ask and to be honest, I said the very same thing but trust me, if you are using good quality Lumpwood charcoal you won’t have a problem with ash or bits.

Build up a bed of Lumpwood charcoal and make sure they are red hot. Before placing your steaks onto the coals, blow of any ash that is on the surface then place the steaks on top. Sizzling will ensue and the smells will make you hungrier by the second.

There will be flames as the fat renders from your steak but don’t panic. As the steak is sitting directly on the coals, the flames simply roll around the outside of the steak. After a few minutes, turn your steak over. You may get one or two little coals sticking to the steak but you can remove them easily with your tongs.

When all is said and done, you are left with a steak that has one of the nicest, caramelised crusts on the outside and as it has sealed quickly, it remains tender and juicy on the inside. I have truly never tasted steak like it and I would recommend giving it a try.

Here is the video from Marcus on the Country Wood Smoke YouTube channel

 

Good quality steaks cooked over fire in your backyard are one of the joys of BBQ. Knowing what internal temperature to aim for will take the guess work out of knowing when your steak is ready and by adjusting your cooking method for different cuts, you can achieve consistent results every time.

 

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Tomahawk Ribeye Steak

Steak is always a favourite on the bbq and this beast is no exception. The Tomahawk Ribeye is simply a Ribeye steak cut with the bone left on. As they have to be cut to the thickness of the bone they are generally quite a chunky steak. The one I am cooking today is 44 ounces (with the bone.)

I never do anything too fancy with my steaks. In my opinion, the more you throw at one the more chance you have of ruining it. So here’s a quick run down on how I cook my steaks.

What you will need

For the Steak

Fine sea salt
Ground black pepper
Garlic Granuales

For the sides

2-3 large potatoes (for baking)
1 large white onion
50 grams butter
Rosemary (finely chopped)
Sage ( finely chopped)
1/4 teaspoon Garlic granules

Preparation

To get the steak ready for the grill, lift it out of the fridge and place it on a plate. Add the Salt, pepper and garlic granules to a pestle and mortar and give it a quick grind to mix the flavours. Coat all sides of the steak with the SPG mixture and leave the steak to come to room temperature.

To prepare the side, prick the potatoes with a knife or a fork and wrap them tightly in tinfoil. we will coal roast these while we are cooking the steak.

Onion with ButterCut the top off the onion leaving the root side on. Mix the butter, rosemary, sage and garlic granules together in a small bowl and them spoon the butter on top of the onion. Place the onion on a sheet of foil and wrap it upwards to ensure the butter doesn’t run out when it melts. The onion will also be roasted along with the potatoes.

At the Grill

The only way to cook a chunk of meat like this is to reverse sear it. A reverse sear involves cooking the meat indirect at a low temperature until it reaches a desired temperature and then searing it over a high direct heat to seal it.

Steak is traditionally cooked direct but by the time the middle of a steak this thick is cooked, the outside would be really over done.

Set you grill up for a low indirect heat, around 120°C. Place your foil wrapped potatoes and onion into the coals and forget about them, they will cook away while you are dealing with the steak.

Add some oak chunks to the coals to give you a little smoke and then place the steak opposite the hot coals. Add a water pan to the grill to keep the moisture levels up while cooking.

You want to cook the steak slowly and bring it up to an internal temperature of 46-48°C. With this steak it took about 1 hour. Don’t go overboard with the smoke as you want the fat to flavour the steak and too much smoke will overpower it.

As soon as the steak reaches the desired temperature, lift it off the grill and place it on a plate to let it rest for 10 minutes. You might be tempted to cover it with foil as you would any other cut of meat that is resting but resist the temptation. Meat continues to cook when you lift it off so you want the steak to cool down as quickly as possible.

While you are waiting, light approx 2/3 of a chimney starter of lumpwood charcoal and when it is ready, add it to the coals that are already in the barbecue. To sear the steak, you want a very high heat. Before you return the steak to the grill, brush it with some vegetable oil and season it with the SPG mixture one last time.

Sear the steak over the hot coals on all sides until it is golden brown and the internal temp reaches approx 55 – 57°C. Lift the meat off for one final rest before serving.  Remove the onions and potatoes from the coals and unwrap them, ensuring they are soft. If you need to, leave them in the coals for a little longer.

 

Enitre Meal on Board
By leaving the meat on the bone, you add another layer of flavour that you don’t get with a normal ribeye cut. I would definitely recommend trying this one out. Not only does it look impressive but the flavour is incredible.