June 15, 2011

Grilled to Perfection

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Margaret's Morsels | Grilled Peppered Steaks

Every spring when gas grills start appearing in stores, my husband and I discuss whether or not we should buy one.  We know, thanks to friends with gas grills, how good food is when cooked outdoors.  However, neither one of us grew up in families that grilled so we're not sure we'd use a grill enough to justify the expense.

Although we don't own a gas grill, we do have a George Foreman electric countertop grill.  Unlike a gas grill, it has a slope so fat drains from the food.  It's also a contact grill so food cooks on the top and bottom at the same time, eliminating the need to turn food over.

Margaret's Morsels | Grilled Peppered Steaks
My George Foreman grill.

One of my favorite recipes to grill is Grilled Peppered Steaks.  Although I cook it on my George Foreman grill, it can be cooked on a gas or charcoal grill.

When it comes to grilling steaks, choose ones that are 1 to 1 1/2-inches thick.  Thinner steaks can dry out during the grilling time.  Four steaks that are good for grilling are:
  • Rib-eye:  A rib steak with the bone removed that's tender, juicy and flavorful.
  • T-Bone:  This tender steak, named for its shape, has a T shaped bone with meat on each side.  The larger side is strip steak; the smaller side is tenderloin.
  • Porterhouse:  A huge T-bone, except it has a larger tenderloin. It is one of the most expensive steaks.
  • New York Strip:  A tender and flavorful cut of meat known in some parts of the country as strip loin, shell steak or Kansas City steak.

Margaret's Morsels | Grilled Peppered Steaks
I always use New York strip steak.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 to 60 minutes before you're ready to cook.  Room temperature meat cooks more evenly and browns better than cold meat.  While the meat is coming to room temperature, combine the ingredients for the dry rub.

A dry rub is a combination of spices, seasonings and herbs that is put on the meat before it's cooked.  The rub infuses the meat with flavor which intensifies during cooking.  The rub for this recipe consists of three ingredients:  onion salt, garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Don't substitute preground pepper; freshly ground pepper adds a lot more flavor.

If you don't have a peppermill, you can still use freshly ground pepper.  Put the peppercorns on a cutting board and crush them using the edge of a skillet.  Or, use a mortar and pestle to crush the peppercorns.

Margaret's Morsels | Grilled Peppered Steaks
My husband crushing the peppercorns with a skillet.

Thoroughly coat the steaks, including any meat on the ends and sides, with the rub.

Margaret's Morsels | Grilled Peppered Steaks
The dry rub on the steaks.

Place the steaks on the grill and cook, turning once on a gas or charcoal grill, until they reach the desired doneness.  Medium-rare has a very pink center and is slightly brown toward the exterior.  Medium has a center that is light pink and the outer portion is brown.  Medium-well has meat that is light pink surrounding the center.  Well done is uniformly brown throughout.

Every fall when gas grills go on clearance, my husband and I discuss whether or not to buy one while they're on sale.  We always decide it's too late in the year to be of much use and agree to discuss it again in the spring.  Until we buy one, I'll continue to use my George Foreman grill.  I can use it in the comfort of an air conditioned house and don't have to worry about rain or bugs.  Given the comforts of grilling indoors, it makes me wonder why we want a gas grill in the first place!

Grilled Peppered Steaks
2 Servings

1 1/2 to 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion salt
1 tsp. garlic salt
2 (1/2 lb.) steaks

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub onto both sides of the steaks, including meat on the ends and sides.  Grill covered until meat reaches the desired doneness.

If the steaks are larger than 1/2 pound, make 1 1/2 batches of the rub (I double it).

© Margaret's Morsels

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