What to put on Steak? One of the most primal questions in existence for those who eat meat. And we're here to answer it.
What to put Steak is a deep and probing question because it requires some quick responses backed up by the most basic of all investigation. Many of the experts I talk to who have made hundreds of steaks, chicken and ribs have thought critically about the key elements of steak and whether anything should be put on it at all. In fact we know folks that would rather the steak was just cut 10 minutes before from the cow, then placed on the grill for 5 minutes just enough to reheat the meat then served and that five minutes is 2-1/2 minutes per side.....Wow! Now, that's a little too raw for me so when I asked people about steak seasoning I did not ask people who like it raw. So, let's talk about the consensus of Executive Chefs, grill masters, bbq cooks, restaurateurs and general industry folk. In almost every case (97% to be exact) said, adding some basic seasoning to a steak while on the grill was a NO, NO. However, they insisted that adding seasoning to the meat at least 30 minutes before grilling is one of the best things you can do to improve the flavor of your steak. So, on the grill seasoning, NO, but off the grill prior to grilling with seasonings, Yes.
Once we established a consensus on seasoning we develed deeper into the discussion about what type of seasoning. Most agree that a liberal sprinkling of a good quality salt like Kosher and not just table salt was good. Follow up the salt by about half as much good quality pepper. Remember if your spending $8 or $10 a pound for a good steak then the least you can do is add 50 cents of good quality salt and pepper on the steak. Now here's where it got interesting...especially when driving down on seasonings. About 60% of those chefs asked said that they normally follow the salt and pepper with a mixed blend seasoning. A seasoning that had some basics like garlic and onion and maybe some herbs blended into the mix. I got a little partial and began to talk about our Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub and of course the feedback was that this rub had just the right elements to complement the meat. The rub had Kosher smoked salt, coarse ground black pepper, garlic, onion, and herbs like tarragon and oregano. And just like the standard salt and pepper process they were emphatic about putting the seasoning on the steak at least 30 minutes before the grilling process. Which of course I assured them I would tell our folks in this post. So, 30 minutes before No less.
No there are some additional critical steps which can't be overlooked. The question is how do you want your steak to turn out? Is your steak a tender filet, or a tough sirloin? If the answer is tough sirloin then you'll want the marinate on the steak assisting in breaking down some muscle fiber which acts to tenderize the meat. In some instances a Brine will achieve the same thing in terms of marination but one must be careful to remove the brined meat in a timely fashion so as not to make the meat soggy. Overall this will mean that you need to add at least 30 minutes to an hour more of marinating time to achieve results when the seasonings amount is small.
After marinating remove the steak and rest while the grill is readied. The steak will develop a thin layer of moisture on the surface as the steak rests at room temperature, you don't have to pat the steak with a napkin or scrape off any liquid from your steak just cover it with a paper towel until your grill is ready. Once the grill is set place the steak on. Keep in mind a really good steak needs a really high temperature. Most stoves can't achieve the temperatures that a restaurant can (700-800 degrees) but you can achieve that level if you have either a cast iron pan or a nicely managed wood fired grill. Most good steaks cook for about 8-10 minutes a side when the temperature exceeds 500 degrees. For Medium Well the steak should be on the grill at least 8 minutes per side. Check our temperature and cooking charts for steaks to be sure. Once grilled remove the steak and place in a warm container, not a cold one. Cover the steak and let it rest about 8-10 minutes. DO NOT cut into the steak after pulling it off the grill without it resting. If you do the juices will run out of the meat leaving the pieces tougher than they would have been if rested. Restaurants will only rest a steak for 2-3 minutes before serving but they do rest them.
The Second Method I mentioned earlier is the method we prefer. Steaks are expensive and most people buy them because they want the true taste of steak. We seasoned our steaks with our Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub then we let the steaks marinate in the seasoning for at least an hour. The steaks are covered and placed in a fridge on a middle shelf during the marination process. We like using wood fire (Red Oak) or Charcoal with smoking chips. If using smoking chips make sure you soak the chips in water for at least 2 hours. Then put a handful of chips on the coals or in a smoke box once you have reached the right temperature for grilling. If I can't use a grill then I use a cast iron pan on high heat. I season the pan with a little butter first then add one (1) steak at a time. Before cooking I cut off a small portion of the steak and cook that alongside the larger steak. This allows me to check the cooking status of the steak without cutting into the larger steak releasing the juices. I cook the steak about 8 minutes per side depending on the thickness of the steaks. Once cooked I rest the steak for about 10 minutes.
If desired your can take BBQ Sauce that has been warmed and lightly brush the surface of the steak. The sauce becomes more of a condiment at this point and my guests are afforded the opportunity to lather on as much sauce as they prefer during their eating process.
The true focus of this conversation is what kind of steak are you going to cook and how do you want it to turn out. The best steaks are planned especially where the cooking/grilling process is concerned. Most chefs and grill masters typically don't marinate steaks in sauces but actually prefer salt and pepper with a mix herb blend of dry rub similar to our Tri Tip, Steak and Rib Rub which is allowed to marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
Jake's makes some really nice Dry Rubs and Barbecue Sauces that are excellent on steak. Follow these links to get your favorite Steak Barbecue Sauce and Dry Rub:
Really Good Mild Barbecue Sauce
Really Nice Medium Hot Barbecue Sauce
Really Hot Barbecue Sauce
Maple Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
Memphis Blues Barbecue Sauce
Texas Style Inspired Barbecue Sauce
Asian Style Barbecue Sauce
Tri Tip, Steak and Rib Rub
Sriracha Ketchup Spicy Sauce
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Learn more about: Different Cuts of Meat
This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 17 March, 2018.