I built this cool hibachi grill using some clay pots that I picked up at Home Depot.
As you can see, the first thing I cooked on it was some thick cut bacon. That’s lamb bacon, by the way. Really nice.
I lit the coal brick with a blowtorch.
This baby made my apartment really smokey because the fat drippings were hitting the hot coal. Otherwise, if there was no fat dripping, the hibachi was relatively smokeless. The cooking itself was more like a slow roast. I think, since I only used one brick, that made the process take longer. Next time I’ll try with two or three.
This past weekend I went all in and made a Sunday roast out of some Strassburger Steaks sirloin that I butchered myself at a butchery class. I had it netted/trussed so that it held its shape during the cooking process (that’s why it has lines on it).
First I rubbed it with some delicious Botticelli extra virgin olive oil. I really love that stuff. It’s the best olive oil I’ve had, and it doesn’t take on a bitter taste like some extra virgin oils do.
Then I seasoned with kosher salt, pepper and garlic powder. After that, I sealed it up in a sous vide bag with a few sprigs of rosemary. I left it in the bath overnight for 12 hours, set to 128 degrees.
After I pulled it from the bath, I poured out any meat juices into a cup for using later.
I let the meat cool own to room temperature before searing it in a pan with some butter and the rosemary. I spooned the excess butter over the top as I cooked it, and ensure that I got a good sear on all sides.
Always let your meat rest before slicing. I rested this roast for about 15 minutes. While you do that, you can pour the meat juice into the melted butter that’s left in the pan and reduce it gently into a brown gravy sauce.
I served with a big salad and some roasted potatoes. But man, oh man. That beef was so delicious.
Oh and speaking of Botticelli Foods, they happened to send me and my wife a nice package of stuff to try out here at home.
I just used the EVOO with my roast, but my wife used almost everything here and baked these awesome little farfalle muffins – a take on my spaghetti pie, but with prosciutto cups, bow tie pasta, roasted red peppers, mozz, eggs, parmesan cheese and spinach. Insanely delicious.
Gin Lane 1751 sent me a bottle of their London Dry Royal Strength Gin, as well as a pre-mixed negroni, to test out and make some tasty cocktails.
As some of you may know, I’m a huge gin martini fan. I pretty much always have one with steak. I especially like London dry gins, so I was excited to try this brand out.
Naturally, the first thing I went for was a classic dry martini, a little dirty. I barely fill the twist cap with vermouth, and pour that over the ice that’s already been chilling my martini glass as I prep.
By the way, I’ve had that bottle of Martini & Rossi vermouth for about 10 years now. That’s how dry I like my martinis…
Next I pour in some olive juice, and finally, the gin. Shake the fuck out of it and strain into a chilled glass for absolutely crisp, salty perfection. Olives as garnish, of course.
The pre-made negroni instructions are simple: Pour over ice and garnish with an orange peel.
As you can see, I had a lemon on hand, so I mixed it up a bit with that. I also threw in a splash of seltzer to give it some mouth-pop. Nice! Not too bitter, and just the right amount of sweet.
The third cocktail I made was my own. I squeezed out the juice of that one large lemon, added some raw sugar simple syrup, then stirred that together with gin and seltzer in a tall glass with ice. I garnished with a burnt lemon peel and a lemon wedge, and let the ash from the burnt peel fall into the drink to provide some natural bitters. Very refreshing and delicious.
If you’re a fan of gin like me, then I think you’ll dig this stuff. There’s elements of juniper, both sweet and sour citrus, barks, roots, coriander and other spices. But it’s not overpowering, and it stays true to the London dry style without becoming floral. With a strength of 47% alcohol, this packs plenty of wallop for a good cocktail, too, if you aren’t into drinking gin straight up.
Now that I’m cooking more steaks at home these days, I’ll be making lots of martinis and cocktails with this stuff. Go grab a bottle.
This will serve as sort of a double whammy review, since I used some nice products while cooking up these amazing steaks from New York Prime Beef.
New York Prime Beef is a high end middle meats (ribs and loins) brand that operates out of Hunt’s Point in the Bronx. I was invited in to meet the owner and employees, get a sense of the business, and try out some of their amazing products.
New York Prime Beef sells top notch prime, American wagyu and kobe beef steaks. They ship fresh overnight to anywhere in the US – never frozen unless the customer asks for it.
Each cut is beautifully packed in shrink wrap and butcher paper – even signed/initialed by the butcher who does the cutting.
Now let me tell you; I’ve had some really great steak in my day, as you can imagine. But the American wagyu strip that I took home and cooked was fucking flawless. Seriously one of the best steaks I’ve ever had, and I made it myself!
Look at the freaking marbling on this. Even the marbling has marbling.
It was a really simple cooking process. You can’t fuck it up. Season first with some salt. Heat up a little bit of oil in a cast iron pan until it’s screaming hot. Pop the steak on there for two and a half minutes per side.
But I actually used some truffle oil, truffle salt and truffle butter that I got from The Truffleist to boost up the decadence even more.
Take a look at the video:
The finished product was absolutely stunning. To be honest, this beef doesn’t need anything except for salt, but this truffle wagyu meal was fucking TITTY BAGS. I want to eat like this every day!
The texture is melt-in-your-mouth. You can cut this shit with a fork. The flavor has a buttery quality to it that sets it apart from standard beef or even prime, dry-aged beef. This stuff is like the foie gras of beef!
And that’s not to knock the other cuts they offer. Wagyu or Kobe isn’t in everyone’s budget. I also tried a prime porterhouse, and a prime dry-aged rib eye. The minimum these guys will age a cut of beef is 28-days. When I was at the facility, I saw some that had been aging for 60 days.
But anyway, let me get back to what I made at home. These babies were cut nice and thick, so I wanted to make sure I got a proper cook temp all the way through.
Sous Vide machines are all the rage these days. Everyone is buying them up because they allow you to cook meat perfectly every time. No more worrying about fucking up an expensive cut of beef!
I set mine to 128 degrees and let the fucker crank for about six hours. Then I pulled the meat out of the machine and let them rest and reabsorb some juices in the bag. Once they were about rom temperature plus, I removed them from the bag, patted them dry with a paper towel, and blasted them with a blowtorch. See below:
As you can see, I seasoned AFTER slicing and plating. This allowed me to get a better sense of the actual beef flavor for reviewing purposes.
The meat is fantastic. There’s a nice mild funk from the dry aging process on the rib eye. It doesn’t clobber you, which is good. The beef was tender and juicy, and really responded nicely to basic seasoning like salt, pepper and olive oil.
I think I liked the porterhouse a bit better. The tenderness of both the strip and filet sides was incredible.
I highly recommend this stuff. Order some today and let them know that Johnny Prime sent you. You’ll probably have the meat in time for dinner grilling on Sunday.
One of the coolest things about this spot is that the owner, Vinnie (great name), is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.
He’s a drag racer, a pilot, an old car guy (like me), and an art enthusiast. He even has some wild graffiti art on his rooftop (he supplies the paint for the artists).
I think that about covers it. I hope to see his products flood the market. They’re so good.
I hate wasting food, but I’m also not a fan of leftover steak. That’s why I will always try to finish every scrap of meat on my plate. But sometimes you just can’t pack it all in, and you have to bring some of that meat home. If you’re like me, you don’t like to re-heat quality meat. Something just changes and it’s not the same.
I’ve had some sliced cold in a salad before, but I also hate salads. I’ve also made a lot of beef stocks and broths with bones and meat scraps. But making the same thing can get tiring, and that’s a long process as well. So I came up with this recipe to satisfy my urges.
What you need:
Leftover creamed spinach
Leftover potato element
Cheddar and/or American cheese
Sub sandwich bread
Okay so here’s how it goes down. First, slice up your leftover steak scraps as thin as you can get them.
Inevitably, you’re going to have some congealed beef fat mixed with butter in the bottom of your take-out container.
Don’t throw that away!
Grab your bread.
Slice it open and spread that buttery beef fat onto each side of your bread, like so, and then heat up a pan.
Toast this baby as if it were grilled cheese.
Then start layering your components. Creamed spinach:
Potatoes and cheese:
Those were crispy potatoes mixed with onions, so that was a bonus ingredient for me!
More cheese, because why not?
Close it up and wrap it in tinfoil.
Bake this fucker for a quick stint at like 450. It doesn’t need too long in there. Once the cheese is completely melted down it should be good to go. Also, you don’t want to overheat the meat since it should already be a nice medium rare from the steakhouse.
Unwrap, slice and eat. Just try to do a better job slicing it than I did.
Last night The Cake Dealer put together the most incredible sandwich I’ve ever eaten in my life. A successful combination of Vietnamese and Italian cuisines – a “Vietalian” banh mi sandwich that she called the “Banh Mia” sandwich.
Mortadella, prosciutto, pickled carrots, pickled daikon, fresh cucumbers, cilantro, mayo, maggi sauce, sri racha sauce, and nduja on a baguette. If this isn’t a thing, it will be soon – mark my words. She would have lines down the block if she opened up a sub shop with these.
I was pushing for Italian bread to make the circle complete, but the French baguette is a very important part of Vietnamese banh mi, so it had to stay.
We had actually seen something similar before, in Philly, but more along the sausage route.
Although we didn’t try that sausage and pepper banh mi, I think my wife’s is better and actually makes more sense as fusion cuisine for the following reasons: (1) the mortadella is similar to the bologna and head cheese; (2) the prosciutto is similar to the ham, and (3) the nduja is similar to the pate – which are all used in the classic, traditional Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.
Pat LaFrieda. You’ve all probably seen the name before, and you’ll definitely see it again – especially because I’m about to publish a feature article on LaFrieda early next month for my “Meet Your Meat” series. But the man is a top notch, high quality beef purveyor with a rich family tradition of killing it in the meat biz. He provides the goods to the restaurants and chefs that make my favorite steaks.
He recently sent over two cuts of steak for me to enjoy at home; both dry-aged for 60 days, both prime, and both 2.5″ thick. One was a porterhouse, and the other a rib eye.
This stuff is not just set aside for restaurants and hotels! You can order it for home delivery right here.
So, what to do with all this beef? I mean, I would have loved to eat it all myself, but that’s just rude. Instead, I invited over a handful of foodie friends and cooked up a feast for them.
Here’s how it went down:
For starters, I sliced up some truffle salami and made a very basic wedge salad with iceberg, grape tomatoes, thick bacon and a crumbled blue cheese and black truffle oil dressing.
I decided to cook the porterhouse in the sous vide machine, and then finish it off with a hard Searzall blowtorch sear. I loaded the sous vide bag up with some truffle oil (I froze this ahead of time, that way the contents in the bag were dry when I sealed it), rosemary and thyme. I also seasoned the steak with salt and pepper before sealing it up.
After about four hours in a 128 degree bath, I pulled it out and dropped it into some ice water to stop the cooking process. After a few minutes, I removed it from the bag, dried it off and blasted it with the Searzall to get that nice outer crust.
Before serving, I sliced it up and plated it, then drizzled black truffle oil on top, and hit it with some finishing salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
I picked up an extra filet from the grocery store as well, which I cooked the same way. This was mainly as extra meat, in case we didn’t have enough, and also as a control group to compare the meat quality from a nice grocery store cut against Pat LaFrieda. The cut I picked from Morton Williams looked nicely marbled and it was reasonably thick for just under $12.
When comparing the filet side of the LaFrieda porterhouse to the grocery store filet, the LaFrieda steak was hands down WAY better. There is no question about it. That 60-day dry-aging process really infuses an incredible amount of flavor into the meat.
If you are a beef lover, then Pat LaFrieda cuts are the way to go. In fact, one of my friends cooks up Pat LaFrieda steaks every Friday, and he calls it “LaFrieda Fridays.” HA!
For the rib eye, I went with a traditional cast iron skillet sear with maple bacon fat and herbs, and then I finished it in the oven. I let it rest, and then sliced that up and served it on a salt block, also with a drizzle of truffle oil.
Unfortunately for me, the temperature jumped from 120 to 145 WAY faster than it was climbing while going from 68 to 120. I turned around to snap pics of the porterhouse and BOOM. The steak went beyond medium rare. Lesson learned. In any event, it was still incredibly delicious at medium. The fat cap was heavenly!
To go with these steaks, I roasted some bulbs of garlic for slathering onto the meat and grilled some lemons.
I put together a nice side of roasted mushrooms and onions, sauteed broccolini (got to have something green I guess), and made a big bowl of tater tots.
But no meal at Johnny Prime’s Food Research Lab would be complete without a dessert by The Cake Dealer!
The inside of the cupcakes were marbled vanilla and red velvet, which was perfect to represent the marbling of good prime beef!
Or it was just because Valentine’s Day is right around the corner…
Oh and by the way, here are the foodies that came by. Check out their profiles for pics of the feast, if you have a chance:
I decided to go bonkers this year on Superbowl Sunday with some Omaha Steaks tenderloin cuts that my wife and I received as a gift from her father. It had been a while since I used my sous vide machine, so I knew I wanted to use that.
I also figured this would be a good time to bust out the Searzall again, since the cuts were only about an inch thick, and, fearing a blasphemous overcooking, I didn’t want to put them in a pan to get that coveted sear on the outside.
Nothing new there. I’ve given you recipes for that before. The ringer here, for this meal I envisioned, was the Bitterman Salt Co. Himalayan salt block that I had chilling in my freezer. I keep it cold for serving sliced sashimi and raw fish items, but I thought it might be nice for medium rare, seared, thin-sliced tenderloin as well.
Essentially, I cooked the steak to rare at 130 degrees in the sous vide machine, right from the sealed Omaha Steaks bags (no seasoning beforehand). Then I popped the steaks into an ice bath to cool them down quickly and halt the cooking process. I know that the Searzall can continue to cook the steak’s interior with prolonged exposure, so I wanted them rare when they came out of the sous vide machine.
After blasting them with the Searzall, I had a good crisp on the outside and a perfect medium rare pink on the inside. Then I sliced them on the salt block, using that as a serving platter. I finished them off with a drizzle of Trader Joe’s black truffle oil, a few cranks of fresh cracked black pepper, and some ground sea salt.
Check out the video demo that I posted on youtube:
And some photos of the finished product:
It was a great, cool-temperature, lean beef dish that really packed a delicious flavor profile. The truffle oil was a great way to bring out the earthy flavors from the steak. Simple but robust. Try it at home!
This is a pretty simple and healthy recipe for getting your beef on. The first thing you need to do is procure some spices.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground star anise
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground Szechuan peppercorns
The above spices can be substituted with the same amount (2 & 1/2 teaspoons) of Chinese Five Spice, if you have it.
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Brown a pound of ground beef in a pan, the same way you would for something like tacos, and strain off any excess liquids and fat. Add in the spices and continue browning until the beef is fully cooked and the spices are evenly distributed across the meat.
Scoop out portions of the beef into Bibb or Iceberg lettuce. Drizzle on some toasted sesame oil, sprinkle on some sesame seeds, and top with fresh cilantro, sliced fresh scallions and crispy fried shallots or onions. Then shove it into your mouth and eat it.
If ground beef isn’t your thing, you can use this as a spice rub for grilling or searing steaks as well. Just make sure you coat the steaks generously with the spices first.
Every food-oriented website out there, whether it’s Eater, Grub Street, Thrillist or what have you, has their own version of “The Ultimate Guide for Cooking a Steak,” or whatever it may be. Many of them do offer good information, but they’re almost all incomplete. They set you up with one method for one cut of meat. This piece will serve as a place where you can get instructions for cooking several different cuts of steak via several methods. Let’s get right to it.
This is probably the method that most people are familiar and comfortable with. Since it is actually my least favorite way to cook one of the four major cuts, I will discuss it first, up front, with the caveat that I do actually prefer grilled skirt steak to any other cut that’s done on the grill. That said, there are some significant pros and cons for grilling. Depending on what you want out of your steak eating experience, you should take these into consideration before deciding if this is the right method for you. What time of year is it? Summer, winter? Are you grilling over charcoal or propane?
Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Grilling: Skirt, Flank, Hanger
Familiar and comfortable to most home cooks
No smells or smoke indoors
Can easily cook many steaks at once
Fat, flavor and juices fall through the grill bars
Can be difficult to control heat levels
Lowered ability to sear evenly
Grilling is perfect for outdoor cooking in the warm months, and especially for large groups of people. You don’t get any lingering smells in your home, and you can enjoy the day like a good American, beer in hand as you cook. Since I like a good even sear across the entire cut of meat, I generally don’t like cooking the four major cuts of beef in this manner. Generally I go for skirt or flank, something that benefits from a good, fast blast of heat; something where I don’t mind if I lose a little fat or juice through the grill bars; and something cheap that can be sliced up and served family style. Charcoal is a tough medium to master. Some people are experts at creating and maintaining even heat levels for a cooking session. Others use propane. This is easier, cleaner, and more convenient, but you lose some of that desired charcoal and smoke flavor unless you’re adding soaked wood chips to the grill as you cook. If grilling is right for you, then read on below.
Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
Crank up your grill to as high as it will possibly get.
Season the skirt/flank generously with salt and pepper.
Grill the meat with the grill top open. Do not poke, prod, press or move the meat once it is set down on the grill bars. Allow the bars to create nice markings on your meat.
After a few minutes, flip once and repeat the previous step.
Use a meat thermometer or the “hand test” to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the grill at 135F.
Let the steak rest for a few minutes on an elevated and porous surface, like a metal baking rack. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more while off the flames, and it will retain more juices during the next step.
Slice against the grain of the meat, or “against the bias,” and serve.
This is probably my favorite method for cooking steak. I always try to use a cast iron skillet, as they just work better for creating that crusty sear that we have all come to know as steak lovers. If you can’t get your hands on one, then a standard pan will do.
Smoke smell can permeate the home, set off smoke detectors
Pan cleanup can be annoying
Large pan needed for big or multiple cuts
Cast iron not ideal for glass electric cook tops
Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
Crank up your burner to as high as it will possibly get, and heat up the pan with a small amount of butter.
Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
Sear the shit out of your steak, and add a wad of butter to melt in the pan. Throw in some rosemary and garlic too, if you like. Do not poke, prod, press or move the meat once it is set down. Allow the meat to stick to the pan a bit, with as much of the bottom surface touching the pan as possible.
Spoon the melted butter over the top as the meat cooks, basting it in flavor.
After a few minutes, flip the cut with tongs and do the same thing of the other side of the steak.
Once both sides are seared, then you should also sear the edges if you are working with a thick-cut steak. Anything over an inch and a half should get a little side sear if possible.
Use a meat thermometer or the “hand test” to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the pan at 135F.
Let the steak rest for a few minutes on an elevated and porous surface, like a metal baking rack. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more while out of the pan, and it will retain more juices.
Alternative Instructions From Step 8 Onward
This secondary step is helpful if you have a very thick cut of steak, and a good, hard sear is all you can really get from the pan without overcooking. You want your meat to be pink from top to bottom, with no “grey band” in sight. To achieve this on thick cuts, lots of people will put the steak into the oven at a low temperature, like 250-300F, to allow the internal temperature to come up to medium rare once the pan-searing steps (1-7) are complete. Here, a meat thermometer is key to ensure that your meat is cooked to the proper temperature inside.
This is very similar to searing with an oven finish, like above, only done in the reverse order.
Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Reverse Searing: Thick Cuts of Filet Mignon, Strip, Porterhouse, Rib Eye
Even sear across entire steak
Juices stay put
Slightly more difficult to execute than a simple sear
Multiple cooking steps and waiting
Here, the first step is to cook your steak in the oven at a low temperature, like 250-300F, to allow the internal temperature to come up to rare or medium rare. Again, use a meat thermometer to ensure accuracy. Once that step is done, the steak gets finished in the hot searing pan with butter. This will form the desired crust on your steak. You just have to be careful not to overcook your steak in the pan as you are trying to get that crust to form. I recommend allowing your steak to cool down to room temperature before searing it off, and/or getting that pan screaming hot before you put the steak in.
Generally speaking, broiling means that the heat source is coming from above the meat and close to the meat. Contrast with baking, which means that the heat source is below and more diffused or distant from the meat. Broiling a steak gives you more direct exposure to the heat source than baking, whether it’s an open flame (gas oven) or the heating element (electric). While not as direct as, say, touching a hot pan, broiling is better for cooking traditional cuts of steaks than baking, because you can get a charred outer crust easier and still get the inside of the meat to the desired temperature. Baking is better suited for roasting meats, since the heat source is often diffused a bit by the oven bottom when baking.
Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Broiling: Thick Cut Bone-In Porterhouse, Thick Cut Bone-In Rib Eye, Bone-In Tenderloin, Bone-In Strip, Large T-Bone
Why the bones, you ask? When cooking with “surrounding” heat, like roasting or broiling in an enclosed oven, bones are very effective at radiating heat into the center of the meat tissue. This method, therefore, also makes large/thick cuts easier to work with.
Cleaner, less smoke and permeating odors
Relatively easy to execute
Easier to get an evenly cooked center of your meat
Easy to overcook if not careful
Requires meat thermometer (puncturing meat is never good)
Harder to get the desired crust than other methods
Get your steak up to room temperature and pat it dry.
Set your oven to broil.
Season the steak generously with salt and pepper.
Bring your oven rack close to the heat source (near the top) and place steak in the oven in a shallow roasting pan that can catch any drippings.
Once the top crisps up a bit, flip the meat in the roasting pan to get the crust on the other side as well.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your steak is properly cooked to medium rare. Remove it from the oven at 135F.
Let the steak rest for a few minutes in the roasting pan. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more, and it will retain more juices.
Slice the major muscles off the bone, slice the muscle against the bias, and arrange the meat on a platter for serving.
Roasting is synonymous with low and slow diffused heat from a bottom source, or all around the meat, from all sides. This method is best suited for large hunks of meat that take a long time to cook down to the center, generally for serving many people.
Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Roasting: Standing Rib Rack Roast, Chateaubriand, Large Brisket
Great for large format dining
Easy to execute
Result is very juicy, tender and delicious
Takes a long time to finish
May require extensive carving
Generally lacks outer crust like a standard cut of steak
Many people like to brine their meats before roasting. While this is generally more common with pork roasts or fowl, some steps can be taken with beef to increase flavors. You can crush up some garlic and stuff it into your roast (flavor injectors), or rub it on the outside of the meat; you can rub it with rosemary or roast it on a bed of herbs; and you should season it generously with a multitude of spices. You want all those flavors to permeate deep into the meat, so massaging, rubbing and pushing into the meat is all recommended. If you use a flavor injector, I suggest getting a lot into one or a few injections, that way you don’t pierce the meat too many times.
Set your oven to a low bake temperature, like 350F.
Place your meat on a roasting pan to catch any drippings, and set it in the center/middle rack of your oven.
Place your meat thermometer into the center of the roast.
As the meat cooks, use a turkey baster to suck up liquids from the bottom of the roasting pan, and squirt it over the top of the roast occasionally. This will add some flavor to the outside and help to create a flavorful edge to the roast.
Remove it from the oven at 135F. Let the meat rest for a few minutes in the roasting pan. During this time the meat will continue to cook a bit more, but the resting phase will help the meat retain more juices for the next step.
Slice and carve for serving. Sliced roast beef pairs perfectly with both hot gravy and cold horseradish sauces (either cream-based or tomato-based).
Sous Vide means “under vacuum” in French. In this method of cooking, you are cooking your steaks in vacuum sealed bags by submerging them in a hot water bath to precisely the desired temperature, and then finishing them in a pan as a secondary step. This may sound like high tech restaurant science only kind of stuff, but there are items available in the consumer market to do this with great results at home.
Johnny’s Preferred Cuts for Sous Vide: Thick Cuts of Filet Mignon, Boneless Strip, Boneless Rib Eye, Bavette, Denver Cut/Blade Steak
Perfect internal temperature every time
No monitoring necessary
Easy to achieve success
Requires a special unit or item, a vacuum sealer and bags
Wait time can be lengthy
Still need to use a pan (or torch) to sear the outside
Lucky for you all, I’ve got a nice discussion of the sous vide cooking method here, with pretty pics and everything. In any case, here is the gist of it:
Season the steak however the you want. I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, garlic oil and crushed red pepper.
Place steak into vacuum seal bag and seal it up with some butter and herbs inside (rosemary is always nice).
If you’re a poor bastard and can’t afford a vacuum sealer, you can use ziplock bags. Place your meat into the bag and begin to submerge the bag into the water bath. Once you are all the way close to the zipper, zip it shut. The water surrounding the outside of the bag will push out all the air from inside. This is the poor man’s vacuum sealer. If you do this, you may want to put a smooth, clean rock in there too, just for good measure, to keep the meat from floating.
Set your temperature to however you like your steak cooked. I put mine at 135F for a nice medium rare. I’m dealing with grocery store meat here, people. Don’t give me any shit about that being too well done.
Wait about an hour or two. Don’t panic! You can’t overcook your steak in a sous vide bath. That’s the whole point of it!
Remove your steak from the water bath and let it cool back down to room temperature.
Re-season it a bit, if so desired.
Sear it. I use a Searzall, because why not? But you can easily just toss this baby into a real hot cast iron pan with some more butter and herbs to get that brown and crispy coating.
DIRECT FROM FROZEN
Some food scientist people were messing around and cooking strip steaks in a test kitchen; some cuts were thawed in a fridge overnight, and others were still frozen. The results stunned them. The steaks were cooked more evenly, with less “grey band” when cooked direct from frozen, and those steaks retained more juices (they lost less moisture during the cooking process). While they took longer to cook, they still browned at nearly the same rate as a thawed steak.
I think a major issue that home cooks with have here is that it may be difficult to prevent ice crystals to form on the outside of the meat during the freezing process. When cooking, these ice crystals will melt into water or sublimate into water vapor. At that point you are either boiling or steaming the bottom of your steak in the pan, which is bad. When doing that, you won’t ever achieve the crust that we carnivores all desire.
The scientists attempt to solve this problem by freezing the steaks in a special way at first, uncovered and flat. Once they’re frozen, they are then wrapped and bagged for storage. If you’re going to attempt this you will want to be very careful to replicate the freezing technique that the scientists utilized, to avoid excessive ice crystals from forming on the outside of the meat.
This method involves cooking in a pan that contains a good amount of oil. This is done to ensure that the nooks and crannies of the steak surfaces all get cooked the same amount, and it helps to displace any water that may melt out of ice crystals. Second, it also retains more heat, so you can bring the steak surface up to browning point faster, without overcooking any of the interview (which should still remain pretty cold since it is frozen). The result is less grey banding, and a more end-to-end pink steak interior.
You will still need to finish the steak in the oven, however, since the interior will likely be too rare or still frozen if you only use the pan.
In any event, here is my analysis:
Scientists’ Preferred Cuts for Frozen Steak Cooking: Strip
No waiting for steak to thaw or come to room temperature
Less meal planning needed ahead of time
Nice, even cook temp throughout
Difficult to avoid ice crystals
Complicated freezing technique
Still requires second step in the oven
Refer to this link and the embedded video below for proper steak preparation and cooking instructions.
DIRECT ON COALS
I haven’t tested this method out myself yet, so you’ll have to take this with a grain of salt, as above, with the “Direct from Frozen” method. My first exposure to this method was when I saw Alton Brown discuss it on his blog. I was intrigued enough to include it here, but since I no longer have the ability to cook often with real wood, I have never tested this out.
Alton’s Preferred Cut for Coal Cooking: Skirt
Covering in foil step essentially steams the meat
Potential for soot contamination
I think the best bet here is to just follow the directions from Master Alton, since he’s a culinary wizard, and I’m a mere apprentice. One thing I’m apprehensive about, which I noted in the “cons” section, is the part where Alton wraps the hot steak in foil. This means the meat will cook in steam. He then tosses it back into the juices. All of this makes me think “wet steak,” and that turns me off.
For more specific recipes, as opposed to these more general methods of cooking, check out my recipe page.