It’s time for a challenge… A steak challenge.
A Good Grief That’s Good Steak Challenge. We know you’re feeling intimidated. Who are we kidding, everyone’s intimidated by steak.
Don’t worry, we’ve done our homework and are ready to arm you with all the tricks necessary to tackle grilling good steak. Now your secret dream of becoming a steak maven is just a charcoal grill away!
First, what are the premium grass-fed steak cuts and what makes them so “fancy”? The most tender steak cuts come from the rib (Ribeye) and the loin (T-Bone, Filet Mignon, Porterhouse, NY Strip, Top Sirloin). These cuts are tender and wildly delicious, with distinct characteristics.
The simplest, most commonly heard distinction made between grass-fed and corn-fed meat is grass-fed steak is leaner. The real difference lies in the fact that Farmer Girl steers live active and healthy lives, garnering true muscle integrity in the meat.
This is wildly different from feedlot animals, which get little or no exercise, resulting in more flaccid cuts.
This does not mean that grass-fed steaks are less tender.
On the contrary, handled with care, grass-fed meat is wonderfully tender. A diet of seasonal and regional grasses means that Farmer Girl steaks will have deeper and varying flavors. Just as coffee varies by region and climate, so will our grass-fed steaks.
Deeply rich flavors that can only come from giving our steer what they were meant to eat… grass. Thus, the trick to cooking a delicious grass-fed steak is to work with the variability and take advantage of that beautiful muscle quality.
Up for the challenge yet? We treat our steaks as tenderly in the kitchen or on the grill as we treat our animals in the fields.
Searing over high heat creates a pleasant light steak crust yet preserves the steak’s natural tenderness. Finishing at a much lower temperature allows the naturally-occurring sugars to caramelize on the surface, while preventing the muscle fibers from contracting too quickly. Often times, tough steak (both grass-fed and corn-fed) results from over-exposure to high heat, which causes the muscle fibers to contract tightly, making them chewy and dry. Nobody wants that.
8 Steps to Grilling Fancy Steak
Serving Size: 1 to 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
1.) Bring to room temperature.Take your steak out of the refrigerator half an hour before cooking, depending on how thick your steak is. A cold steak will cool off the grill and the key to a perfectly-seared steak is cooking it at a high temperature for a short period of time. The colder the steak is when it hits the grill, the longer the steak will take to cook. And now we know that more time spent over high heat can lead to a tougher steak. No thank you! .
2.) Season. Pat steak dry with paper towels. Generously sprinkle steaks with Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper.
3.) Heat your grill. To get a good, quick sear, allow plenty of time for the grill to get hot. High heat cooks faster and the less time your steak cooks, the more tender it will be. Another reason we want high heat is that it’s the only way to produce the Maillard reaction, which is the chemical process responsible for forming that flavorful brown crust on the exterior of a steak.
4.) Oil grill grates. Since grass-fed steaks are leaner, they are more likely to stick to the grill or pan. Brush some oil on the grates prior to grilling. Doing so prevents the steaks from sticking to the grill and provides a bit of moisture.
5.) Sear over high heat. To develop that flavorful crust, sear your steak over direct heat. Flip the steak when it releases from the grill grates ~approximately three minutes. Flip and sear the other side.
5.) Cook over low heat. After the quick sear, move the steak off the direct heat and to the other side of your grill with no flame or hot coals. This gently cooks the steak to the desired internal temperature. Depending on your level of preferred doneness (we strongly recommend medium rare), let your steak cook for another three to five minutes. REMEMBER – carryover cooking will raise the temperature another five degrees after the steak is removed from heat!! (Don’t overcook! You can always throw that steak back on the grill for a minute or two, but there is no invention that takes your well done steak and transports it back to medium rare. Trust us. We’ve looked.)
7.) Rest. Let your perfectly cooked steak rest for five to 10 minutes before slicing. Carryover cooking brings the steak to the desired finish and allows the juices to redistribute throughout the steak.
8.) Slice against the grain. If you cut with your knife parallel to the grain, you end up with long muscle fibers that are tough for your teeth to break through. Slicing thinly against the grain, however, delivers very short pieces of muscle fiber that are barely held together and ensures the tenderness you have worked so hard to retain. So there you have it. Farmer Girl’s tips to grilling the perfect steak. Just follow these steps and enjoy those once-intimidating fancy steaks to your heart’s content!
There you have it! Now you know the Farmer Girl’s secret to grilling fancy steaks!