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Barbecue Secrets

Recipes of the week: A couple of simple, delicious beef steaks

Jun 26, 2015

Steak, Italian-Style

Makes 4 servings

Sometimes the simplest treatments are the best ones when you’re grilling a steak.

     4 well-marbled T-bone steaks, at least 1 inch | 2.5 cm thick
     kosher or Maldon salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
     dried Greek oregano leaves
     best-quality extra virgin olive oil
     lemon wedges
     1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and dried

Bring the steaks to room temperature by leaving them out of the fridge for an hour. Season them generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

Drizzle them lightly with olive oil. Prepare your grill for direct medium heat.

Grill the steaks 4–6 minutes per side, or until they’re done the way you and your guests like them (I recommend taking the steak off the heat when the meat springs back slightly when poked, which is when it reaches an internal temperature of about 125˚F | 51˚C). Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest, tented in foil, 4–5 minutes.

Make a little bed of arugula on each plate and put the steaks on top. Crumble a little oregano on each steak, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with a little more salt and freshly ground pepper. Garnish it with lemon wedges. The juice and oil from the steak and the squeeze of lemon will create a fabulous natural dressing for the slightly bitter arugula.

Lemony Herbed Flank Steak

This dish uses a lemony vinaigrette to marinate the steak as well as to dress it. The clean, simple flavors make for a perfect summer meal. Serve it with some boiled nugget potatoes tossed with butter and fresh dill and some grilled asparagus.

Makes 4 servings

     1 large flank or skirt steak
     (about 11/2 to 2 lb | 750 g to 1 kg)
     kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the marinade/dressing:
     1/2 cup | 125 mL lemon-infused olive oil
     1 Tbsp | 15 mL finely grated lemon zest
     3 Tbsp | 45 mL white balsamic vinegar
     1 Tbsp | 15 mL Dijon mustard
     2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
     ½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, and parsley work well)
     kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the garnish:
     sprigs of fresh herbs
     lemon wedges

Place the flank steak in a baking dish and season both sides with salt and pepper. Let it come up to room temperature for about half an hour.

Combine the marinade/dressing ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly whisk them together. Divide the mixture in half, and set aside one half for finishing the dish.

Coat the steak with the remaining half of the mixture. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and marinate it for 2 hours or overnight.

Prepare your grill for high direct heat. Remove the steak from the marinade and pat it dry. Place the steak on the cooking grate and grill it on high for 30 seconds per side, just enough to get some nice grill marks on the meat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook it, turning it once or twice, for about 4–6 minutes per side, or until the thickest part of the steak has an internal temperature of 125°F | 52°C. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest, loosely tented in foil, for 5–10 minutes.

To serve the steak, carve it across the grain into thin slices and arrange the slices on plates. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and spoon on some of the reserved dressing. Garnish with lemon wedges and herb sprigs.

How to  Feel When A  Steak is Done

Most barbecue cooks use meat thermometers to carefully monitor the internal temperature of big cuts of meat, but for most purposes, you can easily tell whether a steak or chicken breast is done simply by applying pressure to it with your forefinger. If the meat does not spring back, it’s still pretty raw. If it has a soft springiness, it’s medium rare and ready to take off the grill. If you press it and it feels firm and stiff, it’s overdone.

Here’s a great way to learn these hand readings. Hold your left hand in front of your chest, palm side down. Touch the meaty area between your thumb and forefinger. That’s what rare meat feels like. Now, extend your fingers so they are evenly spread out in the universal “stop right there” sign. Press the same place and you’ll find out what medium rare meat should feel like. Now make a fist and press again. That’s well done, and if your meat feels like this you should make use of the fist you just made and punch yourself in the forehead.