Grilled To Perfection

Dust off the grill, because Memorial Day marks the beginning of weeks of outdoor eating.

It makes no difference if you're big city or country living, The Early Show resident chef Bobby Flay says just about everything you want to eat can be grilled.

Using New York City's diverse cultural dishes as his inspiration, Flay's fifth cookbook, "Bobby Flay's Boy Gets Grill," is stuffed with over 125 recipes for grill-able delights. On Wednesday's The Early Show Flay demonstrates a few Memorial Day-perfect recipes from the book.

Flay says unlike barbecue (which is low and slow), grilling (cooking over charcoal or gas) generates high heat that sears meat and cooks it quickly.

The chef recommends the following equipment when grilling:
  • A Gas or Charcoal Grill: gas is easier to control temperature; charcoal gives a great smoky flavor (never use lighter fluid)

  • Pair of Regular Kitchen Size Tongs (wide metal spatulas): Avoid using extra-long tongs.

  • Brushes: A good paintbrush is a lot cheaper, but a pastry brush is best for grilling.

  • Workspace: Ample room to prepare things is key.

  • The Right Recipes: Flay says to use fresh ingredients, and experiment with seasonings.

For the fire, Flay says leave enough time to get the grill going and get it hot enough. The gas grills take 15 minutes to pre-heat. The charcoal, once bright orange, should be dumped into the grill then left for another 5 minutes before any food is put on.

Each recipe in "Boy Gets Grill" tells you how hot the grill should be. One can gauge using the scale below for how long a hand can be held comfortably over the heated grate:

High: 2 Counts
Medium-High: 4 Counts
Medium: 6 Counts
Medium-Low: 8 Counts
Low: 10 Counts

How do you know when it's done?
  • Don't start testing the food the minute you put it on the heat.
  • Don't cut into your food to see if it's done.
  • The best way to test the food is by pressing on it with your finger.
  • As meat cooks, it becomes firmer and firmer to the touch.
  • Meat and whole birds should "rest" off the heat for at least a few minutes before you slice or serve them.
  • When in doubt, it's better to undercook than over cook.

Flay says choosing a great steak is about two things: flavor and texture. Buy from a butcher whenever possible. Also, avoid prepackaged meat in plastic trays (the whole point to aging a steak is to dry it out, to let the flavors concentrate and improve the texture) Plastic turns the meat wet and swampy. Flay says the best meat is USDA Prime-grade or Certified Black Angus. For maximum juice, look for fine steaks with marbling throughout and a nice thick layer around the outside (it keeps the edges from drying out).

The following are Flay's favorite steaks:
  • Ribeye: Flay says this steak is great for summer. The crowd pleaser, he explains, is perfect for spice rubs and spicy barbecue sauces.

  • Porterhouse: This is the most expensive steak. You get flavorful sirloin on one side and butter soft filet on the other. Flay often holds the spices and just rubs a little butter on the meat instead. He cooks it medium-rare only.

  • Shell Steak and Strip Steak: This steak is from the same cut as the porterhouse, just a little smaller and boneless. It is well marbled and less pricey. Flay says shell steak and strip steak are great for steak salads.

  • Filet Mignon: This steak is fabulous for elegant presentations. Flay, however, uses an extra heavy hand with the seasonings.

  • Flank Steak, Skirt Steak and Hanger Steak: All provide pure beef flavor, and just about anything can be done with them; Flay generally marinates these cuts with powerful flavors like soy, red wine, garlic, ginger and chiles, so they even taste better.

Recipes

Porterhouse Steak With Fra Diavolo BBQ Sauce And Cherry Peppers In Vinaigrette
Serves 4

Fra Diavolo BBQ Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 cups canned plum tomatoes, pureed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 porterhouse steaks, about 1 1/2-inches thick

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened, about 35 to 40 minutes.

Heat grill to high. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill, on one side, until crusty and slightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn steaks over, close the hood and continue grilling for 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Baste with the sauce during the last few minutes. Remove from the grill and brush with more of the sauce. Let meat rest for 5 minutes, then slice into 1/4-inch thick slices and top with the cherry pepper-tomato salad..

Cherry Pepper-Tomato in Vinaigrette
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 pound cherry peppers, stemmed, seeded and roasted until soft or roasted red peppers if cherry peppers are to spicy for your liking
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Whisk together vinegar, garlic and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Add the peppers, tomatoes and parsley and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning and let sit 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.

Coffee Spice Rubbed Ribeye with Smoky Red Chile Tomato Relish and Texas Toast
Serves: 4

Coffee Rub
1/4 cup ancho chile powder
1/4 cup finely ground espresso
2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons chile de arbol powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid. Can be made well in advance and stored in a cool, dark place.

Smoky Red Chile Tomato Relish
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup pure olive oil
2 teaspoons chipotle pepper puree
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together vinegar, oil and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.

Texas Toast
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 loaf Pullman bread, sliced into 1 1/2 -inch thick slices

In a food processor, mix together butter and garlic until combined and season with salt and pepper. Grill bread on both sides until lightly golden brown. Remove the bread from the grill and spread one side of each slice with a few tablespoons of the garlic butter.

Ribeye
2 bone-in or boneless ribeye steaks (2-inches thick, approximately 1 ½ pounds each)
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup coffee rub

Preheat grill to high. Season each side of the steak liberally with salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the coffee rub onto one side of each steak. Grill the steak, rub-side down until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the steak over, then move the steaks to a cooler spot on the grill, close the cover and grill to medium-rare doneness, about 10 to 12 minutes longer. Serve with Smokey Tomato Relish on top.

10 Grilled Quesadilla with Sliced Steak, Blue Cheese and Watercress
Serves: 4

Twelve 6-inch flour tortillas
one 12-ounce strip steak, grilled to desired doneness, thinly sliced
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
6 ounces watercress, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
canola oil

Heat grill to high. Place 8 tortillas on a flat work surface. Top each of the tortillas with 1/4 cup of the Monterey cheese and top that with a few tablespoons of the blue cheese. Divide the sliced steak, onion and watercress among the tortillas, season with salt and pepper then combine the tortillas to make four-2 layer quesadillas and top with the remaining tortillas.

Brush the tops of the tortillas with oil and grill the quesadillas, oil-side down until golden brown, brush the top side with oil and carefully turn the quesadillas over, close the cover and continue to grill for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Black Pepper Crusted Grilled Shell Steaks With Mint Chimichurri
Serves: 4

Chimichurri
2 cups fresh mint leaves
1 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 serrano chiles, grilled, peeled, chopped
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine mint, parsley, cilantro, garlic, chiles, honey and mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the sauce to a medium bowl.

Grilled Steak
4 NY Strip steaks, about 12 ounces each
kosher salt
coarsely cracked black pepper

Preheat grill to high. Remove steaks from the refrigerator 20 minutes before grilling. Season steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on one side until charred and crusted, turn over and continue grilling for 5 to 6 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Remove from grill, let rest 10 minutes and serve with the chimichurri on the side or slather on top.
  • Rome Neal

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