The Perfect Steak

What better way to kick off the summer season than with pointers on how to grill the perfect steak? Tony Tammero, corporate chef of The Palm restaurants, explained to CBS News how to buy it and prepare it.
The best steak for grilling is a prime cut meat, because it's fattier. But since prime cuts are quite expensive, the best bet from the supermarket, especially when you're cooking for a large group, would be a choice cut such as New York strip or shell steak.

How to buy your steak:
  • Skip the prepackaged meat in the supermarkets. There's no way to know how long it's been packaged. At worst, dyes are sometimes injected into the meat to create the illusion of freshness.

  • Instead, ask the supermarket butcher to show you the choice cuts from the meat locker in the back. Pick a dark red, cranberry-colored meat with a lot of marbling in the center. The marbling is the fat in the meat. It burns off during cooking and provides the juice which allows the meat to baste from within and stay juicy.

  • The perfect size meat for grilling is 11 ounces with the bone out, and 14 ounces with the bone in.

Seasoning:
  • Set the steak out for an hour before cooking, so it will reach room temperature.
  • Rub olive oil on both sides.
  • Salt it, preferably with kosher salt.
  • Sprinkle it with black pepper, freshly ground from a pepper mill.

Nothing more is really needed. Why ruin a perfectly good piece of steak by adding steak sauce or ketchup? It's ready to grill.

How to grill it:

  • Start out with high heat, and grill the steak for three minutes on each side.

  • Transfer it to low heat and grill an additional two minutes on each side. This will yield a steak that is done medium well.

Grilling under high heat cooks the steak quickly on the outside and protects the juices by sealing them in. The cooler heat allows the steak to cook further on the inside without drying out.

Grilling over charcoal bricks:

The same rules apply.
  • Start out with the coals nice and hot. Then separate the bricks so there is a high heat area and a cooler area.
  • Cook three minutes on high heat on each side.
  • Then cook two minutes each side over the cooler coals.
  • If the meat starts to char too much, mist water over the coals to bring the temperature down.


Common Mistakes:

  • The biggest mistake is turning the meat too much. Turn it once on high and then once on low. Too much turning results in the loss of precious juices that give the meat its savory taste.

  • The second common mistake is overcooking. Steak cooked medium well at most will yield the greatest flavor.



Products featured in this on-air segment courtesy of Pottery Barn, Brookstone and Target Stores.

©1999, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments