Father’s Day is the perfect time to show Dad just how much you appreciate him. Of all the Father’s Day gifts you could get him, what he’s most likely to remember best may be that big, delicious steak meal cooked on the grill. And what could be more Paleo than meat and fire????
Cooking well over fire takes some skill, but mastering those techniques will give you a special seat of honour from those you are cooking for. Before you throw on that delicious piece of meat consider a few of these barbecue tips.
The Right Barbecue
Different types of barbecues serve different purposes and produce different results. If you meal happens to include buying the barbecue for dad to use later, there are some things to consider
For those who grill on a regular basis (that would probably mean more than once a week) a gas grill is probably your best choice. They fire up quickly and you can get multiple grilling sessions off of a single propane tank.
Kettle Style Grills
For the traditionalists who like to keep things as simple and pure as possible, a standard kettle charcoal grill is a great option. These iconic grills require a bit more work to get started, but once you fire up those coals, you will develop a whole new appreciation for the art and allure of grilling. Due to their simple construction, these grills are also the most affordable.
Kamado (Egg Style) Grills
Those who like to 'go big or go home', the kamado style grill is worth exploring. These grills look like big ceramic eggs. Their unique shape and heat retention properties make them the perfect tool for both grilling and smoking.
It may sound basic but there are two crucial things your burner needs if you want to barbecue great food. The first thing is, charcoal is best. There is nothing wrong with a gas barbecue, but it will fail to produce any extra smoky flavour. From a flavor perspective, you might as well be cooking in the oven. The second thing you need is a lid. It locks in flavour, keeps the temperature constant and can be used as an extra technique.
Once you have your own grill, take the time to read the instruction manual, set it up, and fuel it appropriately (lump charcoal or gas). If you purchased a kamado or kettle style grill, you will need to have a chimney starter. This simple device will allow you to start your coals with newspaper rather than lighter fluid and is an indispensable grilling tool.
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Choosing Your Steak
Meat from grass fed cows not only tastes better but is also much better for your health. Grass fed cows get to roam around freely, eat what nature intended them to eat, grow at normal rate, and as a result stay healthy with no need for antibiotics or hormones. Studies reveal that the nutrition profile of grass-fed beef includes significantly more omega-3 fatty acids and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. Grass-fed beef, one of the best protein foods around, is also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E and cancer-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. The meat contains a healthier ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acids and more nutrients in general.
For more on the benefits of eating meat, read on here
The quality of your steak is paramount, and I suggest a good grass-fed ribeye to start. Ribeye steaks come from the 'rib primal', a cut of beef near the upper rib cage. This part of the cow’s musculature is not overworked resulting in meat that is both nice and tender and well marbled with fat. This marbling gives a ribeye great flavor and also makes it harder to mess up. Other cuts you can use are T-bone, Porterhouse, Sirloin or Filet Mignon (the most tender and usually the most expensive cut by weight). There are other fabulous cheaper cuts for a great steak, use the best cut you can afford.
I have best results with a 'bone-in' steak that is at least 1” thick. Meat with bone in it always tastes better and, in my opinion, little is more stereotypically Paleo than gnawing on a big meaty bone!
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Grilling The Perfect Steak
Everyone has an opinion on how to make the best steak, there are numerous books, websites and restaurants dedicated to the art of cooking the perfect piece of meat. Today we will explore a tried and tested method that always yields the perfect steak and best reviews
Grilling the perfect steak takes patience and concentration, in that order. Flame-grilled is a very misleading term - you need to wait for the flames to die down. You want the coals white hot, which actually means grey and glowing. That’s when you will get the hottest and most even heat.
A barbecue, especially one fueled with coal, creates a caveman oven. You need to control the heat the same as you would when using an oven. The best way to test the heat is with your hand. Hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably without pain or severe discomfort.
- 6 seconds = low heat
- 4 seconds = medium heat
- 2 seconds = really high heat
- 0 seconds = way too hot
You also need to control the temperature across the grill. The easiest technique to get this right is the half and half: put all the coals to one side, so you have a really hot side and one with no direct heat.
Tempering means bringing the steak to room temperature. If you cook your steak straight out of the fridge, you will end up with either burnt outer edges and a raw middle or an entirely overcooked piece of meat. Rub the steaks with pepper and salt (or a steak rub if you prefer). Set aside on a plate for at least 20 minutes if it’s right out of the fridge. The salt will penetrate the beef and as you start cooking the meat, the juices will flow to the middle flavouring the meat inside. When you rest the meat, the juices flow back into the meat again, further developing the flavor of the beef.
When you buy a great cut of meat you want to show it off. Rub the ribeye with olive oil and sprinkle it generously with coarse ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. As you get more experienced, or for a different flavor you may consider marinating your meat, but for now, this simple seasoning will serve you, and your guests, the best. Most prime cuts of steak only need the basic salt and pepper seasoning. An elaborate use of spices would only hide their delicious flavor. Use fancy spice mixes and rubs when cooking tougher and less flavorful cuts of steak. Some people like to season their steak long before they cook it, but seasoning it just before is probably the most popular option. We recommend seasoning your steak a little earlier.
If you prefer, you can season your steaks with this mixture instead of the salt and pepper.
Simple Steak Rub:
In a small mason jar combine the following ingredients and mix thoroughly
- 2 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper or ancho chili powder
- 1 Tbsp high quality sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- ½ Tbsp. garlic salt
Sear & Rest
After your steak is seasoned and your grill is heated, the only thing left to do is to cook your meat. If using a kettle style grill, you want to wait until the flames have died down and your coals are nice and white with ash. If you are using a gas grill, you want the heat to be 'high', set around 400F.
Place your steaks directly over the coals or right on the grill and let them be. Steak can really be one of the simplest proteins to cook well. For medium-rare, the steaks should go for about 6-8 minutes per side. After the first 6-8 minutes are up, flip the steaks and let them cook for another 6-8 minutes. After that, remove the steaks from the grill, set them on a plate, and let them rest for about 10 minutes covered loosely with aluminum foil. This rest period is critical because it allows the juices in the steak to redistribute through the meat and will keep them from running out onto your plate as soon as you cut into it.
How Long To Grill For Your Optimal Done-ness
Medium Well – Well Done
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Once your dad bites into that perfectly seasoned, boldly beefy, and amazingly juicy steak he will be convinced of your grilling expertise and will savor every delicious bite of the perfect gift, made with love!