photo by legat33

Make yours the talk of the neighborhood with these tips

Ah, the sizzle and smell of a steak on the grill on a sultry summer eve … Make yours the talk of the neighborhood this year with these tips from Jim Smailer, head chef at Boulder Cork. He knows a thing or two about grilling a great piece of meat.

Start with quality meat. Chef Jim’s recommendation: Ask your butcher for center cuts of USDA Prime beef. Any butcher in his right mind knows exactly what that is. Don’t just walk into the butcher and say, “I want four NY strips.” Hint: Chateaubriand is one of the most desirable steaks—that’s a center cut.

Next, look for visual clues as to the quality of the cut. You’re looking for a cut that’s at least 1 to 1½ inches thick, since a thicker cut will be juicier and less likely to get dried out during the cooking process. And make sure it has plenty of marbling—thin white threads of fat running through the meat. You want fat in your steak because that’s what keeps it moist and tender during cooking and gives it wonderful flavor. Better-quality cuts will have evenly distributed threads of fat throughout the cut rather than denser chunks of fat.

Let your steak warm to room temperature, then just add a little salt—really good quality salt—right before you’re ready to throw it on the grill. Brush some olive oil on the grill before you toss your steak on. Don’t keep flipping your steak all the time; let the steak cook, especially that first side. When it’s cooked to your liking, take your steak from the grill and let it rest. If you have the time and patience, give it 8 to 12 minutes to rest—believe me, it will do wonders for flavor and texture. The steak will re-absorb some of the moisture lost during cooking if you give it a few minutes to rest.

Beginners should use a thermometer, and if you like your steak rare, take it off the grill at 124°F. A steak will continue to cook after you remove it from heat, so if you’re buying a $34-40 piece of meat, do yourself a favor and take it off at 124 degrees. Let it rest. Then if it’s still too rare, you can always throw it back on the grill.

Of course, if you just want someone else to make a perfect grilled steak dinner for you, stop by Boulder Cork. It’s perfection!

Boulder Cork, 3295 30th St., Boulder, 303-443-9505

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