Posted by johngl
Along with the run of Copper River salmon that made its way to my fridge, a couple of Choice-Grade steer parts moseyed on by as well. I don’t know how my refrigerator does it; one day it’s catching fish in Alaska, the next day, it’s in rounding up cows in Iowa.
Magic I tell you. Pure magic.
So, to get this party started, one first has to prepare one’s meat. This is an exceptionally simple process once the beef part makes it’s way to your fridge. It’s odd to think that Farm to Fridge is WAY harder than Fridge to Gullet. As much whining as people do about cooking you’d think they’d actually participated in producing the darn thing. What still amazes me is that I can purchase these beautiful pieces of Choice-Grade beef flesh for a mere $7/lb.
Before I go off on a rant, I’ll reel myself in and show you a picture.
All I did was open the fridge and pull these out. I call them Most Glorious T-Bones because my belovéd spousal unit got them from the purveyor and transported them to the fridge. That’s how she added value to the dish: making it available for me to prepare.
Do you see how lovely these are? That rich dark red color of dry-aged meat comes from taking them out of the packaging, patting them dry, applying a light layer of kosher salt, then putting them on that rack and popping them back in the fridge for two days. That isn’t so hard, is it?
Stage two of this incredibly simple cooking process is to allow these now dry-aged steaks the benefit of coming up to room temperature.
While I (thankfully) don’t keep my house at 65°F, it’s “room temperature” enough to properly grill a steak. As home cooks it is our duty not to fuck shit up. You’d be amazed at how many people can’t navigate that statement let alone follow it’s meaning. You know, lots of people have gone to a lot of trouble to get that steak to a point where it can rest comfortably in a properly chilled environment until you are ready to actually consume it. It is our duty to do the best we can with it. I’ve said it a thousand times: DO NOT grill a steak that comes right out of a 34°F fridge! Apply some seasonings and let them rest a while.
Thus far, time-wise, I’ve invested about 5 minutes in unwrapping, patting dry, applying salt and putting them back in the fridge. It took another 30 seconds to take them out of the fridge (two days later) and let them sit on the counter for a couple of hours. It took another 3 minutes to brush them down with olive oil, apply some fresh ground pepper, and sprinkle on a little more salt. Total time investment: 8 minutes, 30 seconds.
I’ll leave the steaks for a minute and jump to the potatoes.
These didn’t take a lot of time either. I walked to the wine cellar, selected three potatoes (Russet Burbanks), peeled them, quartered them (lenghtwise), dropped them in a bowl, and applied olive oil and salt. That all took less than five minutes.
I set my toaster oven to “roast” at 400°F, popped in the potatoes and set about getting the charcoal started for the steaks.
After 30 minutes, the potatoes were ready for some additional seasoning and the grill was ready for steaks!
The hot potatoes went into a stainless steel bowl where I drizzled more olive oil upon them. I also added some fresh-chopped sage, a bit of salt, and a sprinkling of dried basil, dried onion, and dried garlic (whirled into a fine powder by a machine). I then put them back on the tray, turned down the oven to 350°F and went out to spend 8 minutes grilling the steak. Time elapsed for this bit of tater tending was about two minutes.
If you are keeping track, I’ve got about seven minutes invested in the potatoes and eight and a half minutes in the steaks.
Yet again, the formula for grilling properly prepped 1-1/2″ thick steaks using a 22.5 inch Weber Kettle™ fitted with a custom-made 3/16″ solid steel grate and using 50 Kingsford Competition charcoal briquets (allowed to fire-up for 30 minutes) is:
1. Put steaks on the grill. Cover the grill with the lid vents fully opened. Wait two minutes.
2. Remove lid, rotate steaks 90°. Replace lid. Wait two minutes.
3. Remove lid, flip steaks, replace lid. Wait two minutes.
4. Remove lid, rotate steaks 90°. Replace lid. Close top vents. Wait two minutes.
Now really, how hard is that to follow?
By the time you get back in the house, plate the steaks and the potatoes (which you’ve removed from the toaster oven), poured the wine and sat your whiny butt down, another two minutes (maybe three) will have elapsed.
There’s a total of 16.5 minutes of your actual time invested in the steaks. The potatoes add another seven minutes. Total time you actually spent doing anything is 23.5 minutes. Throw in a couple of minutes to plate the food and pour the wine, we’re looking at right around 25.5 minutes.
It’s not magic. Make it happen.