February 26th, 2010

Steak Gear: Ready For the Weekend!

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It’s time for the weekend and this just might be the perfect way to get in the spirit . . .

The guys over at CafePress.com have such a funny selection of steak-inspired clothing.

You didn’t know there was such a thing, did ya? See? We learn something new every day!

Happy, happy weekend!! May it be filled with steak . . .

Photo courtesy of CafePress.com.

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February 24th, 2010

Steaks From a Tiny Urban Kitchen

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I don’t live in the middle of a bustling city. I live in the ‘burbs. So the unique circumstances that occur when living in an apartment building with 200 neighbors is somewhat of an enigma to me.

The ‘burbs have other issues, believe me. But trying to cook what is sometimes a smoky meal must not be easy when you have upstairs and downstairs neighbors to think about.

Here, our bud Jen over at TinyUrbanKitchen.com gives us some keen insight into cooking a fantastically seared steak in your tiny urban kitchen — or, heck, even your tiny SUBurban kitchen!

Enjoy…

Oven to Pan Seared Prime Ribeye Steaks

Ingredients

2-ribeye steaks (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches thick)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

1 T vegetable oil

Step 1: Preheat oven to 275 degrees and adjust oven rack to middle position. Dry the steaks with a paper towel and cut the 16-oz steaks in half to make 2 8-oz steaks (still same thickness!). Generously sprinkle the steaks on both sides with sea salt and pepper. (Ideally the steaks would be at or close to room temperature)

Step 2: If the steaks are not even thicknesses, try to press down on the thicker steaks to bring all the steaks to a uniform thickness, if possible.

Step 3: Put the steaks on a wired rack set in a rimmed baking sheet. Since I did not have a wired rack, I just cleaned one of my oven racks, placed the steaks directly on top, and put a rimme

Step 4: Bake the steaks at 275 degrees until they reach an internal temperature of 90-95 degrees (rare or medium rare) or 100-105 degrees (medium). It took my steaks about 14 minutes to reach 90 degrees (it started at around 50 degrees).

This slow baking at a low temperature allows enzymes in the meat (cathepsins) to break down connective fibers, making the meat super tender. It’s sort of like dry aging at turbo speeds in the oven. This enzyme only works at temperatures below 140 degrees, which is why hot broiling the steaks for a short amount of time does not cause this tenderizing effect. In our case, we have slowly baked and “aged” the steak in the oven under low heat for 15 minutes (or longer, if you like medium steaks!)

You can use an instant read thermometer. I used this cool thermometer which beeps at you when your desired temperature is reached. You stick the probe in the meat and then the unit sits outside. I picked up this Taylor one at Target for only $20 (the one at Williams-Sonoma was $50!). It worked like a charm.d cookie sheet right below the rack with the steaks to collect any drippings.

When you take the steaks out, they will look a little scary, but don’t worry! We will sear them and then they will be beautiful!

Step 5: Heat your cast-iron grill pan (or aluminum grill pan) to high heat with vegetable oil until the oil is smoking. Quickly put the steaks onto the grill. Cook for 1.5 – 2 minutes on one side (lifting the steak halfway to re-distribute the fat), and then flip and cook another 2 – 2.5 min on the other side. Warning, this is where there will be smoke. Open windows and vent as necessary!

Step 6: Let steaks rest on rack while you do the next step.

Step 7: Pick up two steaks, put them side by side with tongs, and sear all sides of the steak to lock in the juices!

Step 8: Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes loosely tented with foil (important! don’t eat them right away!)

Step 9: Serve!

Photo and recipe courtesy of TinyUrbanKitchen.com.

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February 23rd, 2010

Olympians Eat Steak – I Should Too!

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So, if the world’s most elite athletes are eating steak to aid in their training, I – as a mother of two scrappy young boys – must also consume steak due to my strenuous daily activity. I’ve got to keep in tip-top shape.

So goes my train of thought.

It’s valid. It’s airtight reasoning, okay? Don’t step on my mojo.

Apolo Ohno wouldn’t.

This cool article gives us a glimpse into the Olympic Villagers’ world and what they eat to keep their bodies running at high capacity. Of course you know that steak is on the menu, but check out what else they offer.

USA! USA!

Photo courtesy of GrahamWatanabe.com.

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February 19th, 2010

Beer Steak!

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Looking for something to satisfy your friends while you gather around the tube to watch your favorite team?

How ’bout steak? How ’bout beer? How ’bout both?

These guys in this video are awesome. They’ll show you step-by-step how to put together Bud Light Golden Wheat Beer Steak.

So get out your crockpot and get crackin’!

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February 16th, 2010

Top 10 Steak Grilling Tips

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Top 10 Steak Grilling Tips (From a Real-Live Chef!)

If you think grilling a steak is as simple as slapping a piece of meat you bought at the supermarket on a grill and flipping it a few times, you’re missing out on what could be THE GREATEST STEAK OF YOUR LIFE.

Here are some grilling tips from an honest-to-goodness chef that’ll make your next steak meal your finest work ever.

1. Choose the right cut of meat — Some cuts of meat are better for grilling than others. I, personally, prefer to grill strip steaks over other cuts because you get a nice combination of fat and meat for a great flavor. Filet mignon, on the other hand, I prefer to pan sear because it is so lean and I can add fat and flavors in the pan.  Experiment!  Ultimately, no one can tell you what you like, you have to find it for yourself.  Here are the pros and cons of each cut:

2. Choose the right quality of meat — Nothing ruins a good steak dinner like a bad steak. A lot of places sell poor quality meat, so make sure you choose a reputable supplier so you know you are getting your money’s worth.  I always find premium quality steaks online.  By law, all meats are inspected for wholesomeness so no one is selling you meat that will kill you, but grading is a voluntary system.  Meats are graded on several categories, including the marbling of fat and the amount of connective tissue.  Sure, it may be fit to eat but do you want to eat it?  Prime is the highest quality, followed by choice and select.  Choice meats are very high quality steaks and the most common steak used in the restaurant industry. Here are a few pointers to track down the perfect quality & cut of steak:

  • Get to know your butcher, call and ask when they receive orders
  • Special order cuts you know you want
  • Ask them to cut meat just for you (you’d be surprised what they will do for you)
  • Order just the grade that you want
  • Ask how long they keep their steaks if they don’t sell them

3. Season early — You should salt your meat even before you start your coals. If you throw salt on right before you put it on the grill you end up leaving salt all over the grill, not on your steak. So season your steaks about fifteen minutes before you put them on the grill. That gives the salt a chance to dissolve and evenly flavor your meat.  Sea salt is all the rage now and chefs like to fancy up a plate by using specialty salts like Hawaiian Pink Salt or Fleur de Sel. Sometimes a little good salt is all that a steak needs.

4. Take ‘em out early — Let your steaks sit on the counter for at least twenty minutes. I know it doesn’t seem sanitary, but since steaks are whole muscles and you are cooking the outside well above safe levels, you won’t need to worry so much about food-borne illness. The problem with throwing your steaks on the grill right out of the refrigerator is that it will take them a lot longer to cook. Steaks at room temperature take seasoning better and will cook faster. Unfortunately, meat takes time to cook and if you are in too much of a hurry to cook it you are probably in too much of a hurry to really enjoy it.  Take your time and learn to enjoy cooking your steak almost as much as eating it.

5. Use charcoal — Gas grills work great for cooking food but can sometimes impart a gas flavor to your meat. I like to use natural hardwood charcoal started in a chimney. Don’t use lighter fluid; it defeats the purpose of using hardwood charcoal.  You want to smell the steak roasting over the coals – that is the best part! Some people swear by mesquite soaked in apple juice others say you cook your steak too fast to get any benefit.  Wood chips can add flavor if you are smoking your meat but that usually takes a lot more time than it takes to grill a steak.  My recommendation is that if you are curious, play around see if you can taste and enjoy the difference.

6. Hot coals — Set your coals up so that you have zones of cooking. Always start off on a hot spot. You want good color and flavor from the high heat. When you flip it, don’t put it down on the same spot as before — it will be cooler. Find another hot spot to continue getting good color and flavor.

7. Don’t touch it! — This is one of the biggest mistakes a home cook makes. Everyone wants to keep checking the food to see if it is done. Leave it alone. Know how thick your steak is and roughly how long it takes to cook. Flip it once and give it a quarter turn once on each side. The more you touch it the better chance you have of screwing it up. Check out this grilling chart as a guide on how to cook steaks:

Grilling Chart courtesy of www.kansascitysteaks.com

8. Make it pretty — Use the hot grill to create “cross-hatch” grill marks. Set your steak down at a 45-degree angle from your grill lines. About a quarter of the way through cooking, give it a quarter turn. Half-way through cooking, flip it once. Give it a final quarter turn for the last bit of cooking. When finished you should have a steak that looks like it belongs on a commercial. This might not be the most important thing in your day, but if you’re on a first date or trying to impress then try this!

9. Leave it alone — There’s nothing worse than taking a beautiful steak and covering it with other flavors. Sauces, rubs and butters are fine but if I’m going to eat a steak I like to taste steak. If you are using a lesser cut of meat or poorer quality, marinades are a great tool. But we are talking steak here and all it needs is a little salt, pepper and some heat to cook over.  So refer to rule #2 and source and buy only good quality meat.

10. Make all your condiments early — One trap many people fall into when they grill meat is trying to cook the rest of the meal at the same time. Your kitchen is inside; your grill (if you are following tip #5) should be outside. Don’t try to run between the two. You will only end up ruining your steak or your side dish — or both. Plan your meal to get your extras done early so you can focus solely on your grilling. I mean, it deserves it, doesn’t it? I like a simple compound butter made of softened, unsalted butter, garlic, a little red wine and some cracked pepper. Mix it all together, (in a mixer, if you can, so it is smooth), roll it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge up to two weeks before you cook your steak. One pat on top of each steak can be a nice treat.

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February 15th, 2010

Steak — Presidents Love It

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It’s President’s Day and we all know that presidents LOVE steak.

Are you sure, you say? Where are you getting your information?

Well . . .

Here, I talked about past and present presidents chowing down on steak at important get-togethers.

And here, I talked about President Lincoln’s inaugural ball menu which included, what else? Steak and lots and lots of beef choices.

So, kids, wanna grow up to be big and strong like our president? Then it stands to reason that all Americans should enjoy their favorite steak today in honor of our nation’s presidents — and those who will one day hold that office.

And, yes, a leftover slice of filet from your Valentine’s Day dinner counts. Do it for your country!

Happy President’s Day!

Photo courtesy Seth Perlman/AP.

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February 12th, 2010

V-Day Steak, Here I Come!

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Well, friends, can you guess what I will be dining on this Valentine’s Day?

Okay, you guessed it.

But, though you mock me, I will still immensely enjoy my very predictable, very delicious, steak dinner.

It’s love to me.

What are you doing to celebrate this day of amour? I hope it involves steak.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Photo courtesy of Delish.com.

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February 11th, 2010

A Steak Gift For Your Sweetie

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Still looking for that perfect gift for your Valentine?

Give him/her this awesome T-shirt that at first glance looks like a heart, but upon closer inspection is really a steak!

Or, better yet, YOU wear this T-shirt while cooking a steak dinner for your honey.

Who wouldn’t be impressed by the forethought and kindness expressed by that???

Let me know what YOU are doing for your sweetie!

Photo courtesy of CafePress.com.

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February 9th, 2010

Valentine’s Recipe: Strawberry Steak Salad

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What? Strawberry Steak Salad, you say?

Yes, it sounds a bit odd to me. But wait ’til you see this baby. The red hue of the strawberries and the delicious steak makes this, quite possibly, the perfect Valentine’s Day meal.

Your sweetie will love it — and you!

So go ahead, try it!

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February 5th, 2010

Super Bowl: Steak Vs. Shrimp

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Super Bowl is THIS SUNDAY.

And even our beloved steak is getting into the act in the form of a friendly wager.

Check out this article from TheTownTalk.com:

Latest Super Bowl wager: La. shrimp vs. Indiana steak

The latest Super Bowl wager pits La. shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico against prime Indiana steak.

The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints will square off in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Congressmen Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana and Dan Burton of Indiana decided to bet each other on the winner.

If the Colts win, Cao will ship five pounds of Louisiana Gulf shrimp to Indianapolis. If the Saints win, Burton will ship five pounds of prime Indiana steak to New Orleans.

The representatives offered the following remarks after shaking hands:

“The Saints’ motto all season has been ‘Finish Strong,’ and I expect that is exactly what they’ll do this Sunday in Miami. Congressman Burton, on behalf of the Who Dat Nation, we like our steaks medium rare,” Cao said.

“I very much look forward to enjoying some Louisiana Gulf shrimp,” said Rep. Burton as he purchased cocktail sauce, “and I’m really appreciative to Congressman Cao for offering to supplement our victory party with this dish. Go, Colts!”

Photo courtesy of Travel Channel via Nola.com.

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February 4th, 2010

6 Belt-Busting Steak Challenges

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Think you can hang with the big boys?

Here are 6 steak challenges you can try if you’ve got frequent flier miles, some stretchy pants and a HUGE appetite.

Luckily, though, for most of them, if you complete the challenge your meal is free! Bonus!

6)  72 Oz. World Famous Big Texan

4.5 lbs (72 oz)

~5,400 calories

The Big Texan Steak Ranch – Amarillo, Texas

In 1960, Bob Lee opened The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo Texas on Route 66. Shortly after, the “free if you can eat it” steak challenge came to life.

Since then, tens of thousands people from around the world have traveled to Amarillo and attempted to eat the 72-oz. sirloin steak & sides. Do it under 60 minutes and the meal is free. Fail and you pay $72.

Some have succeeded; many have failed.

In March 2008, American competitive eater,  Joseph Chestnut , finished the meal in under 9 minutes!

Some things that weigh about the same:

  • Steel toe work boots
  • A cat
  • A Macbook
  • 4.5 pounds of feathers

(Image via Big Texan)

5)  72 Oz Steak Challenge at The Lone Star

4.5 lbs (72 oz)

~5,400 calories

The Lone Star – Toronto, Canada

The Lone Star in Toronto also has a 72-oz. steak challenge. Eat the sirloin with all the trimmings in under 1 hour and it’s free. Fail and you pay $54.99.

The staff at the Lone Star reports that around 10% of the people who attempt the steak challenge are able to finish it. A recent winner provided the following suggestions:

  • Train ahead of time – try to eat a lot of the same thing in one sitting.
  • On the day of, eat as light as possible, but make sure you eat little things throughout the day so your stomach doesn’t shrink.
  • Cut the steak from one side only to keep as much moisture in as possible. If the steak is dry it will be harder to chew.
  • Order rare (easier to chew.)
  • 1 hour goes by fast – don’t stop chewing!

(Image via Gghpt.com)

4)  76 Oz. Steak Challenge at J & R’s Steak House

4.75 lbs (76 oz)

~5,700 calories

J & R’s Steak House – 6 Locations in New York

Moving up in weight classes, J & R’s steak challenge weighs in at just less than 5 pounds. A clay brick weighs about 5lbs.   Finish 76 oz. of steak in under an hour and it’s free. You also get your name on the Wall of Fame and a T-Shirt. Lose and you pay $59.99.

Boss “Hog” Calhoun (pictured below) has finished the challenge 4 times!

(Images via J and R’s Steakhouse)

3)  80 oz. Thorny’s Steak Challenge

5 lbs (80 oz)

~6,000 calories

Thorny’s – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Weighing in at the equivalent of a 5-lb. bag of sugar, Throny’s in Myrtle Beach takes our 3rd position. Eighty ounces of sirloin beef plus a baked potato, roll and salad must all be consumed in 60 minutes. Do that, and the meal is free. Fail and you pay $70.

Throny’s in Myrtle Beach is conveniently located a few blocks from some major tourist attractions including the beach, Ripleys Aquarium and less than 2 miles from Myrtle Waves Waterpark.  After you’re done downing your 80 oz. of beef you could go for a swim – just be sure to wait 30 minutes, errr umm, maybe 30 days.

(Image via The Sun News)

2)  96 Oz. Kelsey’s 6 Pound Challenge

6 lbs (96 oz)

~7,200 calories

Kelsey’s – Valparaiso, Indiana

  • 96-oz. Top Sirloin Steak
  • Potato
  • Small House Salad or Soup
  • 1 Slice of Bread

Six pounds! To help put that into perspective, a child’s bowling ball weighs 6 pounds. If you can eat it all in one hour your dinner is FREE. Fail and you pay $42.95.

About 10 people a year attempt the challenge. Over the past 23 years only 5 people have succeeded. The latest winner did so in 52 minutes. He said, “I never tried to do anything like it before. I’m not a massive eater…It was cut and chew, cut and chew, cut and chew.”

(Image via Kelsey’s Steakhouse)

1)  120 Oz. Gregory’s Steakhouse

7.5 lbs (120 oz)

~9,000 calories

Gregory’s Steakhouse – Allentown, Pennsylvania

Weighing in at the equivalent of 2 ½ phone books – Gregory’s Steakhouse in Allentown, Pennsylvania, takes number one with a whopping 7.5 lbs. of ribeye. That’s about 9,000 belt-busting calories!

There’s no time limit and if you conquer the steak, you not only get a free meal, you also get your picture on the wall.  According to Gregory’s staff, several people have finished the giant steak, but no official timed eating record has been established. It’s rumored that back in 1992 a kid finished the steak. Competitive eater, Joey Chestnut (who also holds the 72-oz. Big Texan speed record) did it at only 8 years old!

(Image via Flickr.com)

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February 1st, 2010

Fennel-Rubbed Flank Steak With Grilled Oranges

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Oh, tasty.

That citrusy flavor mixed with garlic, black pepper, fennel — and, of course — steak!

What a combo!

These gorgeous oranges not only provide amazing flavor and juiciness, but they’ll earn you an A+ for presentation.

Here’s what you’ll need for this outstanding recipe:

Ingredients:

1 flank steak (about 2 pounds)

1 tbl fennel seeds

2 tbl black pepper

2 tsp salt

3 oranges

2 tbl olive oil

4 sprigs rosemary

4 cloves garlic

cayenne pepper to taste

This recipe says flank steak, but you know you can use skirt steak, too, right? It’ll just cook faster so be careful.

Click here for a video presentation that will show you all the steps to impress your guests with this one!

Photos and recipe courtesy of FoodWishes.blogspot.com.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Dena P., and I love steak. In fact, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect steak for a few years now.

I love experimenting with food and I like to get my family, friends and neighbors involved. They add a lot to my cooking experience by helping me perfect techniques and sharing recipes.

Read More About Me »

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