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Latin Touch

Latin Touch Meat Guides Beef: Part Two

Posted by Chef Perry Perkins on

Latin Touch Meat Guides Beef: Part Two

~Chef Perry Perkins~

A hot juicy steak sizzling on the grill, crusted with salt, cooked to a perfect medium-rare, and properly rested...is there anything better?

No. No there’s not.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association suggest twenty-eight steaks or beef fillets that are best for live-fire grilling, in a wide variety of flavors textures, natural tenderness, and price-range.

Of these, my personal favorite to grill are, in order:

STRIP STEAK

Cut from the short-loin, strip is commonly referred to as a New York strip, it’s also known as a Kansas City strip, top loin, Delmonico, or shell steak, depending on where you find it. My favorite cut for flavor, when I just want a nice, thick steak.

SKIRT STEAK

Cut from the diaphragm, this boneless cut is often marinated before grilling; slice it thinly across the grain for tenderness.

My favorite for sandwiches, tacos, fajitas, etc.

HANGER STEAK

Also called the Butcher’s steak, or hanging tender. Sear quickly, slice thinly across the grain for tenderness.

Choosing your Steak

Marbling

Marbling refers to the amount of fat distributed within the meat, and it’s your best indicator of beef quality. Marbling are the squiggly white lines running through the muscle fibers, NOT the large chunks of white fat (also known as gristle).

The more squiggles, the more flavor, and the more tender your steak!

Color

Your beef should be a heathy, bright (but not unnatural) red in color, with bright white fat. Also, there should be little or no odor to the meat.

Tips for Prepping Your Steaks

  • Like all red meats, you want to bring steaks to room temperature before cooking.
  • Rub both side of the steak generously with coarse sea-salt about 10 minutes before grilling. Salt dries the surface of the meat to help create that beautiful crusty exterior (wet meat, won’t brown).
  • DO NOT add pepper or other herbs or spices before grilling. These burn over high heat, and create a bitter after taste. Add additional spices just after it comes off the heat, before resting.
  • Start your steaks over direct heat. No more than 2-3 inches from the coals. Grill 3-5 minutes per side to char the exterior.
  • When properly seared, move your steak to indirect heat*. Cook over indirect heat, covered, until desired doneness is reached.

Chef’s Tip: If your steak is stuck to the grill, leave it alone. Once perfectly crusted, the grill will “let go” of the meat. Don’t force it!

Term (French) Description Temperature range
Extra-rare (bleu) deep red, cold in center 115–120 °F
Rare (saignant) red cool center; soft 125–130 °F
Medium rare (à point) warm pink center; firmer 140–150 °F

I prefer my steak somewhere between rare and medium rare, and I won't cook a steak beyond medium.

The cow is already dead, I see no point in killing it twice. ;)

To stave off the carnivorous lawyers, I need to mention, that the USDA recommends a minimum safe temperature of 145 °F.

Now you know…let the griller beware! ;)

Resting

Allow your steaks rest for at least five minutes. Contrary to popular belief, this is NOT to “redistribute the juices” but instead, as the temperature of the meat begins to drop from its maximum, the viscosity of the meat juices increases (think hot oil vs. cold oil in your car’s engine) until it’s thick enough to stay trapped in the muscle fibers, when cut.

Chef’s rule of thumb: An unrested steak is a ruined steak, the moment you cut into it.

Enjoy!

~Chef Perry


As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at ChefPerryPerkins.com


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