How many ways do we love to cook steaks, here at Turner & George? Well, let us count the ways.
Direct over wood or charcoal is always a good route. Dirty and straight onto searing coals is even better. But a cast iron pan, on a high heat in the kitchen, is also a decent bet. So long as you flip frequently, and add a bit of butter here and there. Be sure to open a window though. Not many of us have an industrial ventilation system at home. Sous vide? Yeah, why not. Although going to all that effort, to vac-pac and then slowly cook over hours and hours, to ensure tenderness does seem like a bit of a faff.
Once, a member of T&G, who shall not be named, advocated putting a steak under the red element of an electric grill in the oven. As close as humanly possible. We think they just liked crouching on their hinds and staring at the surface of the steak; watching as it hypnotically bubbled, crisped up and then eventually got burnt. It's all swings and roundabouts really.
Coming back to the 'slowly does it' approach with steak, there is technique that is still fairly nifty. Which allows a certain degree of R&R during cooking, and helps to inject some extra flavour. The procedure in question is known as the 'reverse sear.' If you haven't tried it out yet, you should definitely give a whirl. Don't just take it from us though. Here is what BBQ supremo, Bill Gardner, has got to say about it.
Listen to him. We did. Because if we didn't, 'someone' would still be crouched down in front of their NEFF.
'The reverse sear can be used for large thick steaks and is a great method for producing an even cook throughout the depth of the meat whilst also getting a great flame cooked crust on your steaks. Essentially the steak is slowly smoked to bring it up to an even internal temperature, then seared quickly over high heat to produce the classic steak crust to finish.'
- Take the steak out of the fridge, half an hour to an hour, before you are ready to cook. Set your BBQ or smoker up for an indirect cook at 110 - 120°C. Good smoking woods are cherry or alder.
- Just before starting to cook, put a very light coating of oil over the steak and season heavily with sea salt, paying attention to the seasoning the fat as well.
- Monitor the internal temperature of the steak with a probe, looking for 50°C, which will take between 45 to 60 minutes to achieve.
- Once to temperature, take the steak off the smokers and wrap tightly in two layers of heavy foil, whilst the BBQ comes up to searing temperature. Set the BBQ to temperature of 250 - 300°C direct, for searing. I used a sweet chestnut charcoal in this cook, which is a great classic flavoured grilling wood. The steak will maintain temperature wrapped in the foil or may raise by a few degrees.
- Once to the BBQ is up to temperature, unwrap the steak from the foil and place on the hot grill, turning every minute or so, until you have the level of crust required. Not forgetting to place on the edge to crisp up the fat. The searing stage will raise the internal temperature of the meat by 5 - 7°C.
- Cut the steak along the bone, then cut across in thick slices. Season the slices to serve.
- This recipe will produce an even, medium-rare steak. Vary this up or down to your personal taste, using say 48°C in the smoking stage and 54°C after searing, for a steak finished rare.