Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegetarians beware! All others, prepare to drool!

Grilled steaks in mid-December?

Hell, yes!

We have a remarkable and unusual concatenation of events here.  First, it's unseasonably warm for December -- today's high, 56 degrees.  Second, by a remarkable coincidence, the little oddball IGA nearby had whole ribeyes on sale for $3.99 a pound (the whole ribeyes on sale happens about every couple months there, although last time they were $4.99).

We bought a whole ribeye and cut it up -- part into a beautiful big roast, the rest into monster steaks almost 2" thick.  These were actually really great ribeyes, well marbled with a lot of fat.  And because it's so warm out, we decided to have Paul's infamous grilled steaks in the middle of December.

Now, let me put in a word here about Paul's steaks.  My husband is justly famous for his steaks.  I've literally never had a steak better than his.  We ate at the famous St. Elmo's here in Indianapolis and the steaks were no better than his (just a whole lot more expensive).  Everyone who knows Paul starts to salivate at the mention of his steaks.

We start with really thick steaks because Paul and I like our steaks on the rare end of medium rare -- heck, when asked how I like my steak, I usually say, "Just walk it through a warm room."  BUT we also like our steak nicely charred on the outside.  Hence, thick steaks.

Paul seasoned the steaks with his seasoning mix du jour -- it varies with his mood -- and drizzled them with a little olive oil while the grill heated up HOT.  When he put those babies on, the flames shot up high!  I cooked the veg while Paul put our steaks through the hellfire.  He later showed me his arm -- he'd managed to singe all the hair on his forearm!

Paul then called me out to gauge doneness, because even after years and years of cooking steaks, he can't tell when they're done.

For those of you who don't want to have to call the spouse to come over and check the steaks, here's an excellent tutorial on how to judge the doneness of your steak without poking disastrous, juice-leaking holes in it:

You want to take your steak off the grill a little bit before it's completely done to your liking, because it will continue to cook after you take it off.  The thicker the steak, the longer it will continue cooking.  Also, if you're like us and really like the outside a bit charred, that makes gauging the doneness a little more tricky, so there is something of an art to it, I'll admit.  At any rate, Paul has the knack of cooking steaks.  I have the knack of divining doneness.  We make a good team.

Put your steaks on a warmed platter and let them rest at least five minutes, ten if they're really thick.  This is crucial.  Let them rest undisturbed.  Otherwise, they won't finish cooking, and when you cut into them, the juices will leak out everywhere instead of remaining in the meat.

Paul's steaks today were perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  The pinnacle of steak perfection to which all steaks should aspire.  The outside was nicely charred, the inside was medium rare to rare, every juicy morsel tender and seasoned to eye-rolling deliciousness.  It's a common misconception that people on Atkins live on steaks, and today of all days I'd be pretty much okay with that.

As Paul would say, "Not bad for $3.99 a pound."

In a few days I'll try, TRY, to make a prime rib roast that measures up to those steaks (I'd really have preferred bone-in, but there you are), but I'm telling you, the memory of those steaks will have me drooling until the next warm spell.

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