Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Steak, A Man's Job

I forgot to post this while Linda was away, but usually when she's gone, I use the opportunity to try out some new things in the kitchen. This time was no exception and what I was trying out was Alton Brown's steak recipe from Good Eats. It's pretty simple and you can find it on the Food Network site, but here it is, in a nutshell.

1. Get your 1.5 inch thick steak up to room temperature. I know that when grilling, opinions on this differ with proponents saying that cold meat retains all the juices in the center, thereby making it easier to dry out the edges. I'm assuming that those opposed to it aren't so much opposed to it but they just don't think you should deep six the idea of a steak dinner just because you forgot to take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before dinner.
2. Open all the windows in your kitchen and turn on whatever fans you have in the place. Trust me.
3. Take your dry cast iron skillet and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. It's important that the pan be dry as the pan is going to get stinking hot which means you'll have some damn hot oil there when you put the meat in. It's important that the pan be cast iron as Teflon will start giving off toxic fumes over400 degrees. If you want to burn down you're house from flaming gobbets of teflon covered oil while you choke to death, I guess that's your prerogative.
4. Once the oven gets to about 400 degrees, cover the steak on both sides with canola oil, salt and pepper, in that order. Don't salt the meat too early or you'll dry it out.
5. When the oven gets to 500 degrees, take the pan out (use potholders), and put it on the range on high heat.
6. Put the steak in the pan and cook it for 30 seconds. Don't touch it while it's cooking.
7. Flip the steak and then cook it for another 30 seconds. Again, don't touch it.
8. Put the steak/pan combo in the 500 degree oven for 2 minutes.
9. Take the pan out, flip the steak and then put it back in for another 2 minutes.
10. Take the pan and steak out and let the steak rest for another 2 minutes. I took it out of the pan, but I guess it's your choice. If you really want a great tasting steak, place a pat of butter on the steak while it rests.

For a steak that's about an inch and a half thick, this gives you a very tasty, medium-rare steak. If you want your steak more well done, add a minute to each side while you're cooking. Presumably you could add two per side if you want it closer to well done. I prefer my steaks still kicking so I wouldn't know.

Once you're done, put it on a plate with a huge baked potato, take the plate and a beer, put both on a ghastly place mat and then sit down to watch Transformers: Animated. You'll end up with something like this:

Oh yeah. Check out all that rare, beefy goodness. The steak had been in the freezer for almost a year, so the parts that were more than rare were a bit chewy, but the rare parts were like butter. Butter I tell you, butter! Had the steak been fresh, I bet it could have stood up to a little more time in the oven and been just as good. The kitchen smoked up like a son of a bitch, so I'm serious when I mention the part about opening the windows.

Incidentally, the title of this post comes from some cookbook from the 50's Linda and I found. The basis of it is that cooking is woman's work, except for steak which is a man's job, presumably because men used to stalk giant, prehistoric cows on the fields of yore, slay them and then roast their succulent flesh over an open fire while the women-folk tended to the children. It was pretty dang funny despite being horribly off base. I mean they forgot ribs. Ribs are a man's job too.

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