What culinary mainstay bonds the legendary cuisine of places as diverse as Montreal, Buenos Aires and Omaha? A juicy, sizzling steak. Ribeye, sirloin, T-bone, filet mignon, skirt, medium rare, well done, dry-aged, marinaded, rubbed, grilled, broiled... Where's a home cook to start?
Let Fiesta take some of the guess work out of the process:
1.) What kind of steak should you select? If you're looking for classic juiciness, ribeyes are sure to please: they're a slightly fattier cut compared to other steaks. In contrast, if you'd prefer a leaner steak, then a selection with less marbling (visible fat), such as top sirloin, may be a more suitable choice.
The Beef Checkoff/National Cattlemen's Beef Association has helpful guidelines in the selection process:
"Premium steaks, such as strip (top loin), T-Bone, Porterhouse, ribeye, rib and tenderloin, usually have a higher price per pound, but you can also find tender steaks that are a good choice for family meals such as ranch (shoulder center), top sirloin, flat iron (shoulder top blade), chuck eye and round tip. Less-tender steaks are from the more exercised fore- and hindquarters of the animal and benefit most from moist-heat cooking. These cuts include full-cut round, eye round and bottom round; chuck shoulder, chuck 7-Bone, chuck arm and chuck blade; flank and skirt. Some of these less tender cuts, including top round steak, may be cooked with dry heat after tenderizing in a marinade."
When in doubt, ask the Meat Department Manager at your favorite Fiesta store: The knowledgeable manager will gladly help you make the choice that's right for you.
2.) Once you've made your selection, then choose the best cooking style and preparation.
In general, you'll probably pan-fry, grill or broil the steak, using appropriate seasonings/tenderizers. For example, a skirt steak, which is commonly used for fajitas, may require tenderizing by using a good marinade before you put the steak on the grill, whereas a bit of pepper and salt (added at the end/after cooking) will suit a broiled ribeye just fine.
If the recipe you're using is unclear -- or if you're just winging it -- feel free to ask a Fiesta Meat Department Manager, or refer to the Recipe Corner.
3.) Safety first! "Grilling" & "Texas" go together like beans & rice, peanut butter & jelly, yin & yang... You get the idea.
Texas weather is notoriously unpredictable, so be prepared to do the grilling indoors with a proper indoor grilling appliance, if necessary. Also, watch your cooking temperature: too high, and the steak will be overcooked on the outside and barely rare on the inside.
Get a good meat thermometer and refer to the following temperature guidelines:
Rare: 120° - 125°
Medium-rare: 130° - 135°
Medium: 140° - 145°
Medium-well: 150° - 155°
Well done: 160° and above
In terms of the basics, that's pretty much it. Go forth, grill and be merry: You will enjoy the rewards for your endeavors -- and so will your hungry friends!