If you are a carnivore, like me, meat is an important and well-loved part of your diet. There are many, many methods for cooking meat and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. Among these are steaming, boiling, slow-cooking, stir frying, sauteing, poaching, roasting, broiling, pressure cooking, deep frying and my personal favorite; grilling! These can all be further organized under two major categories, moist heat or dry heat.
Whatever method you choose, it should be suited to the particular cut of meat you are cooking. Less tender cuts of meat require moist heat to break down the tough connective tissues over a long, slow time. More tender cuts of meat, i.e. steaks, are best suited to dry intense heat like that provided by your barbeque grill.
Whenever grilling is done, you need to determine the optimal internal temperature you are aiming for and use a good quality meat thermometer. Steaks, in particular, benefit from cooking with the grill lid closed and flipping the meat once, about half-way through the process. Every time you open the lid, heat escapes, prolonging the time it takes to cook your meat, rendering it chewier.
I was once invited to a cookout over at my Uncle Joe’s camp in Potter County. His then son-in-law assumed the duties of “grill-master” for the afternoon. His preferred method of incinerating some very expensive steaks, was to heat the grill on high while he finished a couple of beers, then continuously dousing the meat with the beer he was drinking, all the while with the lid up. This precipitated heavy black smoke and flame flare-ups. The finished product was charcoaled on the outside and candy red on the inside – and as my mother used to say, “tougher than shoe leather!” It wasn’t the worst steak I’ve ever eaten, but it was in the top three!
To properly cook an expensive steak, you do pre-heat the grill to it’s highest point first. Then place the meat right over the “searing station” if so equipped. Cook for two minutes then sear the other side as well. Searing seals in the delicious juices making for a much tastier end result. I cook the steaks for 2-3 minutes per side, then move them off the direct heat over to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking indirectly. Here’s where a thermometer is key. Medium is 145°F, well done is 160°F and rare is 125°F. There are multiple levels of doneness in between these so find out what you prefer and cook it the same way every time!