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Properly Grilled Steak

Beef tenderloin filets about 1.5” thick or New York strip steaks over 1” thick are good cuts for grilling, and about the right size for one person.

A good N.Y. steak has some fine marbling as well as trimmed fat along the edges which provides a good bit of the taste. Filets are leaner and require more butter treatment since they don’t have much fat.

A charcoal grill with a movable hood permits the proper burning of mesquite or hickory chips for flavor. Once there is a red hot bed of coals a few inches below a clean grill, without leaping flames, you are ready.

Some melted butter with chopped garlic in a cup, a long handle brush, and a long handle grill fork are essential.

The wood chips go on last, right before the steaks. It’s good to brush on a little butter on the down side of the steaks to reduce sticking to the grill. The hood is immediately covered for about four minutes to hold the thick smoke from the chips. Dry chips are good if the fire is not blazing, and water-soaked chips will smoke more before igniting in a hot fire.

Brush-on a little butter before turning the steaks over, and switch the outer with the inner ones. You can brush more butter on the edges to get a few flames, and add some chips for more smoke and fire. Close the hood for a short three minutes of smoke for the second side.

End with flames, and more butter to make sure the fat on the edges is crackling. Flip again if you start to char too much on a side. Get ‘em off quicker! They’re overdone! They keep on cooking after they’re off the grill, dummy! Brush-on some more butter/garlic and serve immediately.

The whole idea is to get both sides of the steaks flavored by smoke to seal the juices-in, and to get the fat edges crackled by flames, while keeping the center very red.

During cooking, the butter is used to raise flames and to help sizzle the outsides. It’s an old Danish idea to add butter on top just before serving.

Always undercook to medium rare, or the whole thing is absolutely a waste. You can always throw some back on the grill for another minute if anyone absolutely insists.

-Phi