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Outdoor grilling is a staple for summer cooking. While most men love to take the reigns, more and more women are getting their grill on. For those who are a bit shy with the metal tongs while maneuvering a grill, we have some tips so that anyone can master the art of grilling. Chef Jerrett Joslin of Texas steakhouse, The Wild Mushroom, has prepared some expert tips to teach novices how to be experts on the grill.
“It’s all about being confident and have a few basic tools and tricks up your sleeve. Once you know the basics, anyone can master the grill,” notes Joslin. Below is his guide to grilling:
1. It all begins – and ends – with the beef. USDA prime, grain-fed aged beef is the best of the best. Unmatched for taste and tenderness, it features superior marbling—the fat speckled throughout the meat that gives the steak its great flavor. Marbling is a primary indicator of a steak’s quality.
2. But since only 2% of all beef is good enough to be graded USDA prime, it’s always in short supply. So if you can’t find prime beef at your butcher or supermarket, which is often the case, the next best grade is choice. When you buy choice, be sure to look for cuts with abundant marbling.
3. Size Does Matter! In grilling, all steaks are not equal. Thickness is very important. Steaks at least 1” to 1½” thick are best for grilling. Their marbling and thickness make ribeye, New York strip, porterhouse and T-bone steaks ideal for grilling. They are all flavorful, but the steaks with a bone, such as porterhouse and T-bone, have even more flavor. The thicker cuts can sear on the outside and still not be overdone inside. While a thinner cut, anything under an inch, is likely to dry out on the grill.
4. Bring ‘em in from out of the cold. Steaks should be at room temperature before grilling.
5. It’s got to be hot! Pre-heat the grill to 600-800 degrees and keep it at that temperature for 30 to 45 minutes before putting the steaks on. It’s during the first few minutes of grilling that the high temperature sears the meat, forming the coating that seals in those tasty juices In fact, Morton’s chefs agree that high direct heat is almost as important as the meat itself.
6. Stick a fork in it? Never!! Always use tongs or a spatula to turn over a steak during grilling. And resist the temptation to use a fork to test the steak for doneness as its being grilled. A fork will pierce the meat and allow the juices to seep out. Sticking a fork (or a meat thermometer) into a steak during grilling is almost like testing an egg by breaking it open while it’s being boiled.
7. Medium or rare? A done deal. it’s all in the palm of your hand:
• For a rare steak: Squeeze the pad at the base of your thumb. It should feel spongy and offer very little resistance.
• For a medium steak: Press on the middle of the palm of your outstretched hand. It should feel firm and snap back quickly.
• For a well-done steak: Squeeze the base off your small finger. It should feel very firm, with almost no give. However, Morton’s chefs strongly advise against cooking beyond medium, noting that doing so is likely to dry out the meat and rob it of its flavor and tenderness.
8. One good turn…is enough! After you put your steak on the grill, don’t turn it over before at least five minutes of grilling have elapsed on one side. Turning too soon can prevent searing from taking place. The steak should be seared on one side, then turned, seared on the other side and allowed to cook to the preferred doneness.
9. Won’t let go? If the steak sticks to the surface when you’re trying to turn it over, stop trying. It’s a sure sign that it needs more searing on that side. Give it more time.
10. Choosing the grill of your dreams. Here are some tips on selecting, operating and maintaining your grill: Gas vs. charcoal:
• Gas grills have higher fuel economy, are easy to start, have instant flames, are easier to clean (just brush the grill), there’s no messy charcoal to dispose of and turning a dial will regulate and maintain a desired temperature.
• Charcoal grills impart a distinctive smoky flavor many prefer, especially when mesquite is used, and produce a higher temperature for faster searing. But, there is that used charcoal to take care of.
• The best of all possible grills? Some models now on the market combine gas and charcoal grills in one unit. Many are made of stainless steel, making them durable and easy to maintain.
About The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse
Since opening its doors in 2009, The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse (www.thewildmushroomrestaurant.com) has been a dining destination for locals and tourists alike. Co-owned by John Shepherd and Chef Jerrett Joslin (An Award of Excellence Winner from Wine Spectator), the duo boast nearly two decades of experience in the restaurant industry and have mastered the task of offering delicious, upscale cuisine in an intimate atmosphere for a one-of-a-kind experience. The restaurant showcases an ever-changing menu that combines astonishing creativity with gourmet classics as well as a plethora of cutting-edge cooking techniques. In addition to receiving awards for their Prime Rib, Mac N Cheese and Chilean Sea Bass, the steakhouse was also listed as “Worth the Drive” by Fort Worth Magazine. The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse is located at 1917 Martin Drive in Weatherford, Texas and can be reached at (817) 599-4935. Find them on Facebook at “The Wild Mushroom Steakhouse & Lounge.”
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