Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pan Seared NY Strip w/Garlic Herb Butter

The local Kroger had bone-in strip steaks on sale really cheap. The problem with a great sale on steaks is that they usually aren't the top grade perfectly marbled steaks that you would prefer. I however found an interesting technique online that is intended to turn lesser quality steaks into juicy, tender, flavorful steaks. I have to say that I was extremely skeptical about the crazy marinading process, but it really works.

To paraphrase the article, you basically cover the entire steak generously in kosher salt and let it sit for an hour. What happens is the salt draws the moisture (water) out of the steak to the surface. You would think, (as I did), that this is a terrible idea. However, what happens is that some of the salt is dissolved and drawn back into the steak through osmosis. Now that the salt is inside the steak, it relaxes the proteins in the steak allowing them to trap liquefied fat and meat juice during cooking. Additionally the salt inside the steak will allow your steak to be perfectly seasoned all the way through, not just on the outside. After salting the steaks for an hour you wash the steaks, pat them completely dry and cook them. The additional water that you discard after salting does not help the steak because it is just water. Water does not add any flavor to the steak, it is the liquefied fat and meat juices that make it amazing.

To get the in depth explanation and instructions check out the recipe on this website:

I followed the salting process exactly. Since it is December and too cold and dark to fire up the grill, I decided to pan sear/broil the steaks as this is supposed to be the best way to trap all the juices in the steak. Here is the cooking method:

Place a cast iron skillet inside the oven and set it to 500 degF. WAITTTTTT, STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!! Don't do that yet because that is what I did and I ended up with this:

If you can't tell, that is actually a FIRE on the bottom of the oven that began to fill our house with smoke, which set off the fire alarms, which sent the dogs into a barking frenzy, ect... Not fun. So learn from my mistake and make sure your oven is very clean because 500 deg will easily ignite something that boiled over to the bottom of the oven that you did not know about.

Now that your oven is clean, place your cast iron skillet back into the oven and preheat it to 500. Once it is preheated, pull your skillet out and place it over a burner on high heat. Put a TBSP of peanut oil in the skillet and drop in your steaks that have been salted, washed, patted dry, and seasoned. Sear on each side for 30 seconds. Then transfer skillet back to the oven for 1.5 minutes. Flip and return to the oven for 1.5 minutes. Remove and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. This should result in a medium rare steak for a cut of meat that is about 1" thick. Change cooking time based on the thickness of the cut and based on the desired doneness.

The steak was perfectly salted all the way through, very juicy and tender, and more flavorful than any steak that I have ever had, that I did not pay an arm and a leg for. I served it with creamed spinach, steamed zucchini, and topped with garlic herb butter (the butter recipe is at the same link as the steak salting process).

(PS. That wierd log thing is the garlic herb butter. It looks wierd, but it tasted amazing on the steak and zucchini)

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