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Sunday, September 9, 2007

How To Cook The Perfect Steak

First, start out with a good cut of USDA "choice" or "prime" beef available at BJ'S, Costco or Sam's Club. Cut strip steaks or rib-eyes about 1 1/2 inches thick, and 2 1/2 inches for a filet mignon. Remove steaks from the frig for 1 to 2 hours before cooking and dry them with a paper towel. While the steaks are resting at room temperature, make a dry spice rub as follows: Combine 1/4 cup ancho chile powder, 1/4 cup finely ground espresso coffee beans, 2 tsp of sweet paprika, 2 tsp of dark brown sugar, 1 tsp of dry mustard, 1 tsp of salt,1 tsp of dried oregano, 1 tsp of ground corriander, 2 teaspoons of ground ginger in a bowl. This yeilds about 1 cup of dry rub which can be stored in a tight-lided jar in cool dry place. To omit the dry rub, you can just rub 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt for each side of the steak. To use the rub, omit the kosher salt. Apply the rub or the salt just before you're ready to start cooking. Pre heat the oven at 400 degrees with a rack set in the middle. If cooking outside, pre-heat the grill on high. Then heat a heavy cast iron skillet over medium high heat. The skillet will be ready when a few drops of water evaporate in 3 seconds. Then coat the bottom of the pan with 2 teaspoons of grapeseed or canola oil. Place the steaks in the pan or on the grill for 2 minutes on each side, flipping ONLY once using TONGS. Do not use a fork! During the searing, there will be some smoke. But the steaks are not burning. Its just smoke from the spice rub. If cooking outside, sear each side of the steak on the hottest part of the grill for 2 minutes on each side. Flip only ONCE using TONGS. While still in the pan, transfer the steaks to the oven and roast for 8 to 9 minutes on a 1 1/2 inch steak for medium rare. Transfer the steaks to a cooler part of the grill if cooking outside. Continue cooking for 8 or 9 minutes. An instant read thermometer will register about 125 to 130 degrees. When done, transfer the steaks with tongs and wrap them in a tent of aluminum foil. Then let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.