The Perfect Steak for Saturday Night

Growing up with a professional Chef for a Dad, it probably comes as no surprise that I’ve always been surrounded by food and wine! Among my earliest memories are my dad’s legendary ‘Saturday Night Dinners.’ As a family tradition, these dinners gave my dad a creative outlet to continue his growth as a chef while connecting with close friends and family. Read: it was an excellent excuse to enjoy some truly unique and delicious bottles of wine!

Each Saturday morning, Dad would scour his favorite cookbooks (and later, blogs) to find new or unique recipes he wanted to learn to prepare. We’d spend our mornings visiting small markets in downtown Portland, or local produce stands in the countryside, to get the freshest ingredients. Then we’d return home, and my job as “sous chef” would begin.

These dinners were how I learned how to cook; from my dad. Preparation for these recipes typically took hours, and over the years this is how I learned a variety of techniques from knife work, to basic recipes, to sauce types – everything imaginable! But the most intimidating by far (and dad’s most requested meal for Saturday night) was steak. To me, steak was always a bit of a mystery – how do you marinate it? What does salt do? What role does marbling play? Most importantly…what if I accidentally ruined it?!

But soon as I tried our 2016 David’s Tableau Vivant, I knew I had to overcome my fear – this wine is too good! With subtle notes of espresso and dark cherry and an oh-so-smooth finish, I knew the time to learn to cook the perfect steak had come. So I asked my dad for his best practices and tips for the perfect steak, every time, and he delivered big time! I couldn’t be more excited to share them with you.

Chef Kevin’s perfect Saturday night steak.


Kevin’s ‘Common Denominators of a Great Steak’:

  • Steaks should be 1 ½  to 2 inches thick, and well marbled. I always say, you may only eat half, but the half you do eat will be juicy and flavorful!
  • Steak should be at room temperature prior to cooking – approximately one hour.
  • Make sure the surface is dry prior to cooking – this will ensure a great crust. Pat dry with paper towel.
  • Turn the steaks multiple times to make sure that you have even heat penetration.
  • Cook 5 to 10 degrees below desired level of doneness  
  • Rest 10 minutes – always! This is to redistribute juices and finish cooking to desired doneness.  
  • 500 degrees cooking temperature

Here are some examples of when to remove your steak from the heat to get the perfect doneness:

Doneness Cook Temp          Desired Doneness
Rare120 °F                           125 °F
Medium Rare125 °F                           130 °F
Medium130 °F                           135 °F
Medium Well135 °F                           145°F
Well145 °F                           150 °F


Now that we’ve got a grip on how to actually cook the steak (whether grilled or pan seared), Dad also uses three basic methods to treat his meat prior to cooking. He explained that each steak, based on its unique composition, will taste a little different, and he considers any of these cooking methods to be equal in quality – it just comes down to your preference!

Salt & Rest – Season liberally with salt and allow to rest for an 40 to 50 minutes. After about 5 minutes the salt (through osmosis) pulls moisture out of the steak. This creates a brine and then, after about 30 minutes, it will begin to reabsorb back into the steak. 

Home-Style Dry Aged  – Salted on both sides then allowed to rest on a rack overnight in the refrigerator, uncovered. It will look slightly dried out – don’t worry, this is normal. When cooked, the meat will be deeper in color and have a richer flavor.

Marinated – Soy Sauce and Lemon Pepper (salt –free). Pierce the steak a number of times with a fork (evenly distributed), then flip and do the same with the other side of the steak. Generously coat with Soy Sauce (this will create an element of salt) and liberally with Lemon Pepper. Let rest for one hour, then pat dry, sprinkle with Kosher Salt and cook.


Is anyone else’s mouth watering?! Time to get cooking! Dad (always looking for an excuse to open a good wine) prepared the steak above, a New York, using his salted and rested method. And don’t forget, if you need a delicious and unique way to serve your steak, make sure you check out our recipe for Chimichurri, an herbaceous Argentinian sauce with a zing.

Salud!

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