Monday, June 18, 2007

Its grillin' season!

I picked myself up a small gas grill over the weekend (I know you purists say its all about the charcoal, but its a pain in the ass and I like the heat control of gas much better) and have started back to grilling. When I was in San Diego, I grilled regularly. How could I not? Its grill weather 359 days a year there. That kind of great weather means friends getting together all the time, and gettin' some meat on the Wagon Queen Family Grillster was a required event. Lemme tell ya: my friends can cook and party like pros. I have to coin a phrase: gargantuan awesomeicality. I miss it. Bad. Even with the new grill, I still miss it. Bad. Bad as in lots. Lots and lots. Good times.

So I got this new little grill that's perfect for a couple steaks. Being out of practice, I forgot to grab the garlic bread. I don't remember the brand; its Mama-soemthinerother. Wrap it in foil, throw it on the grill for a few minutes, and mack deeply of its buttery garlic gargantuan awesomeicality. That'll be for next time. Now, being a new toy, I was getting out of control in what I wanted to do with it. After a while, I decided that it really wouldn't pay to spend $30 on dinner without having draft brews to go with it. Being devoid of a keg, I finally realized that I would be better served by going simple. I'm very, very glad I did.

Part of going simple is getting your hands into the work; getting dirty, so to speak. For a decent piece of steak, all you really need is some fresh ground sea salt (I used garlic sea salt for this, but I like using cloves of garlic from time to time, too), some fresh ground pepper, and a good extree viriginical olive oil; I very much prefer the first press EVOO's. They're worth the slight extra cost. Give the steak a good coat of EVOO, being sure to get the edges of the steak, too. Give it a bit of a rub to work the oil into the meat a little. Bust out the salt and pepper, and give it a good coat; you'll end up with a bit of a crust if your grill is hot enough. Once nice thing about the oil is that you don't have to oil the grill grate. You'll get minimal sticking, as well as great flavor.

Fire up your grill while the oil and seasoning gets happy on your steak and soaks in a little. Get the grill hot, and place your steak in the middle. Close the lid. Let it sear for a minute. Literally a minute; don't go much more than that or you'll rough up your meat, and so far its done nothing bad to you. Flip it over, and let it sear another minute. Now, here's where I really prefer gas: turn the heat down to between medium and low, depending on your grill. That's hard to do with charkle brickits; ya gotta wait 'em out. So you've got that thing on low heat. Don't leave it on more than a couple minutes or you're over cook it. Take that bad boy off the grill with tongs. Don't go pokin' holes in the steak with the fork; that's counter-meatative. Trust me on this: the less damage you do to the meat, the better it is. The best part of grill tongs is that they're nice and wide (most of the time; if yours aren't, invest in some quality tools!) so that you can pick the steak up in one go and set it on the plate. The less you bend it, the more juice it'll hold in. That's important. If you don't, the steak police will come beat you with tongs and barbecue sauce brushes. Don't risk it.

Let the steak rest. That means leave it on the plate and leave it be. Resist the temptation to molest your meat. Now's the time for the side dishes. I made two side dishes: salty buttered corn and Haji's Heart Stopping Baked Tater. Take a good sized spud and wash it good. Dirt is not tasty, so be rid of it. Take a knife and score it end to end. Make a couple X's on the ends, too. Now its time to get messy again. Take either butter or margarine (your choice; I actually prefer margarine, believe it or not) and rub that bad boy with it. The tater, foo'. Get a good coat on it, and dust that beastie with garlic salt. You can either wrap it in foil and grill or bake it, or throw it in the microwave. Both ways work; the micro is faster. If you bake it or grill it, add some onions in the foil with it. If you do it in the micro, put it in a micro-safe bowl. You'll see why shortly.

OK, so the tater is done cookin'. Throw it in a bowl, slice that thing up and spread it out. Add a good bit of butter, and top it with a handful of sharp cheddar. Other cheeses work, but the charp cheddar is my favorite. Throw it back in the micro and melt the cheese. Take it back out, and throw a fat blob of sour cream on top. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality.

The corn is easy, but damn tasty. Cook it, drain it, butter it, salt the heck out of it. Try not to faint from its gargantuan awesomeicality. I'm tellin' ya, its simple but its so money and it don't even know it.

Like I said, its really, really simple, but simple is key here. Simple is not just good; its great. Now that grillin' season is here, I think I'm gonna have a lot more to add here. And I realize this post is useless without pics. ;)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Golden Nuggets of Grilling info there!
Looking forward to trying those out this weekend!

Okami099 from LF

Haji said...

I heard something from Rachel Ray over the weekend that I hadn't heard before, and I'm going to incorporate it into my steaking: she said let the meat warm up to room temperature before ya put it on the grill. Its supposed to let the spices seep in deeper and end up more tenderer. Its easy to do; how much can it hurt?