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Bar-B-Q Questions

post #1 of 11
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Hi all. After several years, I tried to grill some steaks for the 4th. Still need help. I had thin steaks, approx 1/2" thick. I marinated them 24 hrs, took them out of the fridge and let them warm up to room temp, grilled approx. 6 min. per side and let them sit for 5-10 minutes before cutting and ended up with chewy steaks. How do restaurants make that steak you can cut with a fork? I cannot get it. My son said they were good but chewy.

I also have some small pork cutlets. Approx 1/4" thick. How long would you say these needed grilling per side?

Thanks for any help.
post #2 of 11
I can see a number of potential problems with what you did.

First, I see no reason to marinate a steak. Beef has a flavor of its own, which comes out best in a good steak. There is no need to disguise it.

However, if you wanted to add flavor to the meat, marinating for an hour would have been fine. 24 hours? Depending on the cut and and marinade, that could actually toughen the meat rather than tenderize it---which I presume was your goal?

Next, I'm assuming by "steak" you mean a top cut, rather than something like a flank steak. If that's the case, 12 minutes in the high direct heat of a grill is way too long for a 1/2" steak. Again, it depends on the cut, but I'd say no more than half that would have done you just fine. On the grill I cook 1" rib eyes only 3-4 minutes per side for medium doneness.

Let me also suggest you invest in an instant-read, remote thermometer. It's the greatest single tool for helping you determine when food is cooked to the point you want.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #3 of 11
I concur. I think you A: possibly over marinated and B: Definitely overcooked your poor steak. I barely keep a steak that thin on longer then a minute a side. Course I think thin steak, I think Carne Asada.:lips:
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #4 of 11
I agree with both Gunnar & KYHeirloomer, but one additional thought. The QUALITY of the steak is important as well.

Was this a Prime cut? There are six USDA approved grades of meat. Prime, Choice, and Select (these three are generally available in the grocery store) and then the lower three, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. Prime has the most marbling and then it goes to less marbling from there. Most quality steak restaurants use Prime meat. This grade is the highest grade of meat.

The type of steak is also important; certain cuts are always going to be more tender than others. For example, tenderloin (from which we get fillet mignon) is considered the tenderest. The second best cut from beef is generally considered to be the rib-eye. However, some believe the prime rib to be the second best.

With meat you definitely get what you pay for.
post #5 of 11
The biggest question is; what kind of "steaks" were these? Nowadays, the large supermarkets are cutting "steaks" out of all sorts of larger cuts. I've seen shoulder steaks, blade steaks, chuck steaks, etc. These cuts really are too tough for steaks, but they get around this by cutting them thin and then jacarding them (tenderizing them by punching them full of holes with small needles). They do this because they can get more money for something labelled as a "steak." You really should stay with the more traditional steak cuts if you are looking for tenderness. Beyond that, I also agree that a 24 hour marinade for 1/2 inch steaks is probably too long, and your cooking time sounds awfully long also.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #6 of 11
Gee, it seems we just had a steak discussion, maybe in the recipe forum. I'll have to poke around for the reference.

As for the pork cutlets, they might dry out too quickly with the heat of grilling. I'd suggest breading, pan frying and topping with a mushroom - ginger gravy, or putting on a sandwich bun with some swiss cheese and roasted red bell pepper. If you do grill them, maybe 2 minutes on the first side and another minute or so on the second, over moderate heat. They'd still be good on that sandwich.

Regarding your beef steaks, as others have mentioned knowing the exact cut would help with the advice. They do, however, sound overdone which makes them tough, dry and chewy. I tend to like my beef quite rare, as mentioned before I'm a 'wipe its nose, clip the horns and run it by the table' kind of guy :lips:

At higher end restaurants you can get dry aged beef. Basically the meat, whole cuts - not individual steaks, are stored for days or weeks at a low temp, a few degrees above freezing, in a dry environment. The process does good things, like remove some of the excess water and allow enzymes to break down some of the protein fibers. So you get a tender steak with concentrated flavors. Chances are you didn't get dry aged ribeyes or strip at the store, retail on such beef tends to be over twice what a similar, uncured cut would be.

Regarding the marinade, again it depends on the cut of beef used. Better cuts like ribeye, T bone and Porterhouse, strip and good sirloin don't really need any enhancement. Grill with salt, pepper, some granulated garlic, maybe a dash of paprika, that should be sufficient seasoning. I like mine served with a big spoonful of prepared horseradish on the side as well. Some folks like a big pat of flavored butter of some sort plopped on top of their steaks. A mushroom and onion saute on the side is a good bet, too.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #7 of 11
Go to the 'Recipes' forum, and look for the 'I think I am finally beating the steak' thread. Similar information as what has been posted here, you might find some useful ideas.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #8 of 11
also dont salt your meat untill its cooked that will draw the moisture out of it and make it tough also
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when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires

www.theunknownchef.com
www.theunknownchef.co.nz
www.shoebridge.co.nz
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post #9 of 11
Technically tossing a steak on is grilling and not BBQ. BBQ is cooking large tough cuts of meat with low heat and preferably with wood until they become tender. As an example spare ribs take 4-5 hours.
post #10 of 11
Well, now, Mary, if you want to get really technical, barbecue is the stuff you put in your mouth; barbecue is not a verb.

You produce barbecue as you said: by cooking large hunks of meat low and slow, preferably with some wood smoke to add flavor.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 11
Oy:rolleyes:
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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