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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Perfect Steak Dinner

As a gift last year, some friends from Indiana gave us a year's worth of beer from 3 Floyd's Brewery in Munster, because we are huge fans. In order to pay proper tribute to the gift, each month I tried to prepare a special meal to pair with the 12 varieties of beer we had received. The flagship beer at 3 Floyd's and the hardest to obtain, is Dark Lord, a very rich, intense Russian Imperial Stout. It begs to be paired with a thick, hearty steak meal. 

Although he is most likely biased, my husband always says I grill the perfect steak. The fact is, I grill steaks the way I like to eat them, so if you like yours cooked past medium rare, you won't like eating at my house! And, part of a perfectly grilled steak is starting with good product. Since I was raised in South Dakota, we always had access to top of the line, fresh off the farm, Black Angus beef, and it was reasonably priced. To say I am a bit of a steak snob would be an understatement! Getting a big, aged ribeye is definitely a treat, but if you want the perfect meal, this is the way to go. 

The second key to the perfect steak dinner is to not mess with the meat too much. If you have an excellent cut of steak, simple seasoning is best. I like just a light sprinkling of Worchestershire sauce, and barely sprinkled with Canadian steak seasoning. Too much, and the seasoning will take over the lovely taste of your beef, and if you did have to spend a little extra for the good stuff, you will want to taste it! 

The third key step is a really hot grill. You want those nice grill marks to get a good char on the outside of your steak. This particular ribeye was just over a pound, and with the grill blazing at about 450, I needed about 4-5 minutes per side to get it just between rare and medium rare, which is where I like it. To get the cross hatch pattern (to make it more like a restaurant), just give it a quarter turn on the same side after about 3 minutes. 

I personally don't use a meat thermometer to test when my steak is done, I use the "touch" test. I can tell by the texture of the meat whether it is done to my liking. When my steak feels like the part of my hand between my thumb and first finger, it's time to take it off the flame.If you want to use a thermometer, make sure you are testing in the middle, at the thickest part of your steak, to get an accurate reading. Then, you must let it rest.

As tempting as it is to cut right into that blazing hot steak, in order to keep it nice and juicy, you will want to let it rest for 5 minutes or so before you eat. Now, for the side dishes...

Steaks are pretty much an open book, you can serve just about anything. In summer, I like fresh vegetables, but we usually try to serve a balanced plate, with a starch as well. This was served with a light tomato salad, just fresh tomatoes from the garden, onions, green peppers and a light vinaigrette with oregano. The starch I chose was a multigrain pilaf, made with chicken stock, onions and butter. Served with the Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, it was a perfect meal.

I am sad to see the end of our year of beer, but excited to do so pairings for another brewery. Any takers?

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