Kids in the Kitchen: Step Stool Chefs Blog Series #2

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Kids in the Kitchen: Step Stool Chefs Blog Series #1

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Autumn Maple-Cheddar Burger

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Bangin’ Bourbon Baby Back Ribs

These baby back ribs will wow with a bourbon marinade, smoky dry rub and kickin’ sauce. They are the perfect weekend grilling recipe – tender, rich flavor and a great way to feed a crowd. Baby back ribs are the ultimate pitmaster’s pleasure. 


INGREDIENTS

  

Rib Ingredients:

4 racks Five Star Home Foods baby back ribs

1 cup bourbon of choice

 

Rub ingredients:

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup smoked paprika

3 tbsp black pepper

3 tbsp coarse salt such as kosher

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp cayenne powder less if you are not into a bit of spicy

  

BBQ KICKIN SAUCE

1/4 cup onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

14 ounces ketchup

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons hot sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

How to Prepare

1.  Cut each rib rack in half – it’s easier for handling later on. To marinate in the bourbon, place a couple split racks in a plastic bag and pour the bourbon over and then lay flat on a sheet pan or roasting pan. Wrap a couple at a time in heavy duty foil, then re-use the foil for the pre-baking. Let them sit in the bourbon in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, turning them once or twice to distribute the juices.

 

2. Meanwhile, make the rub by combining all of the rub ingredients in a bowl, mixing it up well with your hands or fork, making sure you combine completely and remove any clumps of brown sugar.

 

3. When the ribs are done marinating in the bourbon, pour off the extra liquid and then rub them all over with the rub mixture. Put them back in the tin foil and let them “marinate” for at least 1-2 hours. You can let them sit in the refrigerator for as long as overnight but they are ready to cook within a few hours.

4. Before they go out to the gas barbecue, pre-cook the ribs in the oven, wrapped in the foil for 1 hour at 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. About an hour before you’re ready to bbq, soak the smoker chips in some water or bourbon and place the chips in the smoker tray of the gas grill when you’re ready to start grilling.

6. To make the sauce, saute onions and garlic in olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat until fragrant and golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Add remaining sauce ingredients and stir to combine.

7. Your total time on the barbecue is about 2.5 – 3 hours. Most of the cooking is indirect but you’ll start with the bbq on high and sears the ribs briefly all over. Then turn off one side of the grill, and turn the other side to medium to medium low, placing a pan of water on the bread rack to create some moisture. The ribs remain on the no-heat side, and rotate the ribs every 20 minutes for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours until tender. Turn the heat back up to high for about 20 minutes to brown the ribs again. Then back down to medium to start brushing with sauce for about the last 1/2 hour. The exact timing and heat settings will depend on your grill. The ribs are done when they are very tender but offer some resistance when you bite them; the meat should easily pull off the bone. The sauce should caramelize without burning.

 

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5 Football Foods No One Can Resist

Feeding a house full of hungry fans?
These Five Star game day picks are sure to get the win.

It’s the kickoff for football season and if the thought of pulling together a menu to please those die-hard football fans has you feeling overwhelmed, fear no longer! This versatile roundup of recipes will make sure you create a Five Star all-star line up. 

Mini Chili Cheese Dogs

mini chili cheese dogs

The classic chili cheese dog gets a bite-sized update in these Mini Chili Cheese Dogs. Hawaiian rolls stuffed with Five Star Home Foods All-Beef Franks and topped with chili and cheese create the perfect game day snack! 

Ingredients

1 8oz package Five Star Home Foods 86% ground round

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup kidney beans

1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ketchup

2 tsp chili powder

2 tbsp water

1 package Hawaiian rolls

4 Five Star Home Foods All-Beef hot dog franks, quartered

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

 

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a medium-sized skillet, add the ground round and the diced onion. Break up the beef and cook until the beef is browned and the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic, cook about a minute, until fragrant. Add tomato paste, cook for another minute.  Slowly stir in the kidney beans, tomatoes, salt, garlic powder, chili powder and water and bring to a simmer. Allow the chili to thicken and the flavors to thoroughly combine, stirring occasionally.  While the chili simmers, cut a hole in the top of each of the Hawaiian rolls and scoop out the inside. Be sure to create a large enough hole hold the chili and hot dog. Place the rolls on the baking sheet. Place a heaping teaspoon of the chili in each hole of the rolls. Lay a hot dog on top horizontally. Spoon remaining chili on top of hot dogs. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake until cheese has melted and hot dogs are hot all the way though, about 8-10 minutes. 

 

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

buffalo chx egg rolls

Less messy than buffalo wings, these Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls are two of our favorite appetizers wrapped up into one dippable delight. Easy to prepare and ready to serve in less than 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 ½ cups Five Star Home Foods chicken, cooked & shredded

¼ cup plain greek yogurt

¼ cup cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup buffalo sauce, plus extra for serving

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

2 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Pinch of kosher salt

½  cup shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

¼  cup crumbled blue cheese

20-22 square egg roll wrappers

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Dip:

1 cup sour cream 

¾ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

½ tablespoon dill

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

juice of 2 limes

 

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.  In a large bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, sour cream, buffalo sauce, parsley, onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Stir in the cheeses. Mix well until ingredients are combined. To assemble, spoon 2 tablespoons of filling onto each wrapper. Brush water around the edges of the wrapper, then roll up and place on the baking sheet. Beat the egg and water together. Brush each roll lightly with the egg wash. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip and cook another 8-10 minutes more, or until the rolls are crisp. While the egg rolls are baking, make the dip.. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until creamy. Serve the egg rolls with fresh herbs and plenty of dip for dipping.

 

Hot Crab & Spinach Dip

crab dip

This Hot Crab & Spinach Dip could not be easier! Packed with a ton of creamy goodness, you can depend on this dip to make your fans happy.

Ingredients:

10 oz. Cascadian Farms Organic Spinach, thawed and squeezed

¼ cup Red Onion, diced

½ stalk Celery, diced

¼ cup sour cream

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

¼ cup heavy cream

1 ¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 teaspoon Worcestershire 

½ tsp Tabasco sauce

½ teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ tsp Salt

5 tsp Lemon Juice

½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

3 tablespoon grated Parmesan

8 oz. Crabmeat 

 

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and thoroughly blend. Pour mixture into a one-quart casserole dish and bake for about 20 minutes until hot and browned on top. Serve with crackers or toast.

 

Spicy Kielbasa Cheese Dip

kielbasa dip

This dip is a prime example of just how awesome simple slow-cooked recipes can be. Spicy chiles and tomatoes, lots of cheese, and kielbasa all come together with practically no effort at all to make a spicy starter that’s even easier to dig into.

Ingredients:

2- 8oz pkgs. Five Star Home Foods kielbasa, diced

2 – 8oz. cream cheese 

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 

2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

2- 10oz. cans Rot-Tel diced tomatoes and green chiles

Tortilla chips, for serving

  

Instructions:

Cook the kielbasa in a skillet over medium for about 5 minutes until slightly browned. Transfer it to a 3-quart slow cooker set to low with a slotted spoon. Add the cheese and diced tomatoes and green chiles (with the liquid from the can) to the slow cooker with the kielbasa and stir well to combine. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. 

 

Brown Butter Ham & Cheese Sliders

brown butter ham and cheese sliders

Ham & Cheese sliders are an easy crowd pleasing sandwich that’s perfect for football fare. 

Ingredients:

24 Hawaiian rolls 

24 one-inch pieces Five Star Home Foods spiral sliced ham

24 small slices Swiss cheese

⅔ cup mayonnaise

Brown Butter sauce:

1 ½ Tablespoons yellow mustard

½ cup butter melted

1 Tablespoon minced onion

½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

 

 

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Slice rolls lengthwise with a large serrated knife. Spread the mayonnaise onto both sides of the center of each roll. Place a slice of ham and a slice of Swiss inside of each roll. Close rolls and place them into a large baking dish. Place very close together.

*Please note that browning butter is pretty quick, so don’t leave the stove unattended.* 

Place the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat. Stir the butter the entire time to keep it moving. Once the butter is melted it will begin to foam and sizzle around the edges. In about 5-8 minutes, the butter will turn golden brown. Some of the foam will subside and the milk solids at the bottom will be toasty brown. The butter will smell intensely buttery and nutty. Remove from the pan and pour the butter into a medium glass bowl. Add the remaining ingredients of the Brown Butter Sauce and whisk together. Pour the sauce evenly over all of the sandwiches. You do not have to use all of the sauce! Just use enough to cover the tops. Let sit for 10 minutes or until butter sets slightly. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 2 additional minutes or until the tops of the rolls are slightly brown and crispy. 

 

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Texas-Style Smoked Brisket

If you’ve ever wanted to create a smoked brisket at home that’s just as good, if not better, than they do in Texas?! Then this BBQ beef brisket is for you. Making smoked brisket is a labor of love – you just need a good recipe, some proven techniques, useful tips, and patience. 

The most important tip: Remember low and slow is the name of the game with barbecue.

Equipment Needed:

Butcher Paper

Spray Bottle

Ingredients

4 LB Five Star Home Foods brisket flat, trimmed

½ cup Five Star Home Foods brisket rub, recipe below

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Five Star Home Foods Texas-Style Brisket Rub

5 tablespoons paprika

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

How to Prepare

1. Prepare spice blend by mixing all ingredients in a bowl; set asid. 

 

2. Place the brisket flat with the fat side UP on a large cutting board. Use a sharp paring knife or another sharp knife to trim off excess fat and silver skin on the brisket. The best way is to almost “shave off” a layer of fat at a time. You want to keep the fat cap on top intact, but trim it down to leave an even ¼ inch on top of the brisket flat. With the fat cap side up, use a sharp knife to locate the thick silver skin (the thick membrane of connective tissue) and cut it off from the brisket meat.

 

3. Preheat your pellet smoker to 250 degrees F for 15 minutes before it’s time cook. Set out the brisket about 20-30 minutes ahead of time to help bring it to room temperature. Pat the brisket dry on all sides using paper towels. Sprinkle the rub liberally onto the meat. Turn the meat and repeat on all sides. Be sure not to put your fingers, spoon, or other utensils back into the dry rub after touching the meat to avoid contaminating the leftover rub.

 

4. Smoke brisket flat on the smoker. Place your brisket on the pellet grill grates fat side up and smoke brisket flat until the internal temperature of the flat of brisket reaches 160 – 170 degrees F, measured in the thickest part of the meat. This wsssssssssssill take roughly 3 hours. Remove partially smoked brisket flat from the grill. Keep the lid to the smoker closed and the smoker on.

 

5. Get the butcher paper ready, add apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle and set aside. On a large work surface, roll out butcher paper. Cut the butcher paper to be about 5 times larger than the brisket.

With the inside of the butcher paper facing up, spray the inside of the butcher paper with some apple cider vinegar, until the area that will touch the brisket flat once it’s wrapped is fully moistened. 

 

6. Wrap brisket flat in butcher paper. Place half smoked brisket flat near the edge of the butcher paper. Spray the brisket again with more apple cider vinegar to keep the meat moist while smoking. 

**IMPORTANT – You’ll want to keep track of the side of the brisket flat that has the fat cap when rolling it. You’ll want to “end” with the FAT CAP UP. This will ensure to create a juicy, tender meat. Make note of the fat cap as you’ll want it facing up when you place it back on the smoker.

 

7. Wrap the brisket flat a few times in the butcher paper, folding edges in like a burrito so it bundles together to create a snug, wrapping for your beef.

 

8. Smoke brisket flat wrapped in butcher paper. Add the brisket flat back on the smoker grill grates, fat cap side UP. Smoke the flat until the internal temperature has reached 200 – 205 degrees F.

 

 

9. When time is up, remove the brisket flat from the smoker and let it rest in the butcher paper for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Slice against the grain and enjoy.

 

Chef’s Tips
The sugar in the rub crisps to a nice brown crust on the meat, but it does burn easily so keep the dry-rubbed meat away from high flames.

The rule of thumb if cooking at a temperature between 200 degress and 225 degrees Farhenheit is you will need 1 1/2 hours per pound. So a 4 LB brisket flat will take close to 8 hours total. This includes preparing brisket flat by trimming the fat cap and seasoning it. Allowing a little over 3 hours smoking directly on the grill grates. The time to wrap it and moisten the flat of brisket with apple cider vinegar. Then about 5 more hours of smoke time on the smoker, wrapped in butcher paper. Plus the additional rest time of 30 minutes to an hour at the end.

 

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Grilled Spice-Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks

These Grilled Spice-Rubbed Chicken Drumsticks are easy to make and perfect for a weeknight dinner. The chicken is coated in a savory blend of spices and your favorite tomato-based barbecue sauce (store-bought is great!) that turns simple chicken drumsticks into a sticky, slightly sweet and perfectly charred meal that friends and family will love. 

Ingredients:

8 Five Star Home Foods chicken drumsticks

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp smoked paprika 

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp white pepper

¼ tsp kosher salt

½ tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp brown sugar

Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill

½ cup of your favorite tomato-based barbecue sauce

 

For the Brine:

1/2 cup table salt

How to Prepare

1. Dissolve the salt in 2 quarts of cold water in a large container. Submerge the drumsticks in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. 

2. Remove the drumsticks from brine and pat dry with paper towels.

3. Place all the seasonings in a large bowl and stir to combine. Place the drumsticks in the spice mixture and toss with your hands until the chicken is evenly coated. If grilling immediately, allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. You can also allow it to refrigerate overnight.

4. If your chicken has been refrigerated, allow it to come to room temperature.

5. For a charcoal grill: open bottom vent halfway. Light the large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes, about six quarts. When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover, an open lid vent halfway. Heat the grill until hot (about 5 minutes).

For a gas grill: turn on all burners too high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave the primary burner on high and turn off all the other burners. Adjust the primary burner as needed to maintain a grill temperature between 325 and 350 degrees. 

6. Oil the grill grates with a paper towel dipped in the vegetable oil. Place the chicken on the grill with space so they do not touch. Grill for about ten minutes, until grill marks appear and the chicken releases easily from the grill. Flip the chicken and grill for another ten minutes to allow the grill marks to appear. 

7. Measure about ½ cup of the barbecue sauce. Flip the chicken again and brush with a generous amount of the barbecue sauce. Grill for five minutes, flip the chicken and coat the other side with the barbecue sauce. Continuing to do so until the chicken is slightly charred and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Grill time should be a total of 30 minutes.

Serve with the remaining barbecue sauce and enjoy!

Chef’s Tips
Before applying any of the rub, smooth the skin over the drumsticks so it is covering as much as the surface as possible. This will help the skin render evenly and prevent the meat from drying out.

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Grilling Series #4: How to Grill Fish

How To Grill Fish

Nothing compares to seafood on the grill. Something about the smoky flavor works so well. Grilling seafood is easier than you think. Once you get the taste of it, you’ll be hooked. 

One: It Starts with a clean, well-oiled grill

Make sure you’re starting with CLEAN grill grates — scrape well to remove any crusted-on carbon from your last cook.

Before you add a single fish fillet or piece of seafood, rub the grates where they’ll go with a well-oiled paper towel. If you have ever experienced fish sticking in the past, one of the main reasons could be an uncleaned grill. 

Now that you have a cleaned grill, you’ll want to generously oil the grates.  Pour vegetable oil a onto a paper towel and wipe it on the grill grates. 

 Two: Use the Right Tools 

The fish spatula is a must-have tool in every chef’s arsenal, and it can be used for a variety of everyday cooking tasks other than fish. Due to its blade-like edge and thin metal flipper, it’s the best spatula for sliding under food without accidentally shoving into it. These features can make the difference between a clean flip and a shredded chunk of meat if a piece of chicken or fish is slightly stuck to the pan. A good fish spatula can handle half-pound burgers and flip pancakes as effortlessly as it can turn delicate fish fillets. It’s one of those fantastic, low-cost, yet endlessly useful kitchen tools.

Three: Be sure to preheat your grill on high for 10-15 minutes.

When grilling anything, especially fish, the first thing to do is to get the grill hot. This accomplishes several things. Increasing the grill’s temperature will aid in caramelizing the fish and creating the distinct grill marks that give grilled foods their distinctive flavor. Preheating the grill will also cut down on the time your fish spends there, reducing the chance that it will dry out. Last but not least, preheating the grill will eliminate fish grillers’ biggest worry: sticking.

Whether skin is on or off, the temperature should be at a medium to high heat, depending on the recipe, around 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though fish is very lean, if the grill was properly warmed, it will naturally detach itself from the grilling grate when it is done.  

Now that your grill is preheated, you’re almost ready to start grilling your fish. The last thing to do is clean the cooking grates with a stainless-steel brush to remove all prior cooking debris that may still be left over. Just a good rule of thumb, clean cooking grates are a necessity no matter what you are grilling to aid in easy removal of your grilled cuisine. If you’ve experienced fish sticking to the grates in the past, chances are you didn’t preheat your grill to the correct grilling temperature, or clean your cooking grates properly.

Four: This is the most important thing: DON’T flip your fish too early!

This is how fillets fall apart. If you’re fighting to get your spatula under your fillet then it is NOT ready. When grilling a filet with skin, we grill the flesh side first for 70% of the total cooking time, and then flip it to the skin side for the remainder of the time.

Grilling time for a filet will be about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. However, be sure refer to your recipe’s instructions Always remember to grill with your lid down. Each time you open the lid, you add additional cooking time to your meal.

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Grilling Series #3: How To Grill Steaks

How To Grill Steaks

Now that you’ve got your grill ready, it’s time to make you the Grill Master. 

One: Only Flip Once

Keep away from overturning your steak, Let the Maillard reaction do its thing. That’s the technical name for the chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars, that gives browned and caramelized food its distinctive flavor. Ideally, you should turn the steak once on each side to get those cross-hatch grill marks, and only flip it once.

Two: Avoid Individual Steaks for a Crowd

For groups, don’t be afraid to go with one large steak, like a 32-ounce rib eye or a 36-ounce porterhouse. One large steak is easier to manage and monitor on a grill than multiple smaller ones, and armed with a good thermometer, any cook can nail a perfect medium-rare every time. Because of the internal variation of cooking times within one steak, you can accommodate diners who prefer medium rare and medium well.

Three: A Meat Thermometer is your Best Friend (even for pros!)

Temping a steak by hand can be tricky. It takes a ton of practice and a ton of experience. What happens when you hit a muscle knot? 

Don’t have a meat thermometer on hand? Try using metal cake testers. Metal cake testers are the best tool you can use for finding the perfect steak doneness. Insert the metal tester into the steak, leave it for five seconds, then pull it out and touch it to your lips or inner wrist. The internal temp of the steak will tell you how done it is. If it’s cold, your steak is rare; if it’s just warm, medium-rare; slightly hot, medium, etc. Plus, cake testers are less than a dollar, and you can get them in the baking section at your local store.

Here’s our steak doneness guideline:

Rare: 120-130°F 
Medium Rare: 130-135°F
Medium: 140-145°F
Medium Well: 150-155°F
Well: 160-165°F

Four: Let it Rest

Cooking the steak to 10 degrees below your desired temp and then resting it allows for the collagen in the meat to thicken the juices as it cools slightly. This results in a juicier steak than simply cooking it to temperature.

Just because the steak is removed from the pan does not mean it has finished cooking. Keep it in a warm place; you don’t want a cold steak, and rest it for about as long as you cook it. Most chefs suggest allowing the steak to rest for half the cooking time before serving. So if your steak takes 10 minutes to cook, let it rest for five minutes.

If you’re not able to keep the steak warm while it rests, or you want to eat it quite hot, return the steak to the grill after it’s rested and bring it up to the internal temperature of your preference before eating.

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Grilling Series #2: Prepping Your Steak

Prepping Your Steak

Epic steak starts right here. And you only need two things to make it happen: just flame and the perfect cut of meat.

First: Never cook a COLD steak 

When grilling a thick steak, you’ll want to take your steak out from the fridge about thirty minutes before you’re going to cook it but no more than two hours. This allows the meat to cook more evenly when grilling. This is also the best time to season it with salt.

Second: Use the RIGHT salt 

Sea Salt is always the way to go when seasoning a steak. The grains are medium-sized and the is perfect for grilled beef. Avoid table salt, iodized salt, or fine-grain sea salts as they have more weight to volume than larger grain salts, and you can easily over-season them. Just think medium grain, true sea salt.

Third: Make sure it’s super dry before it hits the heat.

We recommend patting your steak dry before putting on the grill to get that steakhouse quality sear. While high heat is a key process in creating that steakhouse sear, patting your steak dry is an important step for making sure your high heat isn’t wasted.

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