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First time trying the cold-grate technique (thinner steaks)

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  • Michael_in_TX
    Club Member
    • Dec 2018
    • 459
    • Texas Gulf Coast
    • Grills:
      Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
      Pit Barrel Cooker
      W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

      Accessories:
      Thermopop (Instant Read)
      Thermoworks Smoke

    First time trying the cold-grate technique (thinner steaks)

    Okay, tonight I will grill some steaks using the reverse-sear and cold grate technique. As this is the first time I've done cold-grate, reverse-sear....uh, actually this is the first time I've ever cooked steaks on my kettle, "this is a practice run" if you will.

    As such, I picked up a value pack of USDA Choice NY strips at HEB. These steaks are cut about an inch thick. Most of the videos I've watched on cold grate cook the steaks to 115 degrees and then sear them for one minute on each side, flip, and then repeat that process again (rotating the gate between each flip) for a total of two minutes of searing per side.

    I have two questions for these thinner steaks (most videos seem to use 1.5" or even 2" steaks):

    -- Should I cook to a lower temperature before searing? (Shooting for medium rare -- 135 degrees -- when all is said and done.)
    -- Should I only sear for a minute per side total or do you think the traditional total of two minutes per side will be okay?
  • TBoneJack
    Club Member
    • Aug 2016
    • 267
    • WSM, 18.5"
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    #2
    That "Cold Grate Technique" is a sales pitch to get people to buy Adrenaline BBQ's cooking grate. The same can be easily done on the Kettle's stock grate.

    Comment


    • HawkerXP
      HawkerXP commented
      Editing a comment
      I used to just use a stick to lift stock grate over the tabs that stop it from spinning.
      I have bought the EZ spin when my grate needed to be retired.

    • Troutman
      Troutman commented
      Editing a comment
      I honestly don't see slamming ABC over his grates. The technique is the method of cooking, doesn't matter what type of grate you use.
  • tbob4
    Charter Member
    • Nov 2014
    • 2390
    • Chico, CA
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    #3
    I don't have a Weber or the SnS, however I have a Santa Maria grill with GrillGrates and it replicates the process in a way. I have the fire on one side and move the steaks to hottest portion, lowering the grill to finish. It works will with steaks down to about 1/2 inch. Thinner steaks just get a good old grilling. To get to 135, watch the temp carefully. I like to pull at 128, plate and put loose foil over the top. It usually carries over to 133-134 within 10 minutes.

    Comment

    • ScottyC13
      Club Member
      • Jul 2019
      • 531
      • Boston Area
      • Name: Scott, Chemical Engineer

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        Want to get into BBQ and Smoking.

      #4
      I have the Weber Performer and the easy spin grate. For 1 inch steaks, just use the cold grate technique. They are not thick enough for reverse sear. They will come out great. It should take around 4 minutes depending on how hot the coals are. Make sure to use an instant read thermometer. I spun it on, let them sear for 20 to 30 seconds, then spun off and flipped the steaks back on. If you have heat proof gloves, wear them.

      Comment

      • FireMan
        Charter Member
        • Jul 2015
        • 7707
        • Bottom of Winnebago

        #5
        Not to rain on a parade, but the cold grate technique is a little more than a sales pitch. I have a stock W grate in my kettle & it will spin somewhat & sometime not at all, facilitating me to put gloves on & pick the thing up to spin it. I do find it’s a little more of a fine toothed technique as to the benefit of just flipping the steak, meaning how far do I want to go to achieve relative perfection. As far as the temp goes, bring it a little lower, like about 105 and let the sear bring it to desired temp. Throw the time out the window, rely on your thermometer. It won’t hurt to flip the steaks a couple of times in the searing process, they won’t have to be seared entirely on one side then the other. The 1” has to be monitored closely. Have fun!

        Comment

        • Michael_in_TX
          Club Member
          • Dec 2018
          • 459
          • Texas Gulf Coast
          • Grills:
            Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
            Pit Barrel Cooker
            W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

            Accessories:
            Thermopop (Instant Read)
            Thermoworks Smoke

          #6
          To be clear -- I don't have the EasySpin grate, just the stock Weber one. I was planning on just manually rotating it myself.

          ScottyC13 does bring up a good point about the 1" thickness. Remembering my experience with grilling flank steak over a direct fire, these may cook rather quickly. I may do the flip-every-minute and check with my ThermaPop every second flip, pulling at 130 for a 5 degree carryover.

          Comment

          • jecucolo
            Club Member
            • Nov 2015
            • 1254
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            #7
            On thin steaks Meathead has a very simple method which can be adapted to the cold great method. Basically the thin steak do not need any slow cooking. You get the fire roaring at full throttle and then you just seat each side for 30 seconds. Flip and sear, flip and sear. They come out very nice. Don’t over cook them and you will have a nice medium rare steak.
            Meathead just uses a full chimney with a grate.

            Comment


            • Meathead
              Meathead commented
              Editing a comment
              Couldn't have said it better.
          • Michael_in_TX
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 459
            • Texas Gulf Coast
            • Grills:
              Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
              Pit Barrel Cooker
              W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

              Accessories:
              Thermopop (Instant Read)
              Thermoworks Smoke

            #8
            Update!

            Well, I bucked conventional wisdom and opted to try the reverse-sear technique. Yall were right. The reverse-sear technique is not optimal for steaks 1" or less in thickness. Still, this was a practice run and I am glad I did it to get the experience.

            I still forget that it does not take much charcoal to get a Weber really hot. With 25 lit coals, I was around 290-300. The steaks went on the grill at 45 degrees internal and I flipped them at 80 degrees. The temp rose quite rapidly after that. I pulled them at 112 degrees and took the grate off, got 3/4 of a chimney going, and added those coals on top of the existing in the SnS.

            I did the cold-grate technique and only did one minute per side and they were at 132 degrees after just that! So I abandoned doing the extra two sears.

            The steaks turned out decently good. Perhaps just a but closer to medium than I like. I did not get a good sear on the surface. Far better than no sear, of course, but it was really lacking. Still, the meat showed the hallmarks of a reverse sear: edge-to-edge of the same amount of doneness.

            Click image for larger version

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            So, what will I do differently next time? (Which will probably be next weekend as these came in a four-pack and I have the remaining two in the freezer.) First, I'll do the constant 30-second flip technique. I'll also trim any excess fat. That stuff charred up a bit even with a one-minute per side sear.

            A little smoke flavor would have been nice. I may experiment with a bit of hickory on the fire during the searing (if yall don't think that is a horrible mistake.)

            Comment


            • Elton's BBQ
              Elton's BBQ commented
              Editing a comment
              Looks fine!

            • holehogg
              holehogg commented
              Editing a comment
              I concur with the above.

            • Troutman
              Troutman commented
              Editing a comment
              They look great. Yea thin steaks can be tricky, you did well. Don't get too excited about smoke btw. The sear and subsequent Maillard reaction is going to give you flavor over a short span. Your not cooking long enough to take on much smoke.
          • Michael_in_TX
            Club Member
            • Dec 2018
            • 459
            • Texas Gulf Coast
            • Grills:
              Weber 22" Kettle Premium w/Slow N' Sear 2.0
              Pit Barrel Cooker
              W.C. Bradley & Co. Char Kettle CK-115 ~1980s Vintage Grill (inactive)

              Accessories:
              Thermopop (Instant Read)
              Thermoworks Smoke

            #9
            Two other things I think I will do differently. I think I will salt more for the dry brine. I did the 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat, but it could have used a bit more.

            Also, I am wondering if the slightly "burnt" taste wasn't the fat -- after all, I was eating around the fat on the edges -- but rather the cracked black pepper burning on the surface of the meat during the sear. I think I'll try peppering the steak after the sear.

            Comment


            • tbob4
              tbob4 commented
              Editing a comment
              I wouldn't expect a thinner steak to get a smoke flavor. It can have the aroma of wood which is nice. Pepper should not make it taste burned. Were your grates clean or if they were, did you have a lower temp oil on them? Sometimes residue from a previous cook can get on the surface of the meat and make it taste that way as could certain oils.
              Last edited by tbob4; November 10, 2019, 10:49 AM.

            • Michael_in_TX
              Michael_in_TX commented
              Editing a comment
              My grates were decently clean, although they could have been a tad cleaner. I used canola oil. I thought about using a really high smoke-point oil, such as avocado, but I see many just using straight up olive oil for searing over direct coals.
          • klflowers
            Club Member
            • Sep 2015
            • 3330
            • Tennessee

            #10
            I used the cold grate method on some pretty thick porterhouse steaks. Just the standard kettle grate i lifted it and moved it. Best steaks I have ever cooked.

            Comment

            • Mosca
              Charter Member
              • Oct 2014
              • 3497
              • PA
              • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

              #11
              People forget that steaks were still really great before reverse sear. There was a video that Meathead did with Jamie Purviance, where they compared “reverse sear” with “sear and slide”: they both agreed that steak is really good.

              on my grills, sear and slide is simpler, and that’s what I do.

              Last edited by Mosca; November 10, 2019, 10:46 AM.

              Comment


              • Michael_in_TX
                Michael_in_TX commented
                Editing a comment
                Wow, what a fascinating video! (Also, how bad 240p videos look on modern screens.) I suspect this was before the "Dr. Blonder Era," with no mention of dry brining and no use of meat thermometers. (Also, "Craig.") Also highlights that there are many ways to get to a great steak.

              • IowaGirl
                IowaGirl commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank goodness for low res videos. They may be passe for y'all with broadband, but I'm stuck with satellite internet and restricted bandwidth. If HD video was the only game in town, I'd not be able to watch much.
            • Matt1226
              Club Member
              • Oct 2019
              • 3

              #12
              Originally posted by TBoneJack View Post
              That "Cold Grate Technique" is a sales pitch to get people to buy Adrenaline BBQ's cooking grate. The same can be easily done on the Kettle's stock grate.
              The cold grate technique is just that; a technique. It’s not a product so not sure what point you’re wanting to make here?

              Comment

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