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Looks vs. Cooks - Bust Another Myth?

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  • Bulldog
    Club Member
    • Aug 2020
    • 20

    Looks vs. Cooks - Bust Another Myth?

    Thanks to you good folks, this newbie has gone from hockey puck hamburgers to delicious rib eyes! Here's a question from my latest adventure:

    I wanted to serve inch-thick rib eye steaks medium rare. I got the grate really hot, two-zone setup ... you know how it goes. Nice sizzle when I put the steaks on. When the time came to flip them, I noticed that the bottom sides looked nicely cooked, but they didn't have that dark, seared crust that everyone talks about. Thinking I had done something wrong, I left the steaks on a little longer. On flipping, they looked great, so I also left the other side on the grate longer than I originally planned.

    To make a long story short, my IR thermometer was at the pull for medium well, and that's how the steaks ultimately came out. Delicious, but medium well. Had I flipped them sooner and not left them on the grill for so long, they would have been medium rare. So you can guess at my question:

    How can I get that dark, seared crust, without overcooking my steaks, or should I not worry about the crust and just go for the good taste?
  • Red Man
    Club Member
    • May 2018
    • 1316
    • Western Washington

    #2
    The Slow N Sear will get the coals closer to the grate so they will sear much faster. You can also put a grate directly on a charcoal chimney for the afterburner method. Thicker steaks will also help. Also an IR thermometer means infrared, you have an instant read, people will be confused if you refer to it as IR.

    Comment

    • barelfly
      Club Member
      • Dec 2017
      • 1469
      • New Mexico
      • Smokin-It 3D
        Weber Kettle with an SNS
        Masterbuilt kettle that I call the $30 wonder grill
        Bullet by Bull Grills gasser
        Anova WiFi sous vide machine
        Thermoworks Thermapen and Chef Alarm

      #3
      Flip more frequently to get the sear on the outside without cooking through. I think I go every 30 seconds to flip. Also, your internal temp when you being your sear can play a part in not getting your the sear you want and overshooting.

      You could take the steak off the grill for a bit to get the coals really hot after the two zone cook, if that’s what you using as fuel. Otherwise, just take them off and get the gas grill ripping hot on high and go at it.

      Comment


      • Dewesq55
        Dewesq55 commented
        Editing a comment
        I completely agree with the "flip more frequently" advice - as well as the 30 second timing, as I stated in my more complete response below.
    • pkadare
      Club Member
      • Jun 2019
      • 1021
      • Bobcaygeon, Ontario
      • My gear:
        22 Weber Kettle
        Napoleon PRO Charcoal Kettle Grill
        Broil King Keg
        Traeger Pro 34
        Napoleon Prestige Pro 500
        Pit Barrel Cooker
        Blackstone Range Combo Griddle

      #4
      I believe someone else mentioned this to you in another thread, but you simply can't measure doneness of a protein with an IR thermometer.

      Comment


      • Dewesq55
        Dewesq55 commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm guessing that in this context the OP is using "IR" as short for Instant Read, not Infrared.
    • BFlynn
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 950
      • Third Coast

      #5
      If I had to choose between my preferred internal temp or a good crust, I'll take the temp.

      There are folks here that crank out better looking steaks than mine, for sure, but some things that have helped me get better crusts are:

      - dry brining overnight
      - the seasoning you use on the outside can make a difference.
      - when I go from the indirect side to the hot side to sear, pat the steaks with a paper towel to dry the surface.
      - if you're using a cast iron skillet, a little butter or oil can help with the crust

      Comment

      • Donw
        Club Member
        • Jul 2017
        • 3647

        #6
        Once you get the desired internal temperature from the low and slow part of the cook then you want a hot fire to quickly get the surface to the point of the Maillard reaction. I’m just guessing here but I believe the heat you were using for searing just wasn’t hot enough. You can either make a hotter fire for searing or you can get the steaks closer to the coals. As Redman said a charcoal chimney with a grate on top can give you that hotter heat. You can also add fuel lo the existing fire in preparation for the sear. On my Santa Maria I just drop the grates right down on the coals and flip a lot. Other times I will have my small Lodge Sportsman blazing away and ready to use that for the sear.

        Comment


        • Donw
          Donw commented
          Editing a comment
          Wanted to add that I agree wholeheartedly with BFlynn . I’ll take temp over bark any day. Otherwise, “Here doggie doggie.”

        • zzdocxx
          zzdocxx commented
          Editing a comment
          Santa Maria style, that's what I'm talking about !
      • Dewesq55
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 2241
        • The Poconos, NEPA
        • Smoker:
          Landmann Smoke Master Series Heavy Duty Barrel Smoker (COS) - With mods including 2 level rack system with pull-out grates
          Masterbuilt 40.2" 1200W Electric Smoker
          Masterbuilt ThermoTemp XL 40" Vertical Propane Smoker

          Gas Grill:
          BBQPro (cheap big box store model) Stainless steel 4 burnerswith aftermarket rotisserie.

          Charcoal Grill:
          Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill 14"

          Thermometer:​​​​​​
          Fireboard 2 with Drive cable and 20 CFM fan and Competition Probe Package
          Fireboard 1st Generation
          ThermoWorks Mini Instant Read
          Lavaworks Thermowand Instant Read
          2 Maverick 733
          ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S Industrial Infrared Thermometer
          ThermoWorks ThermaPen Mk4 x 2
          Govee Bluetooth Thermometer with 6 probes

          Miscellaneous:
          Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - 1st generation
          Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator - wifi/bluetooth connected

          Favorite Beer:
          Anything to the dark side and malty rather than hoppy. Currently liking Yuengling Porter and Newcastle Brown Ale. In a bar or pub I will often default to Guiness

          Favorite Spirit:
          Bourbon - Eagle Rare for "every day"; Angel's Envy for special occasions, Basil Hayden's, Larceny

          Favorite Wine:
          Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Super Tuscan Sangiovese (Including Chianti Classico Riserva) Brunello di Montalcino

          Favorite Meat(s):
          Pork - especially the darker meat. I love spare ribs and anything made from shoulder/butt meat
          Chicken - Mainly the dark meat and wings
          Beef Ribeye steak

          Favorite Cuisine to Cook:
          Can't list just one: Indian, Chinese, Thai, West Indian/Carribean, Hispanic/Latin American, Ethiopian, Italian, BBQ

          Favorite Cuisine to Eat:
          Indian, followed closely by BBQ.

          Disqus ID:
          David E. Waterbury

        #7
        Get your fire really hot and your cooking grate as close to the fire as you can. Remove steaks from the fridge an hour or so before cooking. Put the steaks on and flip every 30 seconds for about 4-5 minutes. Don't worry about some flare-ups as they will help get a good sear/crust. Also, don't worry that for the first or 2nd flip they don't look great yet. They will. Pull them off no later than 5 minutes. Tent them with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes. They should be nicely seared and perfectly cooked inside. NOTE: This is for 1 inch steaks as you stated in the original post. Thicker steaks should get cooked differently with a front or reverse sear process.

        See pix. Both the porterhouse and the ribeye were cooked as I described above. Both were about 1" thick when bought.
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        Comment


        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          BFlynn - Thanks. The porterhouse was actually a tad more done than we like, but it was still delicious.

        • zzdocxx
          zzdocxx commented
          Editing a comment
          That looks awesome ! ! !

          I may be in the minority here, but I kind of like a little bit of black char. Also like a smidge of it on my pizza crust.

          Gives it character, makes me feel like I'm out in the woods.

        • Dewesq55
          Dewesq55 commented
          Editing a comment
          zzdocxx - I do, too. Barbara, not so much. So it's always a fine line to walk.
      • Bulldog
        Club Member
        • Aug 2020
        • 20

        #8
        Thanks to everyone for your great advice. And BTW: I meant 'instant read' when I mentioned my IR thermometer, not infrared. Sorry for the confusion.

        For my next adventure, I'm thinking of the 'reverse sear' method recommended here. I'll cook my steaks over lower heat and finish off by blasting them over my Weber's char baskets. This new hobby is turning out to be way more fun than I imagined.
        Last edited by Bulldog; August 16, 2020, 01:21 PM.

        Comment


        • zzdocxx
          zzdocxx commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, way !

        • jfmorris
          jfmorris commented
          Editing a comment
          Reverse sear really is not practical for a steak thinner than about 1.5 inches - it will be done and at 1 inch thick, doing the sear at the end will overcook it - like what you had.

          The answer for thin steaks is to flip often and cook hot and fast until about 5 below your desired doneness.

        • Mosca
          Mosca commented
          Editing a comment
          The reason it’s way more fun is because it tastes good!
      • zzdocxx
        Club Member
        • Jun 2020
        • 178

        #9
        Originally posted by Bulldog View Post
        Thanks to you good folks, this newbie has gone from hockey puck hamburgers to delicious rib eyes! Here's a question from my latest adventure:

        I wanted to serve inch-thick rib eye steaks medium rare. I got the grate really hot, two-zone setup ... you know how it goes. Nice sizzle when I put the steaks on. When the time came to flip them, I noticed that the bottom sides looked nicely cooked, but they didn't have that dark, seared crust that everyone talks about. Thinking I had done something wrong, I left the steaks on a little longer. On flipping, they looked great, so I also left the other side on the grate longer than I originally planned.

        To make a long story short, my IR thermometer was at the pull for medium well, and that's how the steaks ultimately came out. Delicious, but medium well. Had I flipped them sooner and not left them on the grill for so long, they would have been medium rare. So you can guess at my question:

        How can I get that dark, seared crust, without overcooking my steaks, or should I not worry about the crust and just go for the good taste?
        Bulldog, you have probably mentioned it elsewhere, but could you clarify what type of grill, smoker, etc you are using ?

        I just took a first close look at the Sear and Cook or whatever it is called, which fits on a Weber. Wow what a great solution ! I'm using a Traeger currently but almost makes me want to buy a Weber just for cooking steaks !

        So what is your rig ?

        Eh never mind, I see you mention you Weber and baskets above ! I think our posts crossed in the mail.


        Last edited by zzdocxx; August 16, 2020, 02:31 PM.

        Comment


        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          zzdocxx , now's the time to haunt Walmart and Ace for kettle deals. I got my 22 inch Weber Premium kettle for $40 on end-of-season closeout--it was the floor model. Then I got a SnS and a Vortex for it (costing more than the bargain kettle). What fun! Good for small cooks (I have a Weber Summit Charcoal for big stuff). Vortex makes great chicken wings and other yardbird pieces, and SnS rocks for grilling and smoking.

          Kathryn
          Last edited by fzxdoc; August 17, 2020, 09:54 AM.

        • zzdocxx
          zzdocxx commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks K., that's the first I have heard of the vortex. I found a video about it, looks pretty nice !

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          zzdocxx , read this post by Troutman , and you'll zip right over to the Vortex site and buy one even if you don't have a kettle.

          https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...ken#post522534
      • SheilaAnn
        Club Member
        • May 2020
        • 588
        • Long Beach, CA

        #10
        Reverse sear for this gal!

        Comment

        • surfdog
          Club Member
          • Mar 2016
          • 1309
          • Sunny SoCal
          • Cooking gadgets
            Weber Summit Charcoal Grill Center
            Weber Summit Platinum D6
            Blue Rhino Razor
            Dyna-Glo XL Premium Dual Chamber
            Camp Chef Somerset IV along with their Artisan Pizza Oven 90
            Anova WiFi

            Thermometers
            Thermapen Mk4 - ThermaQ High Temp Kit - ThermaQ Meathead Kit - ThermaQ WiFi - ThermoWorks IR-GUN-S - ThermoWorks Signals & Billows - ThermoPop -ThermoWorks ProNeedle - ThermoWorks TimeStick Trio x2 - and a Christopher Kimball timer - NO, I do not work for ThermoWorks...I just like their products.

            Other useful bits...
            KitchenAid 7-qt Pro Line stand mixer
            A Black & Decker food processor that I can't seem to murder
            A couple of immersion blenders, one a "consumer" model & the other a "high end" Italian thing. Yes, the Italian one is a bit better, but only marginally
            Instant Pot Duo Evo Plus 8-qt + accessories like egg-bite & egg holders
            All-Clad pots & pans, along with some cast iron...everything from 7" Skookie pans to 8.5qt Dutch ovens
            Weber GBS griddle, pizza stone, and wok
            Knives range from Mercer to F. Dick to "You spent how much for one knife? One knife?!" LOL

          #11
          As others have eluded to (especially barelfly & Dewesq55 )...don’t be afraid to move them.
          I generally reverse sear unless they’re thin...and 1” is right in that border zone.

          Regardless, for the sear portion of the cook, get the fire “stoopid” hot and as close to the grill/food as possible...and move the steaks around every 20-30 seconds until you get the crust you’re looking for. I recently started using a pigtail to flip steaks...and it’s a game changer IMO. But a spatula or tongs work great...whatever you’re comfortable with using. Just put yourself in the hot zone and flip a lot. ;-)

          For charcoal it can be done by simply piling the coals close to the grill...or one could use charcoal baskets, SNS, or any number of tools that accomplish the same thing; getting the heat as close to the grill/food as possible to concentrate that heat. If using gas, set a burner or two to high and let it get that grate ripping hot...and then move the steaks around, flipping often but never onto the spot they were removed from.

          Anything “smallish” like steaks are decidedly not “set & forget” like something bigger such as a brisket or butt...and thus require a bit more hands on “babysitting.” It’s fairly simple to take what could have been a sublime steak and rapidly hit “WTH just happened?” LOL I laugh because we’ve ALL played that game.

          You're on the right track with the instant read...now it’s just a matter of practice to dial it in.
          Last edited by surfdog; August 16, 2020, 02:51 PM. Reason: Stupid autocorrect. O_o

          Comment

          • GolfGeezer
            Club Member
            • May 2019
            • 384
            • San Clemente, CA
            • Sam

              MAK 2 Star
              Hestan Aspire 36" Grill
              Blackstone 22" Griddle

            #12
            I suggest a reverse sear as others have described, but after cooking to temp indirect, brush both sides with a light coat of mayo. This will char up very nicely without adding any distinct, new flavor from whatever seasoning you put on. This will also work front sear.

            Comment

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            We've unfortunately had to cancel the 2021 Meat-Up in Memphis. We are rescheduling for March 18-20, 2022. More details and re-booking info coming soon! For now click here for more info.
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