We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
It's outdoor grilling season (well, that is all year-long for many of us regardless of snow), but I want to convey our Cordon Bleu-trained chef friend's advice for oven-roasting meats of all kinds: Always 400 degrees.
Even chicken. Ignore the cookbook. Use a meat thermometer if you can't tell doneness by touch.
More meat advice from our expert:
- Remember (everybody knows this anyway) that meat continues to cook for at least 10 minutes after removing from the heat. That fact has ruined many a rare steak or butterflied leg of lamb.
- Rib-eye is best pan-cooked, no matter how thick. Otherwise many or most meats can be pan-seared and roasted. She says grills are best for burgers and hot dogs, but I disagree. I love a grilled butterflied leg 'a lamb. Possibly my favorite meat. Rare, please.
A grill is fine for steak, and roasts. Couple points:
A gas grill needs to have some serious power to sear. Cheapo grills won't usually get it done. I like to get my Weber heated up to Patent Pending. That is, the spot on the bottom of the thermostat when the arrow pointing to the temperature has gone about 50 degrees past 650. Combined with cast iron grates it sears the steak pretty quick. Roasts are fine on the gas grill, 400 is indeed a good temp, I do like starting at >650 then dropping the heat down as soon as the roast goes on the grill. We're talking big roasts, like a whole top round. Little ones will get cindered. Doesn't hurt to use a little tin box with some dampened mesquite or cherry to smoke the steak a little - doesn't have as much pop as charcoal smoke but it's nice.
A charcoal grill is okay for steak, the flavor is surpassing if you like that sort of thing (and I do) but you have to learn how to control the heat, or at least control where on the grill you put the steak. Yep, it's best if the heat is way up to start, but use a little spray bottle to cut down on the flames. The flames can help sear, but can kill the steak by burning it or creating hot spots that turn fat streaks into gristle. Related: you can do a roast on a grill. Simply put a pie pan in the middle of the charcoal tray, and put the hot coals (you're using a chimney to pre-heat your first batch of coals, right?) around the outside of the pie pan. Put the roast in the middle. You wind up with indirect heat on the roast, not quite a smoking process but similar. If you keep the overall heat to around 225, and can leave the roast there for several hours, it makes a dang nice hot smoked roast. Consider putting a little water in the pie tin during the middle part of the cooking... helps the cooking & speed chemical reactions tenderizing the meat, leaves the crust so long as you finish the last 45 minutes with a dry pie pan.
Don't get me wrong. I can do great with some steaks using the pan sear / oven finish method. But it's great-different, not great-better, for the most part.
The grill is also fine for the easy snack chickens, like tenders or party wings. Those don't have to be "nuanced," just cooked, and a little irregularity is a plus.
Assistant Village Idiot
I'll cook anything on a grill, and well, not as in overdone but as in perfectly.
Super hot for searing is my preferred temp. Pin the temp needle as Jablonski says. Other than poultry, what needs to be cooked through? A nice sear and cool center is good for everything else. Only very hot surface temps can do this.
The exception is all the slow cooked stuff: pork butts, ribs, & brisket. Those go at 225 to 250, all day-ish.
Steaks are better pan cooked or broiled in a gas stove.
Chicken is best grilled, with the seasoning stuffed under the skin. Except for the breast. I cut that out and save it for fried chicken fingers. Peppers, corn, zuccinnis, etc are all better grilled, too. Based on a conversation at work I threw a few dill pickle spears on the grill the other day and was surprised how good they were. I won't even mention the bacon wrapped, cream cheese-filled jalapenos I grilled recently.
Have you ever thrown a skirt steak directly on the coals? Just a minute or two and then wrap it in foil to finish cooking. If you do it right it turns a tough piece of meat into something delicious.
You are missing the crucial Step 4 for steak on a grill:
1. must be at least an inch thick (2-3 cm)
2. salt and pepper both sides
3. get grill very hot - when using charcoal I put meat on immediately after coals start to film with ash. Good reason not to use chemical starters.
4. Flip Flip Flip - keep turning every 60 seconds. Yes, every 60 seconds. I have managed not to ruin thinner cheapo steaks by flipping even more often - basically working around the grill over and over.