You probably know of this situation already. After settling in at a local restaurant, you order wood fire grilled steak for dinner. After choosing the complementary appetizers or sides and drinks, you take a bite out of the meat, and marvel at how it tastes absolutely heavenly. You’re quite piqued at how good the steak is, then you try to replicate the recipe when you get home. Alas, your efforts resulted in something less than stellar.
Is there something secret that restaurant chefs know about cooking steak that you obviously don’t? What are you doing wrong? Once you dive deep down into this question, you’ll realize that the “secret” is not much of a secret at all, but specific knowledge of the science behind cooking meat.
These past few months, especially the Fourth of July, have been the perfect opportunity for most people to bring out their grills to their backyards and hold a barbeque party for their family and friends. In fact, the summer season has almost been made synonymous to outdoor barbeque parties, and everyone just can’t get enough of the taste of grilled hamburgers and steaks.
From tenderloins to flank steaks, everyone’s mouths will start to water just thinking about the way meat sizzles on the grill and the aroma it gives off as it slowly cooks above burning wood. Everyone is definitely in love with steaks, but what exactly is it about grilled steaks that make them so delicious and mouthwatering? Wonder no more, for the American Chemical Society (ACS) has provided an in-depth look into the things that make grilled steaks a truly extraordinary culinary masterpiece.
Over the years, many ways have been discovered to cook steaks—from pan-searing to broiling—but for some people, nothing beats a wood fire grilled steak in satiating one’s craving for great-tasting meat. This is because this style of cooking releases different and enticing aromas and flavors out of the slabs of meat while giving the grillers the feeling of roughing it out as they use a traditional yet effective method of grilling meat. On that note, if you live in New Jersey, and you’re fond of occasionally dining out to savor a serving of wood fire grilled Angus beef tenderloin or rib-eye steak, here’s what you need to know about the succulent treat that you’re enjoying.
As with any rite of passage, the procedure of grilling meat has its share of preferences and schools of thought. One in particular is the age-old debate on whether which type of charcoal to use better: Hardwood or briquettes? Any normal person would be inclined to think this is just culinary snobbery, but in truth, there really is quite the distinction when it comes to these two grill fuel options and their effects on the meat.
Pros and Cons
Most people willing to offer their opinion on the issue can agree that each has its own pros and cons. First off, hardwood charcoal typically burns hotter (useful if you want to sear the meat) and can be made of specific woods—such as maple, oak, mesquite, or even hickory—that leave their own signature flavor on the food. However, the lumps can come in too many different sizes, some of which may not be adequately charred.