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.
Treating yourself to a steak dinner sounds like something easy to do. After all, you’ll just order a piece of meat and dig in. However, there’s a lot more that can go into your steak than just being a piece of meat. If you want to get the most out of your steak dinner night out, there are a few things you need to know.
The Meat Itself
The most important thing about your steak is the particular cut of meat that you’re ordering. Many Jersey Shore restaurants, like Prime 13, have a wide array of choices for your selective palate. The first thing that you have to consider is the quality of the beef. The highest and best is the USDA Prime, which is incidentally only provided to restaurants. Prime beef comes from young cattle that has been carefully and intensively fed, which results in very good quality meat.
The bodybuilding circuit is a class all its own. Whenever you hit the gym or any bodybuilding competition, you will see a large number of people flexing their frames and muscles to highly-sculpted precision. Part of that effort includes having enough protein to help add more muscle mass and replenish you with nutrients after a strenuous workout – by eating a juicy steak, as dietician Matthew Kadey states in an article for Bodybuilding.com.
New Jerseyans who regularly hit the weight pile may understand the value of adequate nutrition and achieving the ideal physique through natural means. The state’s calendar for the next several months has several events already lined up, such as the NGA East Coast Classic and the NGA U.S. Nationals in East Orange this fall. When you feel that a slab of lean all-American red can whet your appetite and recharge your body at the same time, restaurants in Ocean County, NJ that serve juicy cuts, like Prime 13, are the place to be.
You enter one of the best restaurants in Ocean County, NJ. The waiter approaches and you order steak. Somehow, you’re expecting the next question – but deciding what to answer got you confused, as you struggled to weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Here are a few things to quickly consider the next time you are asked, “How would you like your steak?”
Steak enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike have both heard the saying that steak is best paired with red wine. This is not just speculation; it’s been proven to be true and even science backs it up. Wine experts credit the fermentation process and chemicals used in making wines, together with the different compounds present in the meat.
The science behind it is that the molecules in red wine called tannins soften the fat in the meat and release its flavor. The fat then tones down the wine’s astringency, thereby releasing more fruity flavors. According to Federico Lleonart of Graffigna Wines, “What you end up with is the tannin in the wine softening the steak and the fat in the steak softening the wine. A win-win situation for both,” and rightfully so.
There is a lot more that goes into a delicious steak than just laying it on top of a wood fire and watching it cook. The right grilling technique can do a lot to unleash the flavor of a steak and other meat products.
There are several reasons why this is so. One is that a fire fueled by wood is often a lot hotter than flame produced by gas or charcoal; higher temperature cooks the meat more thoroughly, searing the steak so that the juices get locked in. Another reason is that smoke contributes to the flavor. Hickory and other woods lend their aroma to the meat, sometimes even making marinades and rubs unnecessary; when marinades are present, however, the taste becomes even more memorable.
The smoke that emanates from a wood fire grill is a guilty pleasure. More than its role in cooking the meat, the smoke is what gives grilled steaks their unexplainable yet deliciously distinct flavor—a rich, natural taste that can render most marinades and rubs unnecessary.
Such is the claim by Oliver Schwaner-Albright in an article he wrote for The New York Times that details the highs and lows of wood fire grilling. In his article, Schwaner-Albright describes the contents of a grilling book called Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way by Francis Mallmann and Peter Kaminsky.