No summer is complete without at least one BBQ – everyone loves the thought of firing up theirs and producing a flame-grilled feast for family and friends. Steak is infinitely better when flame-kissed, but do you ever wonder how restaurants manage to achieve char-grilled perfection every time?
The experts at FX Buckley Steakhouse and ASADOR have shared their top tips for BBQ season so you have no excuse not to get your grill on! From cooking times to glazing to resting, with these tips you will be a bona-fide steak master this Summer.
– Homemade burgers are always going to taste better. All you need is salt, pepper and good-quality Irish meat. Always buy mince with plenty of fat or, even better, get your butcher to give you some minced flank or chuck– you’ll get juicy, flavourful burgers whether you like them pink in the middle or cooked right through.
– We all know the phrase “leave for a few hours, ideally over night”. That simple phrase definitely applies to barbecues, to make sure the flavours are not overridden by the addition of the smoke. It is also best to save some marinade and brush your meat or fish with the marinade every 10 minutes as it cooks. Regular marinade brushing will add moisture and trap the smoke flavour while also caramelising gently as the meat cooks.
Heat Control :
– We must remember that a BBQ is basically a caveman oven, so you need to always control the heat. F.X. Buckley BBQ says the best way to test the heat is with your hand. Hold your hand about 12cm/5inches above the grill and see how long you can hold it there comfortably.
6 seconds = low heat
4 seconds = medium heat
2 seconds = very hot
– Remove steaks from the fridge at least an hour before you intent to cook. If you cook meat straight from the fridge the centre will remain too cold.
– Always try to use good thick steaks at least 4 cm thick.
– Always sprinkle some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over your steaks as this will add a great crunchy texture when cooking.
– Once you place the steak on the grill do not move it.
– For medium rare Rib Eye – 4 mins each side.
– For rare Striploin – 3 mins each side.
– For rare Fillets – 3 min each side
– Generally allow just over half the cooking time to rest the steaks after grilling.
Cleaning and Grill Maintenance:
– Keep your grill grate clean with a stiff wire brush or a piece of crumpled-up foil (with a subsequent wipe with a dry paper towel).
– When it’s time for cooking, grab the BBQ grate with an oven mitt and clean it after the grill heats up with the initial fire. Also do this after you’re done grilling. When the grate is warm it will be easier to clean.
– Dip a folded paper towel in oil and apply to the bars of the grate. This is to ensure your meat won’t stick to the grill AND you’ll get great looking grill marks which every BBQ attendee loves!
– Buy good quality meat: Good meat doesn’t come cheap but it is well worth it. When planning your meal, try to purchase dry aged meat as it will always add more flavour to the dish. Avoid that shiny bright red meat we so often see in supermarkets, the good stuff is of a deep burgundy shade
– Buy BIG: The aim is to get a good char on the outside while keeping the meat juicy and tender inside; this is very difficult with a thin piece of meat. Ideally each steak should be at least 8-10 Oz and 4 cm thick.
– Choose the right cut for you: Generally speaking you can divide beef cuts into two. Tender cuts like tenderloin, sirloin, striploin, rib eye, T-bone, Cote de Boeuf & fillet [primary cuts] and tougher cuts like round, flank, skirt and flat-iron [secondary cuts]. Tender cuts require less preparation and they can go straight on the BBQ with the right seasoning and deliver great results, on the other hand the hard working muscles of tougher cuts are full of flavour and with the right preparation will give you greater satisfaction
– Get ready: The success of your BBQ meal is in its preparation, cooking your steak is always a last minute affair! Make sure your steak is at room temperature; take it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you plan on cooking.
– Seasoning/Glaze: Always season your steak just before cooking it, good quality salt and pepper will do the trick but you can always experiment with more spices. At ASADOR we use our own secret mix of red and pink peppercorns, coriander seeds and chilli flakes. Oil your steak using high burning temperature vegetable oil like rapeseed oil, not extra virgin olive oil which will burn easily and taste bitter. Our choice at ASADOR is a glaze from duck fat, butter and oil which we infuse with garlic, thyme and rosemary.
– Cooking: Make sure your BBQ is VERY HOT and place the steak on the grill. Leave it for a couple of minutes and then flip. Carry on turning every couple of minutes until it’s the way you like it. If your grill is as hot as our ASADOR you may need to turn a little bit more regularly to avoid burning.
– Resting: When you are happy with how it’s cooked, put the steak on the rack to rest for at least 5 minutes, a bigger cut like a Cote de Boeuf will require at least 10-15 minutes.
– Get your guests involved!: Remember to gather your friends and family around the table and invite them to join in on the BBQ theatre, let your guests enjoy the smells and sizzles of the BBQ in full flight!
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that (and greed) as the ultimate motivators, I quickly realised that home-baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! With bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law I undertook a PhD, but a preference for cookbooks to textbooks persisted. As a (self-confessed!) demon in the kitchen, I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, which fuelled my desire to set my focus on food in a serious way. Working with The Taste allows me to satiate this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing and ranting. Follow me as I share my food adventures and hopefully inspire others to indulge their passion for cooking and food in the process!