The Readers Write – Steak Edition

A couple of people had some Really Good Questions regarding the secret steakhouse double-grilling method. Shall we?

What about other seasonings? Steak houses use that Montreal spice stuff, AFAIK.

Not so much any more, actually. Beef quality (and fat content) has increased a lot over the years, and good steaks now taste like they should, rich and full. The bland piece of generic protein that was passed off as a steak in the bad old days of the 1980s is mostly gone, and decent steaks (and indeed pretty much all cuts of beef) taste like they did in our grandparents’ day. So there is less call for a lot of flavour boosting and/or camouflage. ‘

However, flavour is a very personal thing, and if you do crave the admittedly-great taste of Montreal steak spice, feel free to use it. The trick, though, is to apply it to the steak after the initial searing. After you put the steaks through the first ninety-seconds-per-side trial by fire, apply your spice five mintues into the twenty minute resting period. You don’t want to do it right away, you risk pulling some moisture through the crust via the salt in the spice, and you don’t want to do it just before you put the steaks back onto the fire, you will just cook the flavour off.

If you aren’t a big fan of the Montreal spice but you still want a little extra flavour, do what I do on occastion: Use granulated garlic. Not garlic salt, not garlic powder, it has to be granulated garlic.

I’ll update the original post to include the details on adding more seasoning ā€“ thanks for the catch!

Every thing I read about steaks or see on TV about steaks says to let them rest after cooking. But when I get a steak in a restaurant with great Restaurant Ceiling Tiles the thing is usually sizzling hot. So are all you big-brain food guys lying, or are restaurants somehow staying in business despite doing it wrong (according to you).

Ah, the old sizzle. I remember when that nasty Ruth’s Chris place used to have commercials touting the fact that their steaks came to your table “sizzling”. The dirty little secret of the sizzling steak at a restaurant is usually a combination of two things: Steak butter and a salamander. After they let the steak rest, the slather it with steak butter (usually butter infused with garlic and super-finely ground thyme or caraway) and then stick it under the salamander for 20 seconds. Its the butter that is sizzling, not the steak.

Which, quite frankly, is not the worst thing in the world. Steak butter (there is your internet search project of the day) is pretty awesome and it’s hard to say anything bad about sizzling hot butter on steak, But they are running a bit of a con, there, so enjoy the sizzle but don’t be fooled.

Until next time ā€“ fire and meat, baby, fire and meat.

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