Test Kitchen tips: Temper meats for better grilling
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The next time you’re going to throw some steaks on the grill, take them out of the refrigerator a little early to take off the chill before cooking. ‘Tempering’ the meat allows it to cook more evenly, so the inside can actually cook as the outside works up a nice char. Place your steaks or other meats in a cool, safe spot indoors to take off the chill, 20 or so minutes for thin cuts and longer if you’re cooking something big -- famous Italian butcher Dario Cecchini calls for leaving a thick porterhouse out five to six hours when grilling his Bistecca fiorentina (the recipe follows below).
As with all kitchen and food safety, make sure you leave your meats in a cool place to temper, using common sense and checking them often to see that they don’t warm too quickly.
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Recipe: Bistecca fiorentina (Tuscan steak)
Total time: 35 minutes, plus five to six hours for the steak to reach room temperature Servings: 3 to 4
Note: Allow the steak to sit out in a cool place, loosely covered, for five to six hours to come to room temperature. You can order this especially thick cut of steak in advance from any fine meat counter or butcher.
1 (2-inch-thick) porterhouse steak (about 2 1/2 pounds), cut from the small end of the loin, at room temperature
1 teaspoon best-quality olive oil, plus additional for oiling the rack
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat a grill over medium-high heat. (It will be hot enough when you can hold your hand an inch over the grill for only five to six seconds.) Lightly oil the grill, and place the steak on the grill. Grill the steak for five minutes, then flip over and grill the other side five more minutes.
2. Carefully place the steak vertically on the grill, so it is resting on the flat part of the T-bone. Continue to cook, allowing the heat to transmit through the bone to the meat. Cook an additional 15 to 25 minutes (this will depend on the heat of your grill) until a thermometer inserted reads 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove the steak from the grill to a plate and allow it to rest for two to three minutes.
3. Lightly season the steak with the salt and a couple grinds of pepper, then drizzle the olive oil over it. Slice the steak away from the bone, and then crosswise into strips. Serve immediately.
Each of four servings: 321 calories; 38 grams protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 18 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 91 mg. cholesterol; 246 mg. sodium.