Day 16: Beef, it’s what’s for dinner (sort of)

Chef holding up a sirloin

“You’re very happy this morning because you know what’s for dinner…beef”, says Chef to the class, who then goes on to correct his joke. “Well, for lunch, but you know that saying, ‘Beef, it’s what’s for dinner’?”

Know it? I live by it. Growing up, I was deemed “the carnivore.” As a toddler, my teething toys were steaks. I kid not. So for today’s meat-centric lesson, I was ecstatic. You can’t be more excited to make steak with a side of compound butter and a beef tenderloin with a bordelaise sauce.

Beef tenderloin with bone marrow

The nice thing about cooking prime or choice-grade steak is a) they taste awesome and b) they take no time to cook. On the flip side, they also take no time to mess up. Leave your steak on the grill for too long and you’ll end up with a leathery disaster. But we left our freshly cut steaks on the grill for about two minutes on each side, yielding a rare or “sanguine” as Chef Alain Sailhac said as he fingered our steaks. (That’s the way he prefers to eat it, too.) Leave it on the grill for more than six minutes (depending on the thickness), and you’re moving into medium to medium-well territory. This makes me nervous because I never want to destroy an expensive piece of beef—especially when I’m facing a tote-wearing chef.

We perfected the technique of quadrillage, or making those crisscrossed markings on flesh. All you need to do is basically make a “V” with your steak. The first sear should be at a 45-degree angle on your left and then turn it 45 degrees to your right.

TIP OF THE DAY: Never boil your ribs before grilling them. You’ll lose a lot of the flavor. Instead, grill them over indirect heat for a longer period of time to concentrate the flavor.

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