New York strip steaks seem like an extravagant luxury, and they are certainly pricier than hamburger. If they find their way into your budget and onto your menu, grilling them is fairly simple and quick. Charcoal grills impart the best flavor, although a propane grill is more convenient. The key to success using any kind of grill is getting it very hot before placing the steaks on to produce a nice seared crust.
The perfect grilled steak starts with high-quality meat. A New York strip, also known as a shell steak, is the meat that is left after the tenderloin is removed from the short loin. These robust steaks are tender, yet chewy, and full of flavor. Look for meat that is firm, with white flecks of fat throughout. Avoid steaks that have wide ropes of yellow fat or a coarse texture. New York strip should be cut at least 1 1/4 inch thick.
Man has had a fascination with cooking meat over fire for thousands of years, and with good reason. The intense, direct heat of an open flame caramelizes beef, causing it to develop a richly flavored crust. When you start the charcoal or gas flames, give the grill time to get hot and place the New York strips on it. A cast-iron grate is the best choice for even heat distribution, although stainless steel grates work too. Cook steaks for 2 to 3 minutes, then rotate them 90 degrees without turning them over to get the cross-hatch markings steaks are known for, according to Ray Lampe, author of "Ribs, Chops, Steaks and Wings." Cook another 2 to 3 minutes and then flip the steaks. The times may vary somewhat, depending on the thickness of the steaks and the level of doneness you're aiming for. Continue cooking until the steaks are done to your liking.
Seasoning a good New York strip is entirely a matter of preference. Some people like nothing more than salt and pepper -- and for kids, this is probably a good strategy. Your kids might also like a steak seasoned with a ranch-flavored mix. Others dress up steak with soy sauce, garlic, chile peppers, onions or a spicy steak rub. Top New York steaks with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions or blue cheese.
Knowing when a New York strip is done can be anxiety provoking, but you'll get the hang of it with practice. Grills vary in terms of heat output, but in general, cook steaks for 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare and 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium. Cook the steak for 6 to 7 minutes per side for well-done. Although a rare steak can be tempting, the USDA recommends cooking steak to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees F to prevent foodborne illnesses. One way to determine doneness is by pressing on the steaks with grill tongs. Rare meat still has quite a bit of give, while well-done is firm. When in doubt, remove the steak from the grill and make a small cut so you can examine the meat thoroughly. You can always put the steak back on the grill for a few more minutes, but once a steak's well-done, there's no going back.
- "Ribs, Chops, Steaks & Wings"; Ray Lampe; 2009
- "Lobel's Meat Bible"; Stanley Lobel, et al.; 2009
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