I love a really good fillet mignon from time to time, but my purse never does! Here is a super easy way to make even the cheapest cuts of steak into a velvety delight, using just salt and sugar. Salt draws out the liquids in the meat, then as it sits, it goes back in. Sugar is a natural tenderizer and also helps to offset the salt.
I don't really measure it, I just sprinkle a half and half mixture of salt and sugar to coat the meat. The thicker the cut, the more to pour on.Flip over and coat the other side with salt and sugar. Let it sit out at room temperature for an hour. Rinse off the salt and sugar really well. Pat dry. Season with pepper (if you like) and cook it in a hot oiled pan on both sides. Believe me, this works for even the chewiest cuts. Sometimes my husband will challenge me by buying a horrible steak, I always win!
PS: Please don't overcook your meats. It's not right! ;)
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The marinating time for these steaks is worth it because they are so tender you can almost cut them with a fork! And don't forget a loaded baker to accompany on the side.
For absolutely great steaks, get a thick slice of sirloin steak, put it in a zip lock bag with Italian dressing (any kind) and leave it sit at a minimum of 2 hours. It can stay as long as a day.
If you haven't tried a Flat Iron Steak, it's an economical cut of beef and you should try it. I can buy a $7.00 steak, $5.00 if you have a Kroger's card and feed three adults. What they call Flat Iron Steak at Wal-Mart isn't the real deal. Krogers is the only store around here that I know for sure carries them, but I'm sure there are other stores in other areas that do.
Coarsely crush peppercorns. Paint steaks liberally with mustard. Cover steaks with peppercorns. Place on HOT grill to sear. Paint backside. Cover with peppercorns. Turn over to sear.
Preheat grill for high heat. Rub each steak lightly with olive oil (this insures the steak won't stick to the grill). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Rub fresh garlic into both sides of each steak, leaving bits of garlic on each.
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What is the mistake made when charcoal grilling steaks that makes the meat taste like the lighter fluid? What, if anything, can be done to camoflage that taste once cooked?
Your mistake is likely putting the steaks on the fire too soon. Whether you're using a match-lighting charcoal, or regular charcoal lit with fluid, you need to let the fluid burn thoroughly out. The easiest way to be sure you've done this is to make sure ALL the coals have burnt till the outside of each is totally gray. You shouldn't be seeing any black.
I would suggest using a good quality, non-match-lighting charcoal, and starting it without fluid. You can buy chimneys that you fill the top with charcoal, and the bottoms with crumpled newspapers which you light. They do a marvelous job and no fluid taste. (Also safer than fluid, for you and the environment!) You can also get electric lighters; but the chimneys are so easy and once you've bought one, cheap to use!
best solution is prevention, but good ol' steak sauce, BBQ sauce and onions come to mind to mask the taste.
The chimney starters are great, and have another advantage over electric: they work anywhere there is dry newspaper available. Jilson's other suggestions are good too. I have made the mistake of putting the food on too soon, and it's hard to resist if I'm really hungry, but don't let your hunger ruin your food. Here are a couple of tips:
First, or course, is to start the fire earlier and give yourself plenty of time to prepare the meal.. "Haste Makes Waste", and that fact is never more evident than when preparing food.
Second, if time slips up on you and you (or your guests) are too hungry to wait, go to "plan B"... skip the grill and cook the steaks on the stove. My trick for this is to rub the meat with freshly crushed garlic and black pepper. Then get an ungreased cast iron griddle or skillet really hot and sprinkle table salt liberally on it. Throw the steaks on and sear one side, then lift them, re-salt the skillet, and sear the other side. I like my steaks just barely dead so if I'm just cooking for myself, they are done. If cooking for someone who likes their steaks cooked past 'Rare', turn the heat down to med. just before searing the second side. Once seared, flip steaks and finish cooking side one, then flip again and finish side two. (Salt is not needed once they are seared.) Searing the steaks in this manner seals in the juices and they come out nice and tender and juicy. Note that I did not salt the steaks, only the griddle. This is because salt dries and toughens meat. The hot salt and heat on the griddle toughens only a very thin layer on the outside of the meat, sealing it well, and the salt helps keep the meat from sticking to the iron.
This won't match the flavor of charcoal cooking but if you're too hungry to wait or grilling is impractical for whatever reason, it's a pretty good alternative. It also works well for burgers and other meats.
Wait for your briquets to be covered with white ash before cooking. Even better, use one of those chimney starters to get the coals going with a couple of sheets of newspaper in the bottom to help speed things along.
When using lighter fluid, even if you are not tasting it, you may be eating it.
Alternative: chimney starter
liquid smoke and the indoor grill method described by 'Alph'.