Sunday, August 2, 2009

Steaks: DIY BBQ

with Wahcow, Wahcowmaiden, Taukwa, Kin and Edward

A call for basic instructions on a new espresso machine (Rancillo Silvia and Rocky) ended up with an opportunity for a barbeque...and with good meats, great company...we jumped at it.

Wahcow bought the steaks from Espirito Santo. Two striploin cuts of wagyu. Two thick slices of ribeye, and two slices of seasoned sirloins.

the two slices of wagyu

Much have been written about beef and steaks in this blog and elsewhere. My best experiences with steaks are with dry aged Angus beef. Sliced in thick pieces, seared to create Maillard (more about this later)...charred on the outside, but medium on the inside...a style known as Chicago Medium. The dry aging concentrates the flavours on the beef, intensifies it, and creates a tender, yet flavoursome steak. Starting with a large chunk of fat Angus is the dry aging process makes a great piece of beef a fantastic cut. Read more about this here.

the ribeye. I cut out the middle fat part, and grilled it separately till crispy pork lard

The grill was fired up, hot flames from the gas fired grill provided the power...but the heat is intensified by the lava rocks which were laid out in between the flame and the meat. As the fat from the steak melts, it provided fuel for the flame to flambe the rocks, providing a wonderful smoky aroma.

I grilled the steaks till Maillard Reaction is evident...see the brown texture of the beef. There have been some argument amongst the blogs that the browning is merely caramelizing and not Maillard. This argument stems from the fact that Maillard requires sugar and amino acids, but as no sugar is added, the reaction is not possible. However, the argument fails because within the muscle fibres of the meat, the animal stores sugar...and it is indeed this sugar present which completes the reactants to produce Maillard. The characteristic beautiful fragrance rises to meet one's nostrils. Wonderful.

The resultant steak? Perfect medium on the inside, brown and nice on the outside. We did not have the heat from either a burning charcoal ember or a flame torch to crisp and char the outsides...but the final steaks had a slight crisp on the outside, and wonderfully tender and a variation of medium-raw to medium on the inside. The variation was intended to cater to the tastes of the blessed, and a result of the uneven heat of the grill.

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