Northwest NEWS

July 8, 2002

Home & Garden


Dining In: Steak secrets

3 easy steps to grilling beef steaks:
   ¥ Prepare charcoal for grilling. When coals are medium, ash-covered (about 30 minutes), spread in single layer and check cooking temperature. Position cooking grid. (To check temperature, cautiously hold the palm of your hand above the coals at cooking height. Count the number of seconds you can hold your hand in that position before the heat forces you to pull it away; 4 seconds for medium heat.)
   ¥ Season steak (straight from refrigerator) with herbs or spices as desired. Place on cooking grid directly over coals.
   Marinade Magic:
   There's no mystery to marinating. Marinades are seasoned liquid mixtures that serve two purposes: to add flavor and, in some cases, to help tenderize. A tenderizing marinade must contain an acidic ingredient like lemon juice, yogurt, wine or vinegarÑor a natural tenderizing enzyme from fresh papaya, ginger, pineapple or figs. To add flavor, steaks need only be marinated for 15 minutes or up to 2 hours.To tenderize, steaks need to marinate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours. Marinating longer than this can result in a mushy surface texture. Always marinate in the refrigerator, never at room temperature where bacteria can thrive.
   Marinate in a food-safe plastic bag or nonreactive container. Turn the steak occasionally to allow even exposure to the marinade.
   If a marinade is to be used as a baste for the beef or later as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the beef. Marinade that has been in contact with raw meat must be brought to a full rolling boil before using as a sauce.
   Never save and reuse a marinade.
   Allow 1/4 to 1/2 cup marinade for each 1 to 2 pounds of beef.
   Caribbean Jerk-Style Marinade
   3/4 c. prepared Italian dressing
   1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
   1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
   1 large jalape–o pepper, seeded and finely chopped
   1 tsp. ground allspice
   1 tsp. ground ginger
   Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
   Makes about 3/4 cup.
   Zesty Southwestern Marinade
   1/2 c. olive oil
   1/3 c. fresh lime juice
   2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
   4 tsp. ground cumin
   3 large cloves garlic, minced
   1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves, crushed
   Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
   Makes about 3/4 cup.
   Here's the Rub:
   Rubs are blends of fresh or dried herbs and spices that add flavor to steaks (they don't tenderize). It's easy to make your own or you can purchase prepared blends in the supermarket spice section. Apply rubs evenly to both sides of steaks.
   The amount depends on your taste preference and the beef cut.
   Garlic-Thyme Rub
   1 to 2 Tbsp. cracked black pepper
   3 cloves garlic, minced
   2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
   Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
   Lemon Pepper Rub
   2-1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
   3 large cloves garlic, minced
   1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
   Combine all ingredients in small bowl.
   Spicy Seasoning Rub
   3 Tbsp. chili powder
   2 tsp. ground cumin
   1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
   3/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
   1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
   Combine all ingredients. Cover and store in airtight container. Shake before using to blend.
   Makes about 1/3 cup.
   Recipes courtesy of Family Features