Sunday, January 17, 2010

Tenderize and Grill Thick Cut Top Sirloin

I started a video on how to tenderize beef but the video camera ran out of batteries before I finished , so I will just write it out this time and I'll do a video next time I cut steaks. After I explain the tenderizing process I will also describe how I grilled the steak. BTW, I like to tenderize all of my steaks at once...right after I cut them. (See video on how to cut your own steaks below). You can toss them in the freezer when you are done, and they are ready to grill when you need them.
For tenderizing you will need:

1) Thick cut Top Sirloin Steak (1-2 inches thick)
2) Sea Salt
3) Fresh Ground Pepper
4) Favorite dry rub (I use Costco's Sweet Mesquite Seasoning)
5) Johnny's Seasoning Salt (*optional)
6) Meat tenderizer (*optional)

First: pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Then we can begin seasoning our steaks on both sides. The key ingredient for tenderizing is the Sea Salt. It is the salt working with the temperature of the meat that actually begins to breakdown the tissue and tenderize the meat. You can use this method on any fleshy meat -- especially beef. It works best on thicker cuts, however.

So, liberally coat the steak on both sides with Sea Salt first, then add other seasonings to suit your taste. Basically everything except the Sea Salt is optional. As added insurance, I also use Adolph's Meat Tenderizer and Johnny Seasoning Salt on my steaks. Surprisingly, they are not too salty when the meat is done. The salt flavor seems to deplete itself during tenderizing process (trust me).

Once the steaks are seasoned, TURN OFF THE OVEN and put the steaks inside for about 15-20 minutes. This time will vary depending on you oven's ability to hold temperatures stable.

Here is the deal... and this is very important... we want to raise the internal temperature of the meat up above 95 degrees, but we cannot go over 120 degrees. Meat begins to work with the salts to naturally tenderize itself at 95 degrees, but the natural tenderizing process stops at 120 degrees. Once the meat hits 120, it won't tenderize any further. So watch the temps closely. I check my steaks often to ensure that I am not going over 120. If the oven starts to cool before reaching 95 degrees, you can turn it back on at 250 degrees for a few minutes at a time until you get the desired temperature. The steaks in the picture below had reached 100 degrees when I took them out -- that is perfect. I let them rest uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, while I started the coals for my grill.

You will notice that the meat expelled a lot of liquid into the pan. I turn the steaks over a couple of times while they are resting and they re-absorb much of that liquid.

At this point, I start my charcoal. I used a chimney starter full of Kingsford Charcoal and started soaking my Mesquite wood chunks (about 20 minutes, while the charcoal was getting ready). I built the fire in the smoke chamber of my smoker/grill because I was grilling relatively quick this this time.

When the coals are grey and ready I place my Mesquite wood on the coals and put the steaks on a grill that was about a foot away from the flames, and closed the lid. Don't be tempted to sear the meat upfront.

Go ahead and cook with indirect heat and smoke for 15 minutes on the first side. You may want to adjust your times based on various conditions. For instance, you will want to use the above time if the steak is at about room temperature to begin with, and outside temps are spring-like. If the steak has been thawed out and is still a little cold or frozen in spots, just go an extra five minutes on the first side. Likewise, if it is a hot summer day, you might want to cut the time back a little. Turn the steak over and let it go another 10 minutes on the second side.

Check the temperature often. For medium rare steak, cook to internal temp of 140-145. For medium steak (slightly pink) cook to 150, but not over. About 155 is the highest you will ever want to go, and that satisfies most well done steak lovers. If someone wants their steak a little more done, throw it over the coals and sear it uncovered for about 3-4 minutes on each side. That should get you 160, and hopefully prevent your meat from drying out. I cooked the steak in the (blurry) picture below to about 148 degrees at resting temperature. It is pink, but not raw.


Rob said...

I'm having friends over this weekend and I will definitely use this. I'm guessing I should set my smoker to around 300F to smoke these? Also, does sea salt achieve the same effect as kosher salt (like in a brine)? I'm excited to try cutting and tenderizing my own steaks!

Bent said...

Yes, both salts are essentially the same thing... But there is big difference between the coarser salts and the finer salts like table salt... and canning salt, which is dramatically different than all other salts...

BTW, 300F should do the trick, I would check the internal temps after 15 minutes if your are up to 110-120, you are doing good and you should only have another 10-15 minutes or so to reach 140-145...

Bent said...

Hey Bobby, I am not sure if I made it clear that you should make sure to leave enough time for the meat to cool down to room temps between tenderizing your meat in the oven and grilling it. Give it at least 20-30 minutes or so to rest...

Hodeaner Woodruff said...


What if I cook them on a Gas Grill after being put in the oven?
Are there any other specific instructions for a Gas Grill?

Also, what if I wanted to cook them in the oven completely and not on a Gas Grill?