Mr. Willoughby is the steak-lover in our house, so we do have it from time to time because he enjoys it, but the kids and I don't normally get too excited about steak. New York Strips, Porterhouse, T-bones and Ribeyes can be tasty, but also tough even when we marinate them. Filets, though, are a different story. Diminutive as they may be, I'd rather have a tender, juicy, four ounce gem of steak than a twelve ounce piece of shoe leather any day. Sometimes, we'll buy a whole tenderloin and cut it into a dozen or more perfect little filets. The only down side is that it can be expensive.
So back to the method of transforming cheap steaks into heavenly deliciousness. It looked simple and inexpensive. It involves generously salting both sides of each steak with coarse salt, letting them sit at room temperature for an hour per inch of thickness, then rinsing, patting dry and grilling (click here for complete instructions). There is a scientific process that supposedly takes place to transform and tenderize your steaks.
We followed the instructions to the letter. Our steaks were New York Strips, just under and inch thick, so we let them process for about 45 minutes. As he took them out to grill them, Mr. Willoughby said they felt as tender as filets. Our hopes were high. A short while later, when he pulled them off the grill, the steaks did not look very promising. They had shrunk to less than half of their original thickness.
Cutting into them was disappointing to say the least. They were tough. Not kinda tough, sorta tough or a tiny bit tough. They were really tough! I didn't get a picture, but I found one on Google Images that comes close.
We're not quite ready to admit defeat on this intriguing method. We're willing to concede that the steaks were overcooked. It had gotten dark outside and a flashlight doesn't give the best light for accurately determining how cooked a steak may or may not be and the charcoal did flare up once or twice. Beyond that, more experimentation is needed before we can say whether we may have over or under processed the meat before cooking or if this method simply doesn't work for us.
On a more positive note, I decided to make Yorkshire Pudding instead of bread or rolls to go with our steaks, and it turned out wonderfully. I had never made Yorkshire Pudding before and I was worried that mine wouldn't puff up like they were supposed to due to my inexperience.
My fears were unfounded. They were puffed, airy and delicious! You can find the recipe I used here.
Now that you've heard my experimental steak story, I want to hear from you. Have you tried this method? Did it work for you? What is your favorite way to prepare and eat steak?