How to cook the perfect steak

Grilling the perfect steak is easy, as long as you follow a few simple steps. Cooking steak requires a bit of practice and some trial and error, but if you follow some of these pointers from Tim Petropoulos, owner of the Fireside Grill, you’ll be serving up perfectly cooked steaks in no time.

Type of Meat 

The cut you use is a matter of taste. “At the Fireside Grill, we use only Butcher Block AAA Alberta beef.  Sysco,our main food supplier and partner, has some of the best grading and ageing specs in the industry.” A great option, according to Petropoulos, is a rib eye steak. “It has lots of fat, and that’s where all the flavour comes from.”  

Room Temperature Only

Never take steak out of the fridge and put it directly onto the grill. It won’t cook evenly because the outside of the meat will cook faster than the inside. It’s always best to take your steak out of the fridge thirty minutes before you plan to cook it; remove the wrapping, place it on a plate, and let it come up to room temperature.

Seasoning

Tim says if you want it to taste like one cooked in a restaurant then adding ample seasoning is a must. Some restaurants use a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper, Fireside uses a recipe that Tim’s Greek uncles in Calgary came up with. Fireside Grill’s Steak and Rib Spice is available for sale at the restaurant but Tim says “another great alternative is Hy’s seasoning salt, which you can find in most grocery stores.”

Clean and Oil the Grill

Always begin with clean grill grates on your barbecue. Your steak will be easier to flip if your grill is clean but more importantly; it ensures that flavours from previous meals such as fish or chicken aren’t imparted onto your steak.  As a general practice, after cooking immediately burn off any leftover food from your grill by turning the heat onto high and brushing it clean. Before using your grill, put some vegetable oil on a paper towel and rub it to coat the cold grill grates, then fire up the heat.

Heating

To achieve a nice outer crust while keeping the middle cooked to your liking, set your barbecue to two different temperatures, one side at high heat for searing to get those nice grill marks, and the other side at a lower temperature for cooking.

Don’t Play with your Food

Touch or probe the steak for doneness, but don’t flip, move or poke it. Steak should only be moved once from a higher to a lower heat. Also, don’t puncture it, squeeze it or do anything to release the juices.  

Test for doneness

Fireside’s chefs know their way around the kitchen and they know how meat feels. Basically, they touch the steaks at different stages of grilling and determine doneness by the level of firmness. However, Petropoulos suggests that if you’re at home, use a meat thermometer. For rare steaks, remove at 120-125F, for medium rare at 125-130F, and medium at 130-135F.

Resting

One of the most important steps to cooking the perfect steak is allowing it to sit or rest. When a steak is cooked to your liking, take it off the grill; place it on a cutting board or platter, tent it loosely with aluminum foil and then let it rest for five minutes before cutting and serving. This gives the juices a chance to be drawn back into the steak to keep the meat juicy and flavourful. 

Finishing

When the steak is ready to serve, brush it with garlic butter. Alternatively, you can always have a perfectly cooked steak at the FiresideGrill.

As a child, Tim would watch his father, a young chef, butcher meat at Hy’s Steakhouse in Victoria B.C. Jimmy Petropoulos went on to open his own restaurants; Villa Roma, Jimmy’s Place and Barkley’s Steakhouse with Tim at his side. Family and community have always been important to Petropoulos, whose own children work at the Fireside Grill. “We’ve always loved the local Farm to Table approach to food and ingredients. We truly believe that in order to be successful on the Island, you must invest in all things local and care about your customers”.

Tim’s relation with local company Sysco has spanned over 40 years. Sysco believes “The beef community has a legacy of craftsmanship that is shared at all levels; the rancher who cares about having comfortable, healthy and productive cattle, the skilled butcher who cares about each cut of meat, the chef who knows how to maximize the flavor, tenderness and presentation. There’s an appreciation and recognition that the people involved have done their very best to bring healthy, tasty food to the table.”

Visit the Fireside Grill at 4509 West Saanich Rd in Victoria BC and see their menus at firesidegrill.com

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