Two weeks ago, while hosting the steak-obsessed father in law for dinner, I reached the grilling mountaintop. Here’s how I did it.
First, I had my butcher (Roger at Weber Meat Market in Jefferson City) cut cut four, 1 1/4-inch bone-in ribeyes off the front end of a rack of beef. The steaks at the front end are bigger and more marbeled than those toward the back of the animal. This set me back almost $70, but I had enough steak for at least six or seven normal people.
Then, and this was the critical step, I left them uncovered on a rack in the refrigerator for two days. This dry-aging process concentrates the meat’s flavor, giving it an intense beefiness. Far superior than just pulling something off a styrofoam tray and slapping it on the grill.
Next came a rub. I’d received a jar of Quebec Beef Spice from The Spice House in Chicago years ago for a gift and never used much of it. It’s mostly course-ground pepper with some salt, sugar, minced garlic and cracked coriander mixed in. I thought these aggressive flavors and textures would stand up well to my dry-agd steak, so I poured the seasoning onto the steaks, rubbed it into the meat and let them sit for about 30 minutes. After eight minutes on the grill (four per side) the steaks were crusted, yet medium rare in the center, and perfect.
I made other dishes that night – potatoes, I think…and maybe grilled zucchini – but the steak was all that mattered. Tender as filet mignon but with flavor, we ate quietly, almost reverent. My father in law pronounced it the best home steak he’d ever had; not a bad bonus at all.
Note: The spice mixture I rubbed onto the steaks cost just $8 for a half a pound, which would probably service 15-20 steaks. It’s well-worth the purchase, but you could always mix up your own batch. Just remember, everything flows from the pepper on this one, so don’t be shy with the pepper mill.