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Summer Grilling and Barbecue Series: How to Cook the Perfect Steak - Roundtable #1

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I’m sure we all will agree on this one

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

So there was a conversation between Greg, Patrick and I about how we cook our steaks. There were multiple references to this Letterkenny bit about cooking a steak.

Great bit about great food.

To no surprise, we found that Greg, Patrick and I do not cook our steaks in the same way. I mean there has to be a correct way to cook a steak. If there is in fact a correct way to cook a steak, then that means everybody else’s way is wrong.

I’m sure this should go well.


First - Which steak is the best. Is it the filet? New York strip? Sirloin? Which steak has the best combination of everything you want in deliciousness?

Patrick: Each cut is wonderful if properly cooked and not all cuts should be prepared the same way. Personally, I’m a porterhouse person. It’s big, juicy, fatty, and has everything you want in a steak. Get it with bone in and you can never go wrong.

Nate M: I am anti-filet. If you have to wrap something in bacon, that likely means that it the thing which you are wrapping lacks flavor. Or maybe, it’s just that bacon make everything better. Which it does. However, when I heard on The Chew that most chef’s prefer the ribeye I actually started getting ribeyes and I have not gone back since.

Mike: My favorite cut is the New York strip, typically cut at least an inch and a half to two inches thick. When you get it that thickness, it becomes easy to split the steak between my wife and myself. The upside on that is that it keeps the portion size manageable; the down side is that the steak gets cooked to my wife’s preference for doneness. (Sharing the steak doesn’t happen at restaurants where I don’t have control over the size of the cut ahead of time.)

Jon: I am going to make a confession that many will find outlandish, especially given the fact that I run a Nebraska web site and our beloved state is one of the top beef-producing states in the world. I don’t remember the last time I bought a steak. I can’t remember the last time I bought one to grill, at the grocery store, or even at a restaurant. I haven’t eaten a lot of red meat in a very long time, which you should all find not only deplorable but ironic since I’m the one that’s dropped dead of a heart attack. FML.

OTOH, I eat a lot of pork chops/cutlets and chicken.

Jill: We raise our own cattle and on any given year the group we sell grades 40%+ prime and 55%+ choice. We have every steak in the freezer and they are all good - you can even make some damn fine steaks out of parts of the chuck. My vote? Ribeye.

Evan W: I’m with Jill, Ribeye’s are by far my favorite steak. I think it’s all around the best steak IF you cook it right. I’m a huge steak guy, so I love everything, but if I had to choose one steak for the rest of my life it would be a ribeye. T-Bones are underrated by the way, and if you can find a wagyu steak in any cut buy it immediately.

Second - Is steak sauce acceptable? What about ketchup?

Patrick: To each their own but it hurts to watch someone eat a steak with ketchup. The only time I will go with steak sauce is if someone cooked it for me and they overdid it.

Nate M: Agree. To each their own. I will always remember that the first time I ate dinner with my future in-laws in Kansas City at their favorite steakhouse, Jess & Jim’s, my father-in-law told the waitress to remove any and all steak sauce from the table. She obliged.

Message received. I will not be putting steak sauce on my steak.

When it comes to ketchup, just don’t do it. My brother still to this day puts ketchup on his steak. Why not just order a burger without the bun? The ketchup taste is so strong that it has to cover up the goodness that is the taste of a well cooked steak.

In all honesty, if I am personally paying for a steak at a restaurant for you, you better not put ketchup on it. You better not put steak sauce on it. If you pay for the steak yourself, then go ahead and do whatever. But I better not be shelling out $28+ for a steak for you to ruin it.

Mike: Whether you agree with him on sports, we should all be able to agree with SI’s Andy Staples on the topic of sauce. While the quote originally referenced barbecue, it applies to pretty much anything beef.

Jon: I agree with Andy.

Jill: As mentioned, we have every kind of steak in the freezer. My kids think corn dogs are a treat. They’re allowed to put ketchup on corn dogs.

A little salt and pepper is all that is needed. If necessary, you can break out the Worcestershire. If you want to start a family fight, ask how to pronounce Worcestershire correctly.

Evan W: I like going with the classic A1 sauce. In honor of Patrick Mahomes, ketchup is a PERFECTLY REASONABLE sauce to put on a steak. I don’t like ketchup that much, but I will try ketchup on a steak this summer because Mahomes is the GOAT.

Third - Here is the big one. What is the best way to cook a steak? What is your process?

Patrick: Start the steak out at room temperature. Put a little bit of salt and pepper on both sides. Heat your bbq up to 400 degrees. Take a fork and a knife and start to eat the raw steak. Figure out what to do with the grill later.

Nate M: Salt the steak for at least an hour ahead of time. When the grill is ready to go, pat the steak down to remove that extra moisture. Then lightly brush olive oil on the steak and generously spread black pepper over the top. Place it on the grill until almost cooked and this flip for the last minute or two.

Down the hatch.

Jon: Someone else does it for me because I don’t do it enough and I suck.

Jill: Season with any non-iodized salt and some black pepper. Preheat the grill, but not too long. Searing steaks doesn’t actually “seal” in juices despite whatever Food Network tells you. If you do it right, you will flip only once. We like steaks just barely at medium (it took us a while to get the kids to eat them that way). Use a meat thermometer if you don’t grill steaks often. Remember they will still continue to cook after you pull them off or shut off the grill. Let them rest 10-15 minutes before cutting.

I tend to cook steaks at a much lower temp than ranchdude. It usually takes me a beer or so to get them to the right point (our butcher cuts ours extra thick). He cooks on high and thinks they taste like roast unless they are “crispy” somewhere. I think he burns them.

Don’t marry someone who doesn’t cook steak the same way as you.

Evan W: Personally, I love pan searing steaks. I love cooking them in a garlic herb butter and then sticking the pan in the oven on broil for about 5 minutes. Grilling is awesome, but the garlic butter is an amazing combination with any steak. If you haven’t tried it look up how to because I have no idea if five minutes is right. It’s just how I like my steaks.

Fourth - What are your favorite sides to go with your steak?

Patrick: Asparagus or brussels sprouts and a nice potato. Go full on steak meal if you are having a steak. If you are not ready for a nap then you did not do the steak justice. No post steak nap should be shorter than two hours.

If you are eating at an old school Omaha steak house then a side of pasta is perfectly fine.

Nate M: It depends. If I am able to go take a nap afterwards or go to sleep for the night then I’ll go with a loaded baked potato. However, if it a lunch and I have to go back to work then I’ll go with asparagus or broccoli.

Mike: The steak is the centerpiece, so it’s got to be some sort of potato (either baked, fries or hash browns). Asparagus is a great complement as well. What you don’t need is anything cheesy on the side, other than perhaps a garlic bread.

Jill: If we have fresh greens, a salad is nice on the side. We’ll often cube up potatoes, put them in foil with butter and garlic and put them on one of the grill burners about 15 minutes before we start the other burners for the steaks. Use heavy duty foil. Butter leaking from normal foil creates large flames. Prime or choice T-bone steaks do too. That’s why I always grill with a beer in hand. It’s a safety thing.

Evan W: I’m a huge meat and potatoes guy. Doesn’t everybody in Nebraska love the combination of meat and potatoes?


If there are other grilling or barbecue topics you’d like us to do a roundtable on, then just let us know in the comments or contact us in other ways.