There’s more to perfecting the great Canadian backyard barbecue than just throwing the steaks on the grill. Canadian beef is some of the best in the world, so you are off to a good start if you’ve purchased Canadian beef! If you’re not sure if the beef at your grocery store is Canadian – just ask!
Here are a few insider steak tricks from the experts at the Canada Beef Centre of Excellence and our guest culinary collaborators:
- CBCE Butcher Abe Van Melle @CDNbeefbutcher: Choose the right type of steak. You don’t buy Blade Steak for the grill – that’s a steak that’s best for braising, not for grilling. Look for the name “Grilling Steak” on the package label for steaks best suited for the barbecue. Blade should be marked “Simmering Steak”. For easy on-the-go advice while you’re out grocery shopping, ‘The Roundup’ App is full of expert guidance on the best beef cuts for your needs – check out the Cuts by Colour guide – featuring every cut of beef plus the handy Butcher Backstory videos – starring – me!
- Canadian Living Test Kitchen Expert Irene Fong (dubbed The Steak Wizard): A flavourful, crunchy crust really catapults a steak from good to great. First, pat your steak dry, season (I love to use Maldon or coarse salt for extra crunch) and cook to your preference. Next, let it rest, uncovered, on a rack set on top of a plate or rimmed cookie sheet before diving in.
- Chef Johathan (CBCE): When you cook a lot of steaks day in day out as a line cook in a restaurant, you get to instinctively know when steak is done the way you want it done. So unless you are a line cook, it is best to use a digital instant read thermometer to test steaks for doneness.
- Home chef Joyce Parslow @CDNbeefrecipes: There’s no need to bring steaks to room temperature before cooking. Although some claim it helps your steak will cook more evenly, our tests showed that it really doesn’t make that much difference and it is not a recommended safe food handling practice anyway.
- Chef Marty Carpenter (CBCE): If you’re going to use a Marinating Steak (like Flank for example), follow these simple steps: pierce your marinating steak with a fork all over, cover and refrigerate to let flavours mingle. Our Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence tests show that it’s the piercing that makes the difference in the tenderness, so be sure not to miss this step!
- Jeffrey Steen of The Canadian Food & Wine Institute: Jeff likes to keep it simple when it comes to steaks – seasoning with just a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper before grilling to let the flavour of the beef shine through! He referenced that same advice came from Chef John Higgins of George Brown College. CBCE staffers agree: steaks don’t perform their best when cooked without seasoning – that is a Cook’s sin – but a simple salt & pepper is all that’s needed.
- Chef Tom Filippou, Loblaw Corporate chef, does this terrific ‘post-grill basting’ for steaks: mince garlic and tender herbs like cilantro, parsley, thyme and basil together on a cutting board. Mix in a little olive oil, miso or anchovy paste and a squeeze of lemon juice. When your steak comes off the grill, flip it over a couple of times on the board in the fresh herb mixture for a very flavourful ‘post-baste’. This really takes advantage of the seasonal herbs from your garden.
- Duane Ellard @CDNbeefvoice recommends thick steaks over thin ones for the best steaks from the grill. Thin steaks cook so quickly that it is difficult to keep steaks juicy, and cooking them to medium-rare if very tricky. Thick steaks help you get the most from your meat!
Looking for inspiration on the cut to choose? The Chefs from the Canadian Beef Centre of Excellence recommend Top Sirloin Cap Grilling Steak: good flavour, nicely portioned and just enough bite.
All this steak-talk got you hungry? Try this recipe out – the Flaming BBQ Beef Fajita is a zesty, slightly spicy steak-treat all the family will love plus with all the veggies, this dish helps your steak go further.