Lab Report: Viability of a Bargain Steak Prepared by an Idiot
By Hugh Gallon
In Episode 31, I confessed to our pal our Johnny Prime that one (of many) manly skills I lack is the ability to cook a good steak. In response, Johnny told me: (a) it’s not that hard, and (b) you don’t need to spend money on the best piece of meat. Dubious of his faith in me, I found some bargain meat and got to work on this experiment (experi-meat?).
Hypothesis: Any steak prepared by me will require ample BBQ or steak sauce and also may poison my family for the following reasons:
- I lack is the skill, focus, and patience to prepare a good steak.
- I refuse to buy a quality piece of meat (I’ll just ruin it after all).
- My wife is on a “Whole 30” diet that restricts soy and sugar in a marinade.
Ingredients: 2.5 pounds of London Broil (on sale for $2.99 per pound); a marinade consisting of balsamic vinegar, onion, garlic, olive oil.
Method: Through an amalgamation of Johnny’s advice, know-how from Johnny’s recipes, and some Googling of “Whole 30,” the meat was marinated in Ziploc bag for about four (4) hours in the fridge, then removed for about an hour to reach room temperature, then patted dry with paper towels and prepared in two ways:
- Test #1: Broiler on High. 4-5 minutes. Flip. 4-5 more minutes.
- Test #2: 1-2 minutes over the stove (to sear), then in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 325 degrees.
All meats were allowed to rest before carving thin and against the grain with a long knife.
Findings: Success! I cooked a steak that didn’t need steak sauce. It also didn’t poison anybody. The steak in Test #2 (seared and baked) was slightly more rare and as a result, a bit more tender. The preparation was also more time intensive. The most important step was properly cutting it thin and against the grain. I cut off some larger chunks to taste test (and because I was impatient) and found the large slices to be much more tough simply because of the way it was cut. I will also credit the simple steps of letting the meat get to room temperature and patting it dry.
Final Result: Marinate. Room Temp. Pat Dry. Cook. Rest. Carve. If you have cheap meat and no talent, do all of these.. Don’t skip.
Hugh Gallon is a dad. A hungry dad. He can be heard on the podcast Hungry Dads, available in iTunes and at www.hungrydads.com