"Not the victory but the action. Not the goal but the game.
In the deed the glory."

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Leon's Ribeyes - A Gift from God?

I like steak, to put it simply. All kinds of steak. You name it, I probably like it. My favorite steak though is a 20 0z ribeye from Leon's Neighborhood Grocer. You just can't beat it. There was a time in my life when I didn't know much about steak. It was a dark time that pains me to remember it. I would roll into SuperSaver, pick up the cheapest cut they had in the cooler, burn the crap out of it and dump half a bottle of A1 on it. I thought I was eating well. Luckily, one of the side benefits of hanging out with my now wife is that her brother Dan is a certified grill genius. We cooked big ribeyes after the Nicholls State vs NU game and they were fantastic! Definitely one of the highlights of being home.

Here is a picture of Dan and I while I was home on leave.
So, Dan took one look at my operation about 8 years ago and knew that I needed help. Actually I needed a grilling intervention. He took me under his wing and instructed me in the proper technique of:

  • Going to your neighborhood grocer instead of the big chain.
  • Talking directly to the butcher, and either selecting a fresh cut or having him cut one for you if there isn't one to your liking. Again, if you are at SuperSaver there is no way the 15 year old at the meat counter knows anything about meat so asking for a fresh one to be cut is probably only getting you a blank stare.
  • The bigger the better - if you are going to invest a couple of hours in the experience why get yourself an 8 oz sirloin? For a normal event, you are okay with a 16oz. For a special event like a Husker game, you should really be in the 20-24 oz range, with the smaller cut for the non-conference/KU/Baylor's of the world and the bigger cut for the OU/Texas/Bowl Game/etc. I remember a graduation party (I think it was my undergrad from UNL but they all kind of blend together) where we pushed up close to 32 ounces. Anything less is un-American.
  • Know your cuts. The ribeye is of course the king of steaks, but every once in a while you want to mix it up with a T Bone or a Strip to keep the defense honest
  • Dan is from the spice rub school of thought as opposed to the marinade, so that is how we roll. Only one choice here, seasoning from Misty's in Lincoln (which you can buy online Here, do yourself a favor and pick some of this up if you haven't already). The standard or old blue is the best for steak, I like the BBQ for chicken. The thought process here is that you are better off with the freshest cut of meat as opposed to a new day old cut that sits overnight in a marinade. Controversial, I know, but like I said, that is how we roll.
  • Charcoal is preferred, but I don't own a charcoal grill so most of the time I bow to the convenience of natural gas. Plus that is what Hank Hill likes. Preferably you should use a Weber grill. It just tastes better that way.
  • Take your time. We are in no hurry. Get some chips and salsa to munch on so you don't rush. I like Santatias (do yourself another favor and get these as well if you can find them, sometimes in the ethnic aisle) and Pace medium salsa, sometimes a little queso dip to spice it up a little bit.
  • You must, I repeat, must, drink some sort of malt beverage while grilling. It is scientifically proven that if you don't, you will burn your steak. I'm not kidding, I have years and years of grilling data to back this up, every time I have made the choice not to pop a Blue and Chrome once that meat hits the grill, things have turned out badly. Don't take the chance, pick up a 6 pack and avoid tempting fate. Don't overdo it though, you've made an investment in dinner and the last thing you need is to get all goofed up and pass out on the deck.
  • You want a medium heat to cook on. Indirect heat is the best. With a 2 inch thick steak you can't just throw it on the bottom rack on high, you will burn the outside and not cook the middle.
  • Okay, this part is important, so pay attention. You only want to turn your steak once. The key here is the the aforementioned medium heat and second rack. I like my steak medium rare so I try to cook it about 90% through before I flip it. This took me years of practice but I can now effectively hit the 1 flip almost every time. You will struggle the first few times, but practice makes perfect.
  • NO STEAK SAUCE ALLOWED. If you need A1, you messed up somewhere along the way (bought a steak from SuperSaver or overcooked your steak because you didn't have a beer in your hand).
  • Sides are up to you. We usually do a spud but it is personal preference. Keep in mind with your cut of meat when planning the sides, with a 20 oz ribeye you don't need a salad, beans, potato, and corn. One side will usually do it. The main goal here is the steak, so don't fill up beforehand. That is a rookie mistake. If you don't clean your plate than your buddies will make fun of you.

Well, it is hard to do justice to all that Dan has taught me, but that is a pretty good synopsis. This is a good cliff notes version, to really learn you have to get into the classroom and do some grilling under the master's watchful eye. Dan loves the Leon's steaks so much, he ended up coaching for their Leon's Midget Football team. They have won the city title 2 years in a row. SSG Johnson is also a coach as well. Brad did a post here abbot this year's team. I believe the team is 2-1 right now. Maybe Dan or Brandee can update everyone with a comment?

Here are some example pictures of the process. These are from our going away party at Camp Shelby. You probably have seen this already but they are always fun to look at. Dan and my father in law (Chief Weber) arranged for the steaks, and Brad's dad hauled them down to Mississippi. We grilled them up our last night in the States. I still think about how good they were. Like I said, Misty's won't steer you wrong.
Steaks on the grill. One of my favorite phrases in the world.


JH said...

Excellent work. I need to make sur and refrence this post when I get home. I'm definatley still living in the "dark ages" when it comes to grilling steaks. Thanks for showing me the light.

Brian said...

Amen brother! Amen!
Thanks to being in the right place at the right time I can confirm to your blog fans that this grilling method is far superior to any other conventional or experimental grill technique as you have explained. Dan truley is the Rib eye Yoda. Thanks to his close watch and consulting of my poor grilling style I been able to enjoy the same single flipped, Blue & Chrome shadowed mouth waternig experience that you have outlined.
I remember one Sunday afternoon, Dan & I had a little NASCAR watching to do & he fired up a Rib eye refresher course. With his domination of the grill these steaks were so good that just to show his grill master will, he shut down the eating of the steaks half way through...let em' get cold and then we finished them off about an half hour later. And...they were just as good as straight off the grill. Holy smokes is that guy good. And, I guess that's how to get away with the 32 ouncer. You can always take a break and get back in the game.

Thanks for the site to order the Misty's. Almost out. Now if only Leon's had a site to order the Rib eyes.

Ole' buddy B

Anonymous said...

Steve if only you knew what you've done by the posting of this one. Now there is talk of a throw down grill off when you get back...and a publication of sorts...
All I know, is that I'm glad I've got it in with the grillmaster. I've benefitted nicely from it.


Anonymous said...

As far as Leon's football goes...This season it's more about lessons learned and lasting friendships than it is about wins and losses I think.


Sack said...

Grill off????? I don't want any part of Dan on the grill, I still have too much to learn. Maybe in 10 years or so.

Well, you can't win a City title every year.

Anonymous said...

I think Big Steve wanted the grill off

Brad said...

Grill off...I'm in... as a judge of course. Winner gets a free Leons Football t-shirt autographed by yours truly.

Anonymous said...

Do you realize what a tough position you could be in as a judge? Sure you'll be getting stuffed full of delicious Leon's meat, but what if you make the wrong choice and cause a family dispute? However, if you're willing, that makes it easier on me. I said they should get some nonbiased judges...and with that autograph incentive. I'm sure they'll even step up to notches they hadn't even thought of! :)

Brian said...

Grill off?

I'll man the Blue & Chrome cooler, but getting into that would be about as smart as Pee Wee Herman getting in the ring with Mike Tyson.

Grill off, shoot. Good luck to those fools daring enough dance.



I'm hoping they bring back the Moose!

Anonymous said...

OK... Now that B-Rad has offered up an autographed Leon's T-Shirt. I am officially "N". Even though I have plenty of Leon's T-Shirts, just the chance of having B-Rads autograph takes this Grill Off to an entirely different level.

Grill Off! OK boys. Big Steve asked for it. Now it is time for me to show you all how it is done. If you think just by reading Sack's well written "Cliff's Notes" for the grill. You think that for a second you can step up into the big leagues with me... well, let's just say you all have another thing coming! It must have occurred to Sack that I have been holding major secrets back. At least it should have. I mean honestly you just can’t roll into Super Saver, pick up a “Shoulder Shank” and think you are doing well. Then to make matters even worse you roll through McDonalds on the way home only to pick up a 9 piece nugget cause you can’t wait. OK I will admit most of us have come a long way since those days. And Sack you and Old Buddy B know exactly what day I am talking about!!!

Here are the proposed rules.

Each contestant must grill 3 different cuts of meat.
1. Chicken
2. Beef
3. Pork

I believe that May or June would be a good time for all involved to partake in this Beat Down that I will impose on all new comers. That should be enough time for all challengers to come up with a plan or cower in certain defeat. I have all the materials that I need. What each of you needs to bring to the table is absolutely up to you. To be honest with you, it doesn’t matter to me when and where. I have grill and will travel!!!

Hey boys, great job on the run. I can’t tell you how proud I am of you two. I brag you guys up all the time and I pray often for you and your families. I am honored to know both of you. I am a better person because of knowing you guys. As you are both better cooks by knowing me :)

Take care, HEY SACK, HEY B-RAD!!!! NO FEAR!!!


Sack said...

I am in!!! I see this as a win-win for me. First of all, a chance to knock off the champion. Second, I think we'll eat pretty good.

Brian said...

Sound like D is ready to roll!

I'm in for the festivities and say what you will about my manhood, but I'm out of the competition. I mean come on, take on the "Yoda" or the "Mr. Miaggi" of the flame. No thanks! Have cooler of Blue & Chrome and will travel. Cigars will also be provided.

Ole Buddy B'