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.