Now that Washington state's Snowmageddon 2019 is over, it’s time to dust off the grill and start barbecuing.
Good grilling is easy if you follow a few simple steps. Preheat your grill, maintain an even surface temperature, season the meat and vegetables and cook to your desired internal temperature.
You can use your favorite seasoning or just a good salt and pepper mix (two parts salt to one part pepper) is an excellent place to start. If you like more pepper, salt or other flavors then go for it. Start with pre-seasoning any meats or vegetables about 15 minutes before grilling. This will allow the seasoning to permeate the meat and vegetables while your grill heats up.
Whether you grill with different types of wood, charcoal, propane or the sun with a solar grill (yes, they make those), preheat the grill to about 300 degrees F. This will help to sear the flavors into the meat and create some excellent grill marks.
Maintaining an even grill surface temp around 225-300 degrees F helps to cook the meat evenly and promptly. Be patient while grilling and try not to flip your steaks more than once. A few minutes after you first put the steak on a hot and oiled grill you should turn it 90 degrees and let it continue to cook until some of the juices start to come out on the surface, then flip it again. When flipping or turning any steaks it’s best not to poke them, it will cause a lot of the juices to escape, I like to use a spatula or tongs.
There are many decent and inexpensive digital thermometers on the market, and they will help keep your dinner from drying out. I do prefer the thermometer that is attached to a wire that connects to a digital display, so I don’t have to keep opening my grill to check the temp by also poking more juice draining holes. All you do is poke it once and start cooking. Some of these probes have apps for your phone, so it will call you when it’s done...yes, that's the world we live in, and it might even connect to Facebook someday so your friends will know when it’s done ... hint, hint.
Washington state recommends cooking a steak to an internal temperature of least 145 degrees and letting it rest for 3 minutes before cutting or eating. Other proteins will have different recommended cooking temperatures and times so you can look them up by following this link to their website - https://www.doh.wa.gov/YouandYourFamily/FoodSafety/Tips. I like to cook my steak to about 130 degrees F, but my wife loves it cooked to about 120 degrees F, so I place my steak on the grill a few minutes before hers, so they get done about the same time.
I love serving a compound butter on my steaks, and my favorite is a garlic butter made with a lot of garlic because I like to make "garlic butter" not butter with garlic when I cook. The butter melts and mixes with the juices from the steak, which adds a nice flavor combination.
I will explain in the recipe below on how to prepare my pan-fried potatoes, crispy fried leeks and asparagus wrapped in bacon.
Preparation time is about 30 minutes
Cooking items needed
An outdoor grill or a grill pan
A tabletop fryer or a 2-quart saucepan
Stovetop and large sauté pan
Making the garlic butter
4 ounces butter, can use salted or unsalted
2 tablespoons fresh garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh shallots, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cilantro or parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- Soften the butter in a microwave for a few seconds.
- Add chopped garlic, shallots and cilantro to the butter and mix together.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, about ½ teaspoon.
- You can leave it as is and just put a little on the steak when it’s ready to be served, or what I like to do is put it in the bottom of a ziplock bag and flatten it out, so it’s about ¼ inch thick. I place it in the fridge for later. This will allow to cut out some nice butter shapes to put on the steak. Either way works.
- Save any extra garlic butter by storing it in the freezer to cook or grill with later.
Making the asparagus wrapped in bacon
6 each medium asparagus spears, per order
6 pieces uncooked bacon
- It’s best to remove the bottom portion of the asparagus because it will be tough. The easiest way is to grab an end of the spear in each hand and bend it slowly until it breaks. This will tell you the best place to trim off the bottom.
- After trimming the asparagus, wrap each spear with a strip of bacon. For best results and shorter cooking time, use a thin to medium thick cut of bacon.
- As you wrap the bacon around the asparagus be sure to stretch it so it will tighten up as it cooks. This will hold it together better.
- You can cook it on the grill, but be careful of flare-ups, or bake in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is cooked.
- Making the fried leeks
Grapeseed oil or another high-temperature cooking oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup corn starch
Salt, a small pinch
Have some paper towels ready to put the leeks on when they get done.
- Cut the root off the bottom of the leek if it’s there.
- Cut the leek into about 3-inch sections. Cut the sections in half and slice it into thin strips, about an 1/8 of inch thick.
- Mix the flour and corn starch together followed by adding the leeks. Sift out any extra flour and corn starch.
- Heat about 3 cups of grapeseed oil in a 2-quart saucepan on medium-high heat. Grape seed oil is good because it has a high smoke point and is suitable for cooking at a high-temperature.
- When the oil gets hot, add enough of the leeks to fill the top of the oil level.
- They won’t take long to cook so stir them a few times, so they cook evenly. You want to cook them until they start to turn golden brown. But be careful because they will quickly go from those look great—to I burned them.
- When they are golden brown, still with a little bit of green is okay, take them out and put them on a paper towel. Repeat the process if you have more to cook. The green parts won’t be crispy, so you want more golden brown than green.
- If you have a small tabletop fryer, you could use it instead of the pan on the stove top method.
Making the pan-fried potatoes
¾ pounds red potatoes (approx.)
Grape seed oil, or another high temp cooking oil
Salt and pepper, a small amount
Garlic butter, a small amount
- Wash and cut the potatoes into ¼ inch thick slices.
- Put enough grapeseed oil in a large sauté pan to cover the bottom about 1/8 of an inch.
- Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil gets hot, add enough of the potatoes to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Add a little salt and pepper.
- When the bottom side of the sliced potatoes turn brown, flip it over and continue cooking until the other side turns brown.
- Mix in about a teaspoon or so of the garlic butter to lightly coat the potatoes.
- How to grill your T-bone steak
1 T-bone steak per person or two people can share.
(I selected the T-bone steak because it has two of my favorite cuts in one—the tenderloin is the small side, and the New York strip loin is the longer side.)
2 teaspoons salt, coarse ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
- Season each side of the T-bone steak with a little salt and pepper.
- Preheat the grill.
- When the grill surface temperature is about 300 degrees F, place the steak on the grill.
- Let it sizzle for a few minutes. Then, lift it with a pair of tongs or a spatula and rotate it 90 degrees to the left or right and at the same time by moving it to an unused part of the grill. This will help get a fresh new set of grill marks on your steak. I know I’m talking a lot about steaks, but this should also work for a veggie burger.
- Once the moisture starts to form on the top of the steak (not sure about the veggie burger, you’re on your own there), flip the steak over and continue to cook it until the steak reaches your desired internal temp.