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Steak house secrets. Make great steak at home every time!

photo credit: steak-house-recipe.com

photo credit: steak-house-recipe.com

photo credit: content.answers.com

photo credit: content.answers.com

photocredit: rockymountainsteak.com

photocredit: rockymountainsteak.com

BBQ season is thankfully here again, and it's hard to beat a great steak; but steak can also get pretty expensive, so you want to make sure that you're doing everything right to ensure that you get great steak-house quality steak every time you grill.

There's no recipe here, just a few simple tips that will help you get steak every bit as good as a great steak house, while enjoying it at home, and saving a small fortune in the process.

leave your steak in the fridge for a couple of days.

Now I know that this sounds a bit funny, but it will help a lot. Steak houses brag about dry aging their meat, and by leaving your steak exposed to the air in the fridge for a couple days, that's exactly what you'll be doing. Naturally occurring enzymes will start to beak down the proteins, both tenderizing and adding great beefy flavor. The air around the exposed steak will also suck moisture from the meat. This is good, as it will greatly concentrate the flavors. Buy your Saturday BBQ steak on Wednesday, take it out of the plastic (you can cover it loosely in a clean dish towel) and you'll be amazed how much better it is by Saturday.

Salt your steak raw

People will say that you shouldn't salt meat before cooking, and that is a bunch of baloney. The salt will draw out a very small fraction of moisture from the surface, but it will also draw out enzymes that will really help in getting a great brown crust on your steak. This brown crust can be the difference between average and extraordinary steak. It has to do with the caremalization of natural sugars, and it's definitely what you want to see!

Dry the steak before grilling

This will also help you get that great steak house brown crust. The drier the steak is, the less steam is created, and the better the caremalization of naturally occurring sugars.

Get your grill as hot as you can

You can always turn it down later if your steak is getting too browned, but you want to make sure you get the color and the texture of a great steak house crust...and that means really high heat. (another great tip for thin steaks is to cook them from partially frozen. This gives the outside time to brown before the outside is overcooked)

Be patient

A good rule of thumb is to let the steak rest off the heat for as long as you cooked it for. When the steak is on the grill, all the juices will rush towards the much hotter exterior. If you cut into a steak right off the heat, all those great juices will run out wasted onto the plate. By letting the steak rest, the juices will redistribute throughout the meat, and you will enjoy a much juicier more flavorful steak.

Of course the meat that you buy also makes a difference, but these tips will help you maximize the potential of whatever steak you buy.

Good luck and enjoy great summer days with family and friends by the BBQ.

A video guide to choosing a cut of steak


John D Lee (author) on October 24, 2009:

Hi The Rope,

Thanks for the tip - butter makes just about anything taste better I think...!

The Rope from SE US on October 18, 2009:

another great tip i learned from steak house cooks, daub a little bit of butter on the outside a few minutes prior to taking it off the grill. this also adds to the carmelization and adds a flavor that is second to none. promise! adding this as a link to my "eating out" hub, your advice is great!

Holle Abee from Georgia on October 12, 2009:

Thumbs up on a great hub!

Jason A. on June 20, 2009:

Could anyone tell me what kind of knife the butcher is using in the video? And don't say fillet knife! The brand!

Justin on January 16, 2009:

Guys - Many Thanks for the insider tips. I will be preparing an awesome dry aged skillet steak later tonight.

Jerry on May 18, 2007:

Thanks for the ideas I'm going to try them out right away.

tshirtscene on May 11, 2007:

they are John and like robin I have emailed a couple of my friends to come and take a look. good stuff!

John D Lee (author) on May 11, 2007:

Of course, that's great! It can be really frustrating when an expensive steak dissapoints, so I hope that these tips can be of some help.


Robin Edmondson from San Francisco on May 11, 2007:

Great hub. I just emailed it to my family, hope that's okay! ;)

John D Lee (author) on May 11, 2007:

No cling film, but you can use a clean cloth. You want the air to be exposed to the meat to help the enzyme activity along, and also to concentrate the flavors through evaporation. A lot of steak house chain sort of restaurants will tell you that they serve aged beef; but what this means a lot of the time is that the meat is aged in a vacuum sealed bag. This is not nearly as good as DRY AGED meat, but is a lot easier for them, and plus they don't like evaporation, as it costs them more to serve that 8 or 12oz steak.

I hope this helps clarify a bit.

Thanks for the comment

tshirtscene on May 11, 2007:

It's the one thing I have never been able to cook. A question on "dry aging" do you cover the refrigerated steak with cling film, or nothing at all?

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