Q: I’ve mastered the burgers and dogs at the family barbecue, but what’s the best way to grill a steak?
A: It’s finally getting warm enough that the idea of firing up the grill is creeping into our minds.
It’s hard to go wrong with a grill, a steak, a beer and family. For me, the tastiest option is the rib-eye. Rib-eye is the steak Italians eat when they can’t find a T-bone for bistecca alla Fiorentina. But this cut is far from an ugly stepchild.
Rather than marinate the steak, use a dry rub, which causes the meat to exude some of its water. The result will be firmer, more flavorful and more intense-tasting beef. In this recipe, I use a mushroom spice rub. The sugar helps to develop a char, and the porcini powder adds an immeasurable earthy, umami component.
Every steak cooks differently, depending on the thickness and on the heat of the grill. If you’re working with a 2- to 3-inch rib-eye (as I recommend), the steak should be on the grill for about 25 minutes — perhaps counterintuitively.
Always make sure to set up the grill with one side hot and one side medium. Start the steak on the hottest part of the grill and cook unmoved 5 minutes. Create the beautiful grill marks by turning the steak 90 degrees and cook for another 4 minutes. At this point there should be deep char marks. If not, leave alone until there are, maybe another 4 minutes. Flip over and cook the same way, resisting the urge to turn more frequently. Those minutes over the charcoal will create a crust of deliciousness.
Check the meat temperature with an instant-read thermometer and cook until 125 degrees internal for medium-rare. If the steak is charred on both sides and still well under temp, cook it on the slow side of the grill with the top lowered for 3 minutes and then recheck the internal temperature. Continue until cooked just right. Be sure to let the meat rest 10 minutes off the heat before slicing; it will help the meat settle and retain its juices.
The word tagliata refers to the fact that the steak is served sliced rather than whole. Sprinkle the cut pieces with a coarse sea salt such as Maldon, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. A good salt crunch works really nicely to highlight the flavor of the steak.
Ramp up Father’s Day or any celebratory weekend with this dish. It never disappoints.