Steak porn: a sirloin odyssey

I came back from Las Vacas with a couple of prime cuts today, one being a lovely little sirloin. About 300grams (10oz) of loving, juicy meat. The hours to iftar seemed like a long haul. But the wait was worth it in the end.

This is a pictorial of what i did.

I started the ball rolling at exactly 6pm. The dry brining process takes about 60-75 minutes to complete. All good steak houses brine their meat prior to cooking; this basically means they soak their meat in salt water, then let it sit. The purpose of brining is to ensure that the meat retains its moisture during the cooking process. As opposed to wet brining, i prefer “dry brining” — while offering better results, wet brining runs the risk of the meat absorbing too much water and bloating. That’s bad. So unless you’re really meticulous in your timing, dry brining is a lot less complicated.

IMG_5035.JPGDry brining is simple — just make sure the meat is dry out of the fridge by soaking up any access water with a napkin, then liberally spread salt onto both sides of the meat. Then leave it for 60 minutes at room temperature. Magic happens in that time. The salt will dissolve, the meat will absorb it, the meat will thus hold its juices better when you cook it, and thus be just that much more tender. 

IMG_5032.JPGI added some extra spices with the coarse sea salt i used: freshly grounded peppers, and some garlic powder. While i let the salt do its thing, i moved on to the potatoes.

IMG_5030.JPGRusset potatoes are just perfect for simple potato salads; they’re nice and starchy and, properly prepared, will melt in your mouth. I skinned 4 small potatoes, diced them and chucked them into a pot of boiling water for about 12 minutes. Drain out the water, shizzle a couple table spoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some thyme, then let sit. Just before serving, i add coarse sea salt, some thousand island dressing, and a dash of grated cheese.

IMG_5037.JPGIMG_5039.JPGRight, so 10 minutes before iftar, i start cooking the meat. My George Foreman electric grill was pre-heated to its maximum temperature (about 300-350 degrees celcius; ideally steaks should be cooked over 500-700 degree heat, but that’s only possible over charcoal or a very powerful gas broiler). I shizzled on a teaspoon of olive oil on each side of the meat, then smacked in on and let it cook for just about 5 minutes. That’s just about medium-well done. If i wanted the meat a bit more bloody, 3-4 minutes tops. 

IMG_5040.JPGIMG_5041.JPGIMG_5043.JPGIts important to let the meat sit for the same amount of time it cooked. This lets all the juices settle down; if you cut into it too early, all the juices just flow out… bye bye yummy meat juices. The timing was perfect, when iftar broke, the steak was ready to be eaten.

IMG_5045.JPGIt was heavenly. Just superb. The meat was sweet and exploding with juices. A little bit crisp on the outside where the heat has caramelized the sugars in the meat, and absolutely tender the inside. It was a great steak. 

IMG_5050.JPGGood meat from a good butcher, well prepared, well cooked. There could have been no other outcome.


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