It has been unusually cool here near Charleston, SC, but our summer is just around the corner. Summer, in my world means grilling and not just steaks, but vegetables, too.
Our third and final installment of recipes from BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com take us out onto the porch where I fired up the grill to prepare herb crusted porterhouses with grilled tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. Don’t be dismayed if you feel sticker shock looking at the price of porterhouses, they are a rare treat and each steak is at least two servings. This rub will work for most grilled steaks. This rub will not take the place of a marinade if you prefer less tender cuts cooked over medium, for those steaks, you still need an acid to tenderize the meat.
If you are unfamiliar with cuts of beef, a porterhouse is similar to a T-bone steak, except it contains the tenderloin, the most tender part of a cow. T-bones and porterhouses are both excellent for grilling, as the bone enhances the flavor and helps retain the meat’s natural juices. Remember that one porterhouse does not equal one serving. Each steak is at least two servings. I cut the steaks before plating so every family member gets both the strip side and the tenderloin.
Here is the original recipe:
- 2 beef Porterhouse or T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound each)
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground mixed peppercorns (black, white, green and pink)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons coarsely ground mixed peppercorns (black, white, green and pink)
- Combine seasoning ingredients in small bowl; press evenly onto beef steaks.
- Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, uncovered, 14 to 16 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 15 to 19 minutes) for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.
- Remove bones from steaks; carve into slices. Season with 1 teaspoon peppercorns and salt, as desired.
*In the future I would add some salt directly to the herb rub.
Now, here’s how the meal was prepared at Heather’s house.
Excellent steaks are not pulled from the fridge and slapped on a grill. A little patience goes a long way to improving the flavor of your beef. First, take the steaks from the fridge and allow them to rest at room temperature while the herb crust is made.
The original recipe suggested merely stirring the ingredients together, but I prefer to process the items on my cutting board first. There are oils in both the garlic and pepper that are distributed when you chop them with the thyme and parsley. There is a method behind my madness. I made more herb rub than specified by the original recipe, as I have a devious plan for the rest.
I set aside some of the rub in a small bowl and added a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Once your herb rub is thoroughly combined, press it into all sides of your steaks. Wash your hands and go light your grill. These steaks are meant to be cooked over direct heat, but if you use a charcoal grill, you need to wait until your coals are nicely ash covered. Do you remember the hand test for grilling?
When grilling, whether on propane or over charcoal, use a “hand test” to determine the temperature. This does not mean touching the grate! Simply hold your open palm about an inch over the grate. A hot grill means you can only hold it there for a second, medium 3 – 4 seconds, and medium low you would be able to hang in for 5 – 7 seconds. The hand test does not mean you try to play hero, remove your hand from the heat the moment it becomes uncomfortable, it is just a general guideline.
When your grill is ready carefully give the rack a quick spray with cooking oil. I especially like the kind made for grilling. It’s available in both name brand and knock-off. Place the steaks on the grill.
Since I’m using a gas grill and want the steaks a little over medium, I’ll give them a quarter turn after five minutes. When grilling, it is important to remember that less is more. Try to leave the steaks alone as much as possible. Poking, rearranging, and generally messing with the steaks will increase the chance of a drier steak through loss of moisture. However, stay close by in case of flare ups. After another 4 – 5 minutes the these porterhouses should be about halfway done, this time when I do the quarter turn, I also turn the steak over. The rotation ensures that each part of the steak is heated as evenly as possible. Every grill whether gas or charcoal will have micro zones that are hotter or cooler than other portions of the cooking surface. This systematic approach ensures the most even cooking possible. If you are cooking a different cut of steak, you will have to adjust your cook time, but keep the idea the same, turning at each 1/4 of the estimated time.
Just like roasts, steaks need to rest for 10 minutes before cutting. This lets the juices that are on the surface of the steak seep back into the center.
Cut the steak from the bone and serve.
Grilled vegetables are a great summer side dish and go well with many dishes. To complement steak, I used the herb rub to flavor the olive oil I used to brush the tomatoes, zucchini and yellow squash.
To grill tomatoes, wash firm tomatoes and remove their stems. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out and discard the seeds.
Brush the tomatoes with olive oil and place on the grill. Grill the cut side from 3 – 4 minutes and the bottom for approximately 2 minutes. I like mine slightly more done.
Grill other vegetables just as you did the tomatoes. If you don’t have a basket designed for vegetables, it’s a little tedious to flip each piece, but well worth the effort. Thinner slices will cook faster than the tomatoes and I wouldn’t start grilling the vegetables until the steaks were done.
How was the meal received?
The meal was excellent, but the steak did need salt at the table. In the future when I prepare the rub, I’ll add a teaspoon of kosher salt to the mixture before I process it on the cutting board. However, this change is mostly due to personal preference. Your own mileage may vary.
Now, a quick look at the nutrition information as provided:
Lean cuts of beef are a favorite in my house. We balance our meals by consuming beef with lots of vegetables prepared in a healthy manner, as well as using reasonable portion control.