Here is the inside scoop, secrets, pearls of wisdom, and other stuff that will turn you into a super-chef who can offer gourmet meals to crowds without breaking a sweat. As a bonus, you will be able to provide off-the-cuff dissertations on a variety of highly detailed cooking issues to educate your friends and to bore otherwise innocent partygoers into a state of stupor.

Perfect strip steaks

More reverse cooking. This time it is Strip steaks. It is best to get them on the thick side, although good results can be achieved with thinner offerings

1. Start off with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Rest them on aluminum foil twisted into a snake. This keeps them from touching metal and overcooking at the point of contact. Air can also circulate in order to heat evenly and to dry the surface.

strip steaks salted

2. Put them in the oven set to 200-225F, with a temp probe inserted horizontally as close as possible to the center of the meat. By using a temp probe with a wire, you don't have to keep opening the oven door to check temps. There are many offered on Amazon. Thermpro seems to be pretty good. One model has a separate alarm unit that is wireless so you can keep near your if you walk away from the oven; There is nothing worse than getting distracted and then coming back into the kitchen only to realize the temp alarm has been going off for quite awhile

steaks on foil

Cook until the temp is 130F for med rare; This will take about an hour maybe more depending on the starting temp and the thickness. Thinner steaks should be cooked a little less.

3. When steaks are up to temp, take them out and cover them. They can sit at room temp for an hour or more without any problem. This can be done well before guests arrive.

cooked steaks

4. Finish the steaks when you are ready to serve them. Use either a skillet or on a hot grill. Natural lump charcoal is the best since it add flavor and gets really hot. If using a skillet, cast iron works very well because it heats evenly and is not damaged by heat. I use Ghee(clarified butter) because it has good flavor and a very high smoke point. Heat it up to about 425F and put the steaks in. It is easy to check pan temperature using an infrared thermometer; I use one all the time.

Since the steak surface has been dried by the oven, the browning reaction will occur very quickly. A minute on each side, maybe a little less for thin steaks, will give a nice brown crust

searing steaks

finished steak


Outdoor Cooking on Cast Iron

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Know Thy Pan Temp

Cooking obviously requires heat. The variable that often escapes us is how much heat? Ovens have temperature controls, in fact it would seem absurd not to have this feature. How about the stovetop burners/elements? Ah, for these, we guess. For pancakes heart the griddle until a drop of water "dances" is a common line in recipes. For consistency, there is no real substitute for knowing the precise temperature of a pan especially when it is so easy to do.

1. Heat oils enough for browning but not to the point where they start to burn
2. Avoid food sticking in a pan that was not hot enough.
3. Brown food quickly without over cooking it
4. Impress friends and neighbors!
5. Avoid damaging pans by overheating them

I now have this infrared heat gun right next to my stove. Amazon Prime $20.88!! It is small and looks scientific.

Etekcity Lasergrip 1080 Non-contact Digital Laser Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun -58℉~1022℉ (-50℃~550℃), Yellow and Black

To brown food

1. Put skillet on stove, and turn heat to high
2. Add oil
3. Heat pan to between 375 and the smoke point of the oil
4. Add food
5. Adjust flame to maintain pan temp

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