Tips From the Pros: DOING AWAY WITH STEAKS’ OBNOXIOUS GREY BAND
May 28, 2013
If you’re like me, you’ve experienced that obnoxious grey band when you slice into what should be a perfectly grilled steak. Recently Jesse Black of Thermoworks joined Grillingwithrich.com for his take on remedying the situation.
Many folks were taken aback when we suggested that you par freeze your steaks before introducing them to the heat. Common practice tells you that steaks have to be left on the counter (at room temperature) in an effort to start raising the internal temperature from 40°F toward its target temperature of 130°F (medium). The theory being, with “warmer” meat, the middle can come up to temperature before a dry grey band of overcooked meat can develop – a particular problem with thick-cut steaks.
The problem is, a one- or two-hour rest at room temperature does little to significantly move your meat’s internal temperature towards doneness. Not only that, but leaving your meat out on the counter puts it in the food danger zone and can drastically increase the chances you’ll ingest an unholy amount of bacteria.
Here’s what we found: For a 1-inch thick ribeye, the temperature increased from 41°F to only 52°F after an hour on the counter, and rose to 62°F after two hours. When a refrigerated steak was cooked next to its “warmer” counterpart, the results were the same – a grey band under the crust. Completely unacceptable!
Well, a few weeks back, when we introduced three easy steps to creating a tantalizing crust on your steak, we wrote that “few things were more impressive than a crispy crust on a thick steak.” What we didn’t do – and shame on us – was address the importance of what’s going on under that perfectly constructed crust. That grey band of overcooked meat that forms under the crust is an eye sore that needs to be eliminated.
Here’s how you do it -
First – Don’t even think about leaving your expensive steak on the counter! Before you know it a family of E.coli will have set up shop and that fine cut, marbled piece of protein will no longer be yours for the taking. Instead, leave the steak in the fridge, pre-heat your oven to 275°F and make yourself a cold beverage.
Next – Using an Original Oven Thermometer, insert a probe into the center of your steak (you’ll probably have to come at it from the side) and set the alarm for 95°F. Place your steak on an oven sheet and put it in the oven. When your steak hits it’s target 95°F it will be ready to sear on the grill. Using this technique will sufficiently increase the internal temperature of the steak before too much bacteria has a chance to stake a claim.
Finally – Introduce your steak to the flames and cook to your preferred temperature. A fast and accurate thermometer is a must during this process because a few unattended seconds can mean the difference between perfect and perfectly overcooked. After a brief rest, your first cut should reveal that there is little to no greying near the top layer.
- Never leave your steaks on the counter for extended periods of time
- Allow your steaks to warm to 95°F before introducing them to the flames
- Spot check your steak with a Thermapen to ensure perfect doneness
Thanks Jesse and we hope to hear more great tips from you real soon!