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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Old 03-22-2015, 08:05 PM   #1
theTastyCat
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Default Let's talk about crust, baby

...let's talk about you and me.

So I think my very favorite thing about a perfect steak is the lovely, charred, delicious crust. I've gleaned a tiny bit about how to get that crust but definitely want to hear your secrets too.

First things first; I know that the best way is to sear a beautiful 2-inch steak to your liking, then indirect until it's done. Unfortunately my budget is far more in the turning-black-and-on-sale-for-$5/lb (but absolutely wonderful) steak than the custom order straight from the slicer. Unfortunately, around here steaks can seldom be found thicker than an inch or so unless you get them custom-cut. So....1-inch or so it is for me.

But I can make it work. I do a salt dry-brine, rinse and dry, then pepper generously. I get the Weber as hot with RO Lump as I can and throw them on with no lid. I used to keep the lid shut but I soon realized that was dumb since I want as much heat on the outside to get a lovely crust but without overcooking the middle.

I've gotten some really nice results with this, but the thread about the coffee-rubbed ribeye got me thinking; would I get a better crust adding coffee or anything else in a rub? It seems to make sense that I would, as it would provide more matter to char and create fantastic flavor. That said, the salt brine and then pepper gives the steak *magnificent* flavor, and I'd love to not compromise that too much, but would sure be willing to try if it would give a better crust!

So - fire away!!

Thanks all.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:21 PM   #2
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Itr's all about choice. I too like a nice bark on a rare steak so I usually go hot and fast and lately have cooked the steak on the chimmeny of coals with a few wood chunks added.

We have been playing around with a mushroom rub that is fantastic. Again, it it all about taste and choce - what you like.

Here is what we made:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=206808

There are several Great steaks here in this TD
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=206337

Hope this helps
SD
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:26 PM   #3
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It's not nearly as much about what you put on it, as it is about temp and surface treatment. You want a farkin' face searing heat. A chimney full with a grate on it works wonders. You want hot hot hot.

Second thing you want is a dry surface. Your steak will crust better/quicker if the surface is dry. Rub your steak and then let it sit, uncovered on a rack, in the fridge for a couple hours. It will help dry the surfaces of your meat and create a bit of a pellicle.
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #4
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^^^ - He knows! - ^^^
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:42 PM   #5
theTastyCat
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Brilliant! Many thanks, guys.

Shag, let me grasp this - I usually spray with olive oil then pepper right before they go on the grill, but you're saying let them dry in the fridge after I do that. I'd never heard of a pellicle, but I have now!!

I'd love to try the chimney/grate trick, but it seems like that would only be able to hold one steak at once; for two, I can see that working ok...any hints for preparing four or more steaks and trying to have them ready around the same time?
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Old 03-22-2015, 08:49 PM   #6
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I have done multiples one at a time. They cook so quick, you can do one at a time and they are all still hot. They literally take 3 minutes each at best. I'm also a believer in the flip every 20-30 seconds method for faster cooking and better crust as well. Amazing ribs has a nice piece on that.

If you want/need to do more steaks at once, build a super hot friggin fire in your weber. Like 2 or 3x as many coals as you normally would, or even put the charcoal grate up on bricks to make it closer to your cook grate.

I do not oil my steaks.. Just dry rub and then into the fridge. The oil could inhibit your bark. I would oil the grate and try keeping the oil off the steak.
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:22 PM   #7
theTastyCat
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No kidding! I guess I figured the olive oil would help the pepper stick. So pepper, into the fridge for a couple hours, huge fire...sounds like a winner!!

Will definitely be looking at that amazing ribs article now......

Many thanks!!
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:31 PM   #8
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Salt. Definitely use some salt too. While you're on amazing ribs, look up dry brining. Salt is crucial for a good crust too. Helps dry out your surface and tenderize the meat as well.
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:13 PM   #9
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This all sounds so good, will have to try the dry to achieve a pellicle then quick sear. Got it. I've done the pellicle thing when making jerkey. never thought to let a pellicle form on a steak before. Brilliant!!!!
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Old 03-22-2015, 10:52 PM   #10
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dry meat, use rock salt instead of kosher, grill hot, knock excess salt off, rest....
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:17 AM   #11
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The drier the steak the better as mentioned above. However I've tried dusting the surface of the steak with the seasoning and arrowroot. I don't know exactly why that works. I heard about it, tried it, and it does help get a nice crust on a steak. High heat is the way to go.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:45 AM   #12
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Fresh Market has a chateaubriand cut filet mignon 2" thick 12 OZ for $17. It's enough for 2. Worcestershire, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper on each flip.
I cook on infra red wide open for 4 minutes then rotate and flip. Nice hatch pattern char. Cook until 128 - 130*. Let it rest 5 min. Perfect medium rare + or medium -. Takes 16 min.
For a full char 8 & 8.
I have not been able to duplicate the precision with charcoal.
Using the thermapen has really improved the result.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:51 AM   #13
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The best way to a great crust is all based on surfaces. First, as others have said, the steak has to be very dry. The second surface you should worry about is the cooking surface. Cooking directly over screaming hot coals is great and all, but is nowhere near as good for crust as cooking on a flat cast iron surface. Metal can transfer heat a lot quicker than air, so it will sear much quicker. Also, there is a huge difference between a good crust and burnt char. Getting the meat onto intense heat, while keeping it out of direct flames, is key.
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Old 03-23-2015, 12:51 PM   #14
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Other advice: Use a cast iron pan instead of a grill. You love the crust so much...why limit it to just the lines from the grill? Using a flat cast iron gives you that crust across the entire steak!
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Old 03-23-2015, 01:11 PM   #15
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Or... Get a set of GrillGrates, flip them upside down, and sear on the flat side. I swear I use my GrillGrates upside down more than right side up (burgers and dogs). I do reverse sear on my gasser. Left burners on high, GrillGrates over the burners, and steaks on the right side. When they get up to about 115* IT, I slap them on that griddle, wait a couple mins, and flip.

Last time I got something from them, they sent me a coupon code to share with friends for a 10% discount. Just enter SHARE15 in the coupon code box.
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