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View Full Version : Waiting for meat & fire, Santa Maria question


dwfisk
05-18-2013, 02:53 PM
Sunday has become our family steak night tradition so by popular request wife is out looking for some +2 inch bone-in rib eyes for the inaugural cook on the new toy.
http://i1311.photobucket.com/albums/s661/dwf703/003_zps58c6c2d2.jpg
For those who cook on a "Santa Maria" style grill, any tips to help get me started?

Thanks in advance


Build thread here:
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=161033

landarc
05-18-2013, 03:21 PM
Cook over embers, not a flame. The fire needs to burn down to a nice layer of coals, then you can add a little more wood if you want, but, the coal bed is what does the work.

Since you are doing steaks, a lot depends on what level of done you prefer. I like to cook over a moderate heat, so I build a fire to allow for that, raise the grate up and bring the steaks to a nice 120F to 125F internal, then pull the steaks to a plate, drop the grate down to the heat and let it heat up again. Throw on for a sear and you are done. I tend not to salt and pepper my steaks all that much, a little Santa Maria rub to start and go. I add salt and pepper to taste once they cooking is done.

I would add, if you get a chance to see experienced Santa Maria cooks, they often start with the grate 24 to 30 inches above the fire. They start off low heat and finish high heat.

Mark R
05-18-2013, 04:13 PM
Sure looks cool.... cept that stuff around the bottom!:icon_shy

dwfisk
05-18-2013, 04:35 PM
Bob, thank you so much, never cooked like that before, but thats one reason why we built it, to learn something new. My tribe are all pretty much looking for a krusty char, but rare! I know it will depend on the heat of the coals, height of the grill grate and a number of other factors, but is there a rule of thumb for how long the initial getting up to temp might take? I'm just looking for a ballpark for planning - 20 min, an hour, more? I'll spend part of this evening looking at some videos.
Cook over embers, not a flame. The fire needs to burn down to a nice layer of coals, then you can add a little more wood if you want, but, the coal bed is what does the work.

Since you are doing steaks, a lot depends on what level of done you prefer. I like to cook over a moderate heat, so I build a fire to allow for that, raise the grate up and bring the steaks to a nice 120F to 125F internal, then pull the steaks to a plate, drop the grate down to the heat and let it heat up again. Throw on for a sear and you are done. I tend not to salt and pepper my steaks all that much, a little Santa Maria rub to start and go. I add salt and pepper to taste once they cooking is done.

I would add, if you get a chance to see experienced Santa Maria cooks, they often start with the grate 24 to 30 inches above the fire. They start off low heat and finish high heat.

Thanks Mark. The guy that did the plasma cuts for me has every kind of logo you could imagine - I gotta get me one!

Sure looks cool.... cept that stuff around the bottom!:icon_shy

landarc
05-18-2013, 05:09 PM
How rare are you talking?

I prefer medium rare, and it takes a good 20-30 minutes to get there, before the sear (Thus, I am very close to 225F at the grate). But, if you want black and blue, then just go for the super hot sear. Of course, this is going to be quite different, in that it is not on a smoker, and how you adjust the grate will be part of the learning curve. If you prefer a more traditional steak flavor, then use the old method of holding a hand over the coals. less than 4 seconds, you are at 450F or so, 4 to 8 seconds, more like 350F, and more like 10 seconds, around 250F or so.

If you get 2" thick steaks, I would set the grate at 10 second height and go 10 minutes per side (if you have a instant read thermo, just monitor to not overshoot), then drop to just above the fire and sear like a mad man.

dwfisk
05-18-2013, 05:16 PM
Got it, thanks for the info, the 10 second height for 10 per side, adjusted of course with actual temps, is what I'll shoot for. This is going to be fun.How rare are you talking?

I prefer medium rare, and it takes a good 20-30 minutes to get there, before the sear (Thus, I am very close to 225F at the grate). But, if you want black and blue, then just go for the super hot sear. Of course, this is going to be quite different, in that it is not on a smoker, and how you adjust the grate will be part of the learning curve. If you prefer a more traditional steak flavor, then use the old method of holding a hand over the coals. less than 4 seconds, you are at 450F or so, 4 to 8 seconds, more like 350F, and more like 10 seconds, around 250F or so.

If you get 2" thick steaks, I would set the grate at 10 second height and go 10 minutes per side (if you have a instant read thermo, just monitor to not overshoot), then drop to just above the fire and sear like a mad man.

chriscw81
05-18-2013, 06:43 PM
very nice! i plan on building a nice fire pit in my backyard some day and it would be cool to have santa maria grill that is removable.

dwfisk
05-18-2013, 06:49 PM
Yeah, a bonus. I had assumed I would use my front end loader to move it out of the fire ring (semi-portable), but the build only weighs 80#-100#, easily moved by 2. By tomorrow I'll know how it cooks!
very nice! i plan on building a nice fire pit in my backyard some day and it would be cool to have santa maria grill that is removable.

Pigdude
05-18-2013, 07:00 PM
Good luck on the first burn. Some of us are just looking at 2 pieces of large stainless steel.....thanks for your info.

boiler93
05-18-2013, 08:44 PM
Cant wait to see the first cook and go GATORS!

jonmhenderson
05-18-2013, 08:54 PM
I've been doing the 5-6 second fire here lately, so 5-6 minutes per side, and it seems to be a nice balance of char and juice. I will definitely agree with Landarc, go with coals, not burning wood. Let the benzines and pyrenes burn off.