STEAK! How to Make the Best You’ve Ever Had

STEAK! How to Make the Best You’ve Ever Had

I know, I know…where the hell have I been?! Honestly, I’ve been busy and had a lot going on, BUT there’s really not much excuse for being away for over a year…sorry. It won’t happen again! It’s not fair to you guys. Anyway, enough with the mushy stuff…let’s get to what you really came here for.

Steak.

The word itself makes the mouth water and the heart flutter. There is just something about a good cut of beef that makes you feel warm and toasty inside…kind of like a good Irish whiskey ūüėČ

 

The Cut

Ok, so let’s get to it. First things first…buy a good cut of beef. Don’t settle for the cheapest, thinnest sirloin at the grocery store. Sirloins are fine, if that’s what you like, but they really don’t have the flavor of a better cut of beef. Some people like NY Strip, some people go big and get the Filet Mignon. Personally, my cr√®me de la cr√®me is the deliciously marbled Ribeye. The fat that is marbled throughout this cut adds a ton of flavor to the taste of the beef, itself.

 

The Seasoning

So, now we’ve gotten the right cut…here’s one of the big questions: How do I season/marinate it?

I used to use a few different things to season my steaks, but the problem was that the seasoning, though delicious, always overpowered the taste of the beef. A hamburger can have strong seasoning; it’s cheap, ground beef. You don’t buy a steak to taste just seasoning…it’s a waste of money. So what do we use?!

I’ve found the perfect combination and it’s only 3 things…

  • Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

Lawrys

  • Fresh-cracked pepper (I use a blend of black, red, green and white peppercorns in my grinder)

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  • Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce

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These three ingredients, when combined, are like summoning Captain Planet. It’s an explosion of flavor and accentuates the flavor of the beef and makes it the best steak you’ve ever had.

CaptainPlanet

 

The Method

Now that you’ve gotten your steak and seasonings, let’s talk method. There is a lot of controversy and discussion on how a steak should be prepared; from at what temperature it should be put on the heat to how long it should be left to marinate to using a grill or a pan. Personally, the grill or a cast iron skillet are the only ways to cook a steak. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We need to season the steaks first.

So, first you want to take your steaks out of the fridge and put them either in a large Tupperware container with a lid or on a large plate or tray. Then, use a fork to poke holes into the top surface of the steaks, only letting the prongs of the fork sink in about halfway…you don’t want the holes to go all the way through to the bottom of the steak.

Once you’ve done this, sift the Lawry’s onto the top, bottom and sides of the steak; be generous and make a light crust with the salt, it doesn’t make the steak salty-tasting unless you just go nuts with it. Rub the salt into the meat as best you can. Now, crack the pepper blend onto all sides of the steak and rub that into the meat as well. Turn the steak so that the side that you poked holes into is facing upward and pour some of the Lea & Perrin’s sauce onto the steak.

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Now that the steaks are seasoned, put the plate/tray into the microwave to keep it out of the open air (but obviously don’t turn the microwave on). If you’re using a Tupperware container, just put the lid on it and leave the container sitting on the counter top.

Allowing the steaks to marinate at room temperature lets the steaks relax and absorb all of that flavor of the marinade. Think of it this way: steak is a muscle of the cow. If a person walks outside without a coat when it’s cold (as a steak in the refrigerator) their muscles tense up and are not relaxed at all, making them tough and hard. Allowing the steak to relax at room temperature means that it will absorb the marinade and be juicy and flavorful when it comes time to cook it. Now for the fun part.

 

The Heat

Alright, now that you’ve let the steak marinate for a few hours (I usually do mine up before work and fire up the grill when I get home…no more than 8 hours) it’s time for the dirty work (but arguably more important than the seasoning itself).

NOTE: The US Government warns against leaving meat etc out of a refrigerator for more than 2 hours. For a steak, the bacteria that is on the outside of the steak and is cooked off, however, you may want to marinate it in the fridge and take it out an hour before it’s time to grill.

A lot of the best chefs in the world say that if you flip a steak more than once, you’ve ruined it. I have never understood this; I just don’t understand. From a scientific standpoint, let’s think about burgers on the grill. When you put them on the flame, shut the lid and walk away to grab a beer or the cheese and come back…what’s happened? There is a puddle of juices at the top of each burger. That’s flavor! Lots of it! So what happens now? Nothing to do but flip the burgers and there goes all that glorious flavor, into the flames, never to be savored and enjoyed. Let’s apply this same thing to our steaks.

Get your grill or skillet nice and hot to medium-high heat (using a nice knob of butter if using a skillet).

  • Place the steaks on the back of the grill, where it’s hottest, and sear them hard for about 60 seconds. Flip the steaks and sear the other side so that the juices and flavors are trapped inside the meat.

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  • Now, pull the steaks forward on the grill to around the middle area and let them cook with the lid closed for about 45-60 seconds then flip them. Keep repeating this every 45-60 seconds until they reach the desired temperature. To determine this, use your tongs to press on the steak (this takes practice). If it’s really “mushy” and tender, it’s probably still rare. Slightly less tender, medium rare/medium and so on.
  • Pull the steaks off the grill when they are ALMOST done and take them inside.

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  • Here’s the most important thing: let them rest. I know you will want to dig in immediately because who wouldn’t? But let the steaks rest on a butcher block or just on the plate. This allows the steaks to re-absorb the juices that have released during cooking and hydrated the meat. If you cut into the meat immediately, all that flavor and juice that you’ve worked to hard to save on the grill, is now on the plate instead of in the meat.

Once you’ve let the meat rest for about 5 minutes or so, dig into that bad boy. Serve with whatever you like; garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus or just eat the damned steak!

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BONUS: Grilled onion

Slice a large sweet onion and put the petals into an aluminum foil boat that you’ve made. Sift some of that Lawry’s salt onto the onion petals and top with 2 knobs of Irish butter (Kerrigold). Crimp the top of the aluminum to allow a little bit of steam to leave out of the top and place it directly on the grill before you put the steaks on. Give them about 15-20 minutes or so to cook.

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Now, I don’t want to brag, but I’ve had plenty of people eat steak prepared by me and they swear this will stand up to Ruth Chris’ steaks…and those are upwards of $100. Mine? The price of a good ribeye…$13.99/lb?

Give this a shot and let me know what you think about it. Is this the best steak you’ve ever had or do you use seasonings that you like better? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at captainsilverzgaming@gmail.com. Thank you all for sticking with me throughout my inconsistency and enjoy your food!

Sl√°inte mhaith!

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A Valentine’s Day (and Everyday) Reminder

A Valentine’s Day (and Everyday) Reminder

Hi all. I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve posted. Life…am I right?

I just wanted to post a thought here because we’re constantly reminded, but fail to really see the signs and it hit me like a semi-truck a little while ago.

I had run into Hwy 55 to order my lunch and then run next door to Lowe’s Foods to get everything I needed to make dinner for my wife for Valentine’s Day and some roses as well. I got the pork chops from the butcher (special cut), grabbed the green onions, apples, and potatoes from produce. I grabbed the hard cider from the beer isle and then the stone ground mustard. That’s right…she wanted Irish Pork Chops with Champ potatoes (one of her favorites). I grabbed some roses and paid the cashier.

Anyway, I went back to pick up my lunch and I hear the waitress talking to the cook about the elderly woman that just left. The waitress said, “I really just want to cry now. That was so sad.” I listened as she said that the elderly woman, we’ll call her Emma, was sitting in a booth, eating her lunch alone. As Emma stood up to leave, she spoke to the waitress and expressed sadness that she had no one to cook for her for Valentine’s Day anymore. It turns out, her husband had just died 6 months ago.

The waitress said, “I’m sure our cook would cook for you!” to which Emma replied, “I wonder if he really would if I asked.” Emma then just walked out he door and left. The cook said, “I would have cooked for her, of course I would have!” but Emma was long gone.

I heard this and started to tear up, thinking about spending my Valentine’s Day without my wife; not just alone like some friends I have who have not found someone with whom to spend their lives, but without my other half; without my soul mate, who had passed away and left me alone to live out the rest of my days.

I can’t imagine how that feels and I hope I never have to find out, but I had wished that I had been there a few moments earlier to offer to cook dinner for Emma in addition to my wife. I would have loved to have heard about her life and her life with her husband if it comforted her to talk about him. All I know is, that this was a life-lesson hitting me in the face and screaming, “Even if very few people read your blog, post this and remind them to remember what’s most important in life.”

Family. Family is the most important thing in life. Remember, today and every day, to not only love and appreciate those you love, but to show them how you feel. Life is fickle and human beings are fragile. A blink of an eye and it could all be gone. Life is too short not to spend it showing those for whom you care so much, just how much you love and care about them whether it be through food, drink, conversation, poetry, or something completely different.

Love your family and show them how much they mean on Valentine’s Day and every day for we will be gone far sooner than we realize.

Sl√°inte.

Hurricane Matthew Relief – Donations

Hi all. I don’t know why I didn’t think to do this before, but as you know, a couple of weeks ago Hurricane Matthew made its way up the east coast. It caused a LOT of damage and flooding to southeastern North Carolina, specifically Robeson County and surrounding areas including Pembroke, Lumberton, Goldsboro, and Fayettville.

For those who don’t know, Robeson County is the poorest county in NC. The people there didn’t have much to begin with and they most certainly don’t have flood insurance to replace what they’ve lost. My wife and I took down 2 truckloads and 1 5×8 trailer load of clothing, food, water, toiletries, diapers, formula, books, shoes, coats, and anything else that we could gather from our local community to the distribution centers in Lumberton to aid these people who need help. And they need whatever they can get.

In an effort to help as much as we could, not only did we get those donations of necessities, but we also raised $1,000 through PayPal by contacting our employers and community to help in any way they could.

This post is to ask that if anyone reads this that can help these people, please do so. Below is the name and address of the organization to which we gave the monetary donations and the clothing etc. I am also leaving links to two other non-profits in addition so you can choose to whom you would like to aid. Feel free to comment below if you helped out!! Thank you all so very much for reading and caring!

 

Robeson County Church and Community Center

600 W 5th St., Lumberton, NC 28358

 

Robeson County Emergency Management – PayPal fund

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=IflJjii-2Q2vdMs5SBGoQmGaX6koZ4pSZpOdGzC0Z1taE5_tHSQQctC5BTd5TjIjVvnwGW

 

City of Lumberton Disaster Relief Fund – GoFundMe (be advised, GoFundMe takes a portion of the donations)

https://www.gofundme.com/lumberton-nc-disaster-relief-2tyspfpb

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Thank you to all who helped us gather so much to help the people of Robeson County!

Sl√°inte!

New Ink!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to post a quick update with my new tattoo! It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. We went up to the western part of the state to see my in-laws for the weekend a couple of weeks ago and Albert Martinez just happened to be working at Ace of Spades Tattoo and Piercing in Asheville, NC. Albert has been travelling around, living the life, and tattooing at different shops around the country. He’s known for his amazing shading and line work, and I told him what ideas I’ve had floating around in my head and sketched up a custom design “blueprint” and then put it on my left forearm.

The tattoo is a Celtic tree of life, which has much meaning in Celtic culture and history, with a Trinity Knot being the base of the roots. There is so much detail in this tattoo (that unfortunately may not show yet in these pictures as it is still healing) in the trunk and limbs; it twists and turns with time as this tree is old and has withstood the test of time and continues thriving.

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I looked at the above “blueprint” and thought it looked great, but I was worried that it was a little too generic. I don’t want a tattoo that is a fad or that other people have. But I know Albert and I trust him when he says it will look amazing and so much better than the sketch shows.

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I’d say he was right ūüôā

After the redness of my skin fades from the starburst effect around the trunk and the lines heal of the scabbing etc. it will be amazing.

Luck and life to all!

Sl√°inte!

Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast with Dirty Rice

Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast with Dirty Rice

Hey everyone! So I decided to try something new a few weekends ago when we had a couple of friends over for dinner, drinks, and card games (Cards Against Humanity, Uno, and The Oregon Trail card game). I looked up chicken recipes and came across this online. I don’t remember exactly where I got the recipe, but I thought I’d re-post it so that everyone could enjoy it like we did! And like I said before, I’m not above using rice from a box or using frozen veggies or canned food. The key is getting the most flavor that you can out of EVERYTHING you cook. Enjoy!

Stuffed Cajun Chicken Breast

4 chicken breasts, butterflied

1/4 onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

Fresh mushrooms, sliced (about a cup)

shredded pepper jack cheese

Irish butter

Cajun seasoning (Louisiana Cajun seasoning is what I used)

Olive oil

Toothpicks

  1. Preheat oven to 400¬į F.
  2. Put some olive oil in a pan on medium-high. Sauté the green and red peppers, onion, and mushrooms in the olive oil until cooked through and the onions are slightly transparent.
  3. Butterfly the chicken and place a pinch of shredded pepper jack cheese on one side of the chicken. Add a spoonful of the bell pepper, onion, and mushroom mixture. Top with another pinch of pepper jack cheese.img_20161008_183911653_burst000_cover
  4. Fold the chicken breast over and secure by putting toothpicks at an angle around the chicken where the edges of the butterflied chicken meet.img_20161008_184526969img_20161008_184016840
  5. Place the chicken breasts in a greased baking dish and season with Cajun seasoning. Once the chicken breasts are covered, top each one with a knob of Irish butter.
  6. Bake the chicken breasts for between 30 and 40 minutes, depending on your oven.
  7. Serve with Zatarain’s Dirty Rice (yes, from a box) and top the chicken with the leftover peppers, onions, and mushrooms if you would like.img_20161008_193213435

Sl√°inte!

The Correct Way to Make a Reuben

So recently I went to a New York-style deli that is known for serving great food. The Reuben I ordered was good, but it wasn’t the best I had ever eaten. I knew it wouldn’t be and let me tell you why: I watched them take the premium Boar’s Head corned beef, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese and MICROWAVE it!! Blasphemy!!

So…to make a great Reuben sandwich, you’ll need:

1/4 lb. Corned Beef

1/4 lb. Sauerkraut

2 slices of Swiss cheese

Thousand Island dressing

Irish butter

Rye bread

A skillet

A metal mixing bowl

1/4 cup of water

Place the corned beef in the skillet on medium heat and start to warm it up. Put the sauerkraut on top of the beef (drain the kraut first), and as it starts to simmer, pour the water in the pan around the beef and turn the metal mixing bowl upside down over the beef and kraut so that it steams. After about 10 seconds, remove the bowl and put the cheese over the beef and kraut and replace the bowl over the top for about another 10 seconds. When you remove the bowl, the cheese should be nice and melted over the beef and kraut. Use a spatula to scoop up the sandwich contents and place it on a slice of rye bread that has been spread with Thousand Island dressing. Please the other slice of rye (again spread with dressing) on top to make the sandwich and wipe out the skillet with a couple of paper towels. Melt a knob of Irish butter and grill the sandwich in the skillet on both sides as you would grill a grilled cheese sandwich. Set the sandwich on a cutting board after grilled to golden brown on both sides and slice in half. Enjoy!

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Sl√°inte!

Quick and Delicious French Toast

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So I figured I’d try my hand at making french toast and the best way to do this is to just dive in and try it. You’ll need:

4 pieces of bread (thicker, if you’d like)

2 Eggs (I use brown eggs)

Heavy cream (or milk)

Vanilla extract

White granulated sugar

Ground cinnamon

Ground nutmeg

Irish butter

Place a pan on the stove and heat on medium heat. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and pour in a bit of cream (maybe 1/4 cup), 1 tsp of vanilla, 1/2 tsp sugar, ¬†1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Beat well until blended. Place a knob of Irish butter into the preheated pan and melt. Dip the slices of bread into the mixture so that all sides are coated. Place the bread, 2 slices at a time, into the buttered pan and cook until brown on both sides such that the bread isn’t soft and flimsy anymore.

Serve on a plate with pancake syrup or pure maple syrup and dust with confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. If you use maple syrup like I do, go EASY on the confectioner’s sugar as maple syrup is very sweet.

The whole process takes maybe 10-15 minutes.

Sl√°inte!