The Chef Upstairs


A perfect ribeye steak Grilling a Ribeye Steak My 20 yr Old Weber BBQ



selecting, seasoning & Grilling
the perfect steak!

Many people argue that they are the “King” of the Q and that no one grills a better steak than they do. However, it is my experience that very few people really understand what it takes to make that perfect backyard steak. Once, you have perfected this technique, you will probably never order another restaurant steak …why order something that you can make just as well? There are 3 essential elements to becoming “King” of the Grill. (1) Meat Selection or Cut; (2) Seasoning and (3) Cooking Techniques.

  1. Meat Selection – Many people go to a restaurant and have a great steak, but do not understand why they can’t duplicate this feat at home. It all starts with meat selection. That restaurant steak has two distinct characteristics; (a) it will be well marbled and (b) it has been aged.

    1.  In order to duplicate restaurant quality at home you must start with the right cut of meat. The premiere steak is the filet mignon, which comes from the tenderloin. This is the most tender portion of beef and a favourite of the fairer sex, as the portion size is typically smaller and it should melt in your mouth. The next choice is the Rib Eye. This is a well marbled piece of meat and my personal favourite. If you love a Prime Rib Roast, you will love the rib-eye, as they are the same cut of meat. Next is the New York cut. It is a leaner cut and will be tougher if not aged or marinated. Finally we come to the “lesser” cuts; sirloin, blade, etc. To me, these are a waste of money as single grilling steaks. They are lean and tough and lack flavour because of this. A large sirloin can be marinated overnight and slow cooked for a big group, but that is a recipe for another day.

    2. Ageing is the key to making a good cut of meat incredible. I have been wet ageing my steaks for over 25 years and my dinner guests always rave at how great my steaks are. I have told this secret to dozens of people over the years, yet very few follow my advice (do they enjoy bad food?). The best restaurants serve dry aged beef. The beef quarters are hung in a large refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks. During this time natural bacteria help break down the muscle tissue. Wet ageing is a little different. The meat is cryovac packed so that it is not exposed to oxygen. You leave the meat in the packaging for six weeks and then cut into steaks and freeze. I have used this method successfully for both the beef tenderloin and for the short loin or rib eye. I purchase cuts from Costco and the typical cost is about $70 for the tenderloin and $100 for the big rib eye. From each of these I get approximately 16 steaks that are 1” thick. Next time you are in the supermarket try to find a steak for $6 that has been aged. In reality, you will probably pay double the price for unaged steaks and triple for an aged steak.


  2. Flavouring and Seasoning – there are several ways to season your steak, but I find that simple is best. If you have a good cut of beef, why on earth would you smother it in soya sauce?

    1. The first step is to bring the meat to room temperature. If , like me you have aged your steaks, then frozen them. Take them out the night before and let them thaw slowly in the fridge.

    2. DO NOT remove the marbling or fat from the steak. Contrary to popular belief a little fat will not hurt you. In fact, humans create body fat from unburned sugars and carbohydrates, NOT from eating fat. I know of one person that is morbidly obese, who cuts all the fat from their steak, yet drinks 2 litres of coke a day …need I say more?

    3. Secondly, I rub a small quantity of olive oil on both sides of the steak. This helps to prevent the meat from sticking and also adds flavour to the meat.

    4. A simple seasoning involves kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper (very course or cracked) and one clove of garlic finely chopped. Rub both sides of the steak with this combo and let sit for one hour. A second method is to use Montreal Steak Spice. This is a wonderful mixture of spices and produces a great tasting steak (my personal fave).


  3. Cooking Techniques - Finally, you’ve selected the perfect cut of meat, seasoned it properly and now you must grill it properly. This is where many people ruin a good piece of meat.

    1. Start with a good bbq. I have a Weber that is almost 20 years old and it is a great tool. Broil King also has a great line and they are reasonably priced. Read the manual for your bbq and learn how their burner systems work.

    2. Secondly, your bbq should have a cast iron grill. Porcelain or wire grills do nothing to enhance the cooking process. Ideally, the grill should be searing your steak.

    3. If you don’t have a quality bbq buy a cast iron frying pan with ridges. Put it on your bbq for 20 minutes and let it get really hot.

    4. Make sure that your bbq gets to it’s maximum temperature. This may take 15 to 20 minutes.

    5. Have a squirt bottle ready to control flare ups. I take a regular water bottle and punch a small hole in the lid. A well marbled rib eye steak may cause some flames when you open the lid, so don’t be afraid to squirt the fire away.

    6. With my Weber it takes 6 minutes to cook a 1” rib-eye to medium rare. I cook the steak for 2 minutes on the first side, then turn it 90 degrees to create crossed grill marks. After 3 minutes I flip the steak gently and grill for another 3 minutes. Remove after 6 minutes and let it sit for minutes before serving. For medium add 60 to 90 seconds to each side.

    7. Never cook a good steak beyond medium. If you “like” your meat well done, roast it or braise it, otherwise you’re ruining a great piece of meat by boiling away all the juices.

    8. If you don’t own a good grill, you can duplicate the process above with the ridged cast iron frying pan. Follow the same cooking times.

  4. Grilling without a BBQ - If you don’t own a bbq or if you live in an apartment you can still cook a great steak indoors using the ridged cast iron pan.

    1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

    2. Heat the pan on high heat for about 5 minutes until it is very hot.

    3. Turn on the exhaust fan, as this process can create a lot of smoke.

    4. Sear the steak for 30 to 60 seconds on each side, then place the pan in the oven for 4 to 5 minutes.

    5. Remove from the oven and plate the steaks. Let them sit for 5 minutes before serving.