This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features juicy grilled steak that won’t break the bank.
No matter if you’re buying filet mignon or flank steak, the price of beef can leave a sizable dent in your wallet, especially if you’re shopping to feed a crowd. But even though it’s a splurge item for many, steak is indeed a can-do meat for your next weekend cookout; the trick is knowing what to buy and how to stretch it so that you get the most for your money.
Choosing the Best Cut
About that filet mignon — skip it. Stick to the flank or other budget-friendly cuts like hanger or skirt steak. These pieces of beef are every bit as flavorful as their expensive counterparts, but they’re thinner, so they’re more prone to overcooking. To remedy that and dodge chewy meat, simply keep the cooking time to a minimum. In his recipe for Skirt Steak (pictured above), Alton cooks the beef on hot charcoals for just 60 seconds on each side, then keeps it wrapped in foil for 15 minutes; the direct-heat method ensures that the meat develops a charred crust, while the aluminum tent helps it become tender. Click the play button on the video below to watch Alton make it.
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Today we’re talking steak as part of The Good Cook series. Generally, cooking steak involves a direct-heat cooking method, such as a very hot skillet, an oven broiler or taking it outdoors to the grill. Deciding which cooking method is best all depends on what kind of steak you bought, also known as the cut of steak.
New York strip, sirloin and rib eye, familiar steak house favorites, cook up quickly in a very hot skillet on the stovetop (I love using my cast iron), or on the grill. A rare to medium-rare steak needs only three to four minutes on each side. If you prefer your meat cooked medium or medium-well, finish it off in an oven preheated 350 degrees F to keep it tender and juicy.
Flank, skirt and London broil are best prepared using your stove’s broiler or on the grill. These cuts are also best served medium-rare; cook them about five minutes per side, otherwise they become too tough. The way you slice these cuts of steak is another important detail. Hold your knife at a slight angle, about 45 degrees, and slice it across the grain.
Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
Next time you cook a steak on the stovetop, place a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan on top of the meat while it’s cooking. The extra weight will prevent the steak from curling around the edges and help give it an even sear. If you don’t have a heavy pan, you can use a regular one and weigh it down with a few cans of tomatoes or beans.
(Photograph by Christopher Testani)
If I am ever asked to name my favorite cut of beef, my first answer will not be strip steak. I will probably offer up a beautifully marbled bone-in rib-eye as my cow part of preference.
I know that for many people in the United States, however, the strip steak, under its many different names, is the beef cut of choice, particularly when it comes to finding a perfect steak to place on the grill during the summer months.
Having seen the Iron Chef and his competitor turn their attention to strip steak, I am definitely willing to be convinced that I should give this popular cut another try.
What is strip steak?
A strip steak is a cut of beef taken from the short loin of the cow. This is at the top and the middle of the animal, before the rump. The short loin itself comprises two muscles: the tenderloin (from where you get filet mignon) and the top loin, which gives us the strip steak.
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Batter up! The 2012 Major League Baseball season opened last night with the christening of the new Marlins Ballpark. The Cardinals and Miami Marlins battled it out at the 37,000-seat venue, which features a retractable roof and a view of downtown Miami — one of the reasons for the 2012 Marlins name change.
The Marlins name isn’t the only thing changing this season: Food Network and Delaware North Companies Sportservice are ushering in the start of MLB with a customizable hot dog bar, A Topping for Every Taste.
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So you think you know steaks? Maybe you do.
But truth is, you probably only really know the particular cuts you buy over and over again. That’s good, but there’s a world of great beef out there to explore.
And many of those cuts (and by the way, butchers are creating new ones all the time) are far more versatile than you think.
You could spend ages learning the different cuts of beef and the various names for each (there isn’t nearly as much naming standardization as you would think). But I think it’s better to simply pick a cut you haven’t often prepared at home and start playing around with it. That’s how I learned to love flank steak.
First, the basics. Flank steaks are lean cuts from the rear side of the cow and are characterized by rich, deep, beefy flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Traditionally, London broils were made using flank steaks, though today any of the leaner, less tender cuts often are substituted.
Get the recipe for Balsamic-Pepper Flank Steak »
Each month, Food Network Kitchen chefs put more than 100 recipes to the test for Food Network Magazine. Every recipe goes through at least two to three rounds of testing, plus a round of cross-testing, where the recipe goes through one final run-through to make sure it works as it is written in final form.
“We make sure language, timing and visual cues are correct,” says Andrea Albin, a Food Network Kitchens recipe tester.
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There will be plenty of hot dogs and hamburgers going around this Fourth of July weekend, so prepare something different that’s great for entertaining or even a regular weeknight meal. Sirloin steak is seasoned with salt, pepper and chopped mint and seared to your preferred cooking temperature. Serve it with a salad of chard, tomatoes, crumbled feta and croutons for a complete meal ready in 35 minutes.
Editor’s Note: If you’re feeding a crowd and looking to keep costs down, try an inexpensive cut of meat like flank or skirt steak.
Get the recipe: Seared Steak With Chard Salad
Browse more of Food Network’s 4th of July recipes or visit Grilling Central.
This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds — boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Friday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that will cook up in 30 minutes or less. This weekend, it’s all about dad:
Salad: Grilled Romaine With Blue Cheese-Bacon Vinaigrette
Main Dish: Food Network Magazine’s Flank Steak with Salsa Verde (pictured above)
Side Dish: Grilled Potato Salad
Dessert: Chocolate Cream Pie
Drink: Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea
Planning on making one of these dishes? Snap a photo and post it on Food Network’s Facebook wall.
If you’ve never made your own BBQ sauce before, you’re in for a treat. Here, Giada puts her Italian spin on a classic sauce by adding balsamic vinegar to the mixture, which adds a tangy layer of flavor. Even better, it comes together in just 20 minutes. Keep this recipe handy all summer — it’s great on both chicken and steak.
Get the recipe: Giada’s Chicken or Steak With Balsamic BBQ Sauce
Get more of Food Network’s grilling recipes.