How to Grill & Grilling Ideas – Certified Angus Beef
Last weekend was quite the experience in beef education and sampling for the bouches. The Certified Angus Beef group in Wooster, Ohio invited Collyn and me to learn more about the brand and quality difference, while indulging in the final product of their certification standards.
First off, it was a lovely experience! They were very helpful, bright and took superb care of us. Joining the “Grill Talk” class helped answer a few burning questions about grilling methods, while allowing us a tour of their state-of-the-art facility.
Secondly, this event gave a few locals like us the chance to learn more about what our area has to offer, but (almost) more importantly, brought folks in from Pennsylvania and New York to showcase our local culinary-prowess. We LOVE bragging about Ohio
In part one of our C.A.B take-away series, I’ll go over the details that you want, no, need to know to be a knock-out dinner host this summer.
Use a 50/50 mix of brisket and chuck. Whaaat? Mix? Yes. This combo of cuts truly helps to improve texture, flavor, mouth feel and marbling. Both of these portions come from the front portion of the cow, which basically pans out to an optimal ratio of meat and fat (don’t shutter: fat=flavor).
The end product of this combo? Beefy flavor, tender bites and hearty, deliciously crisp outer crust.
Once your mix is complete, begin forming loose patties. Whether slider or traditional burger size, the key to creating the best form is to keep your thumb slightly pressed into the center, creating an imprint. This will allow for even cooking and squash the age-old, dome-like burger that no one is happy about.
Once you’ve formed it, just add some salt and pepper and slap it on the 500-degree grill. This high heat will help sear the outside while cooking the inside to the temperature of your choosing. Whether you’re a “pro” griller or not, your best bet in reaching your desired temp is to use…a meat thermometer.
Sirloin steak makes for great kabobs. It’s sturdy, doesn’t cook too fast or too slow, and lends a ton of flavor to your dish. For the perfect kabobs:
- 1.5 lbs of sirloin steak (Certified Angus Beef can be found locally at Acme, Buehler’s & Giant Eagle)
- 1 large onion (I prefer vidalia over red)
Meat counters like Giant Eagle offer pre-cut options, but to ensure yours is the correct cut, it’s a better bet to do it yourself. When slicing steak, the rule of thumb is to go against the grain. The method will create shorter fibers, making the steak more tender. Who knew? Not this former vegetarian.
Beef, onion, beef, onion, tomato… no!! Keep that tomato, green pepper, or mushroom separate from the steak. Meat cooks at a much slower rate than fragile, squishy veggies, so play nice and keep them on their own skewers. Onions are the exception; these can be sandwiched between meat chunks to help flavor.
Each side of the skewer should cook 3-4 minutes; the full skewer in 10-15 minutes. Again, the doneness is up to your preference.
This hard-to-find cut is lean yet tender, and has full flavor. Choose boneless and bone-in, but regardless, look for thickness of 1.5 inch or more. The thinner the steak the faster it cooks, and the greater chance it will over-cook.
Let your grill preheat by turning the burners to high, close the lid, and let it warm up. Once warm, lower to medium to medium-high heat and start the cooking. Don’t press, don’t flip, don’t adjust, just let them be for a few minutes.
Want diamond grill marks? Cook your steaks for a few minutes, then turn 90 degrees and let them sit on the grill again. Use tongs, never a fork, to keep juice in.
Flip over, sit for a few minutes, and turn 90 degrees again. Use a meat thermometer to determine how done it is before you decide to take it off, or keep it on. The temperatures below indicate doneness:
- 140 – rare
- 145 – medium rare (recommended)
- 160 – medium
- 170 – well
Keep in mind “carry over” cooking, which means whatever temp you take on the grill, it will be 5 degrees warmer when it gets to your plate. (Which should be 5 minutes or so after it’s off the grill and has had a chance to rest.)
Add a classic chimichurri to your steak to create a great visual color contrast to the steak, and give some additional flavor profiles to the dish. Just add the following to a food processor and serve:
- 1/2 cup chopped flat lead Italian parsley (pulse this in processor first)
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 large onion, finely dices
- 3-4 cloves of minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
Rubs – Really, these only need to go on about 5 minutes prior to cooking.
Marinades – Your marinades can sit from 6-8 hours, or overnight. *Don’t re-use marinade during or after cooking.
C.A.B “Go-To” – A little bit of salt and pepper. (I can get into a two-ingredient seasoning.)
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and [red] Zinfandel can hold their own with any of these steaks or burgers. Making a lighter steak-topped salad? A hearty Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir can be an acceptable pairing.
Of course you need a beverage while grilling, and who knows that better than C.A.B? They served a fab beer cocktail with our slider course that was worthy of a recipe share:
- 1.5 oz gin
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 oz of honey syrup (equal parts of honey and water – whisk or heat until dissolved)
- 3 oz wheat beer
A little bit more about the facility itself: Located in Wooster, Ohio, Certified Angus Beef has an Education & Culinary Center that is unparalleled with any other food science or consumer-facing education facility that I’ve seen (same goes for most of you, I’d imagine). Built a few years back for B2B sales purposes, demonstrations and product innovation, the intention was never for public use. Recently, however, they’ve opened select cooking classes to meet the public interest. The classes sell out often, and let me tell you, they are worth all efforts to attend.
Stay tuned for Collyn’s take on our continued weekend with the awesome C.A.B bunch.