I'm kicking off our Recipe of the Week series not so much with a recipe, but rather, sharing a few thoughts about grilling a great steak. If you found the May/June issue of Western Horse Review in your mailbox recently, or picked it up at the newsstand or your favorite tack store, then you're already privy to the three steps to a great grilled steak I suggested in our Food of the West feature.
These three simple details – 1) bringing your steaks to room temperature and salting them well, 2) building a two-zone fire on your preferably charcoal barbecue, and 3) letting the meat rest, will bring you a lot closer to a juicy and unforgettable steak.
We chose the beef for our barbecue photo shoot from Bar P Ranch, just outside of Nanton, Alberta. Owners, Rob and Tami Palmer operate their family farm with a sustainable philosophy, and raise beef that is grass-finished and free from hormones or antibiotics. The cattle are never fed grain or animal by-products, and the pastures they graze on are not chemically fertilized or sprayed. In my mind, that’s beyond organic – it’s an absolute clean-beef, with a sustainable footprint. Plus, I like the idea that the cattle running on Bar P Ranch pastures are raised naturally and respectfully, in a stress-free and family-farm environment.
It's become paramount to me to care about where my family's food comes from, and how it is raised. An “organic” label in a large chain grocery store just doesn't tell me enough, particularly as I become increasingly aware that there is such a thing as “industrial organic,” and it’s most likely the beef that is pushed in major grocery store chains. I prefer to know exactly what ranch the beef I purchase is originating from, and how it is fed and raised. And, I don’t mind paying a bit more for that. It's all about supporting our local economy too.
I’m intrigued with discovering new riffs to the process of grilling steaks, and perfecting what I've learned thus far. One of the important considerations is the cut of the meat, and I'm still learning about the variances of each cut. My favorites these days seem to be rib-eyes and a well-marinated flank steak. For the purposes of our barbecue photo shoot, we grilled all of the above Bar P steaks with fantastic results, but we saved the tenderloins to pan fry, and that, I'm planning to showcase in a future edition of Food of the West. Stay tuned!