Grill that steak like a master with these hot cooking tips
Temperatures are rising, the outdoors beckons and our appetites are ramping up for meals cooked on the grill.
According to Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, July 4 is the most popular day to grill (73 percent), followed by Memorial Day (60 percent), Father’s Day (45 percent), Mother’s Day (34 percent) and Thanksgiving (14 percent).
Clearly, a lot of us like to grill.
Few of us, however, can claim the title of steak master.
Brandon Magyor, 32, of Mt. Pleasant, an employee at the Hempfield LongHorn Steakhouse for seven years, recently was named one of the country’s top steak masters, after winning the regional competition in the Steak Master Series.
Magyor is one of 60 team members from across the country to achieve this distinction, out of the more than 5,000 who were invited to participate in the competition. After continuing to achieve high honors, he will be one of seven finalists nationwide who will travel to LongHorn Steakhouse headquarters in Orlando to compete on May 16 for the title of Steak Master Series Champion.
Magyor attributes his interest in cooking to his stepfather, Dave McConnell.
After a stint as a dishwasher, he eventually moved on to grilling in 2006.
“It grew on me. … I take pride in my work. Compliments reflect on me as a person,” he says.
So, how do the amateurs among us grill so our plates elicit grins, not groans?
Magyor offers these simple grilling tips to make every meal a great one:
Keep it clean and oiled
“I would clean and oil every time you use the grill,” Magyor says.
“Scrape the grill and, as it heats up, oil it. You can use standard canola oil. That’s what we use,” Magyor says.
Season with a heavy hand
“Get a coating of seasoning on it,” Magyor advises.
Demonstrating his own technique, he points out that not all seasonings stick and some will fall through a grill’s grates.
Nothing too exotic, he suggests. “Salt and pepper. Or you can make your own (blend of) cracked black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, that’s standard, that’s what we use,” he adds.
“My target temperature (for the grill) is 450 degrees; that’s about perfect whether well done or rare,” Magyor says.
If one’s grill grates are on a slight incline, the temperature will be higher in the back, he cautions.
Give it a flip or two
“Remember to flip a steak every three or four minutes, no matter what the temperature, so it cooks evenly,” he says.
Checking a steak’s level of “doneness” by cutting into it can result in drying if it’s returned to the grill, Magyor says.
When he’s cooking, a customer’s rare steak is 95-105 degrees, medium rare is 115-125, medium is 130-140, medium well is 150-160 and well-done is 165-175.
Grab the tongs, meat thermometer and your favorite cut of steak and tackle that grill with confidence.
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .