Frying a steak is no art – you might think flippantly. However, nothing less than the opposite is the case. The possible processes, techniques and recipes are highly varied and numerous, as is the result, depending on the variant chosen (and craftsmanship precision). In addition, the product plays an essential role, i.e. the cut, the degree of maturity and, above all, the weight, i.e. the size of the steak. What all approaches actually have in common, however, is the endeavor not to let the core temperature exceed the limit of 50 to a maximum of 55 degrees, so that the steak inside is cooked at most medium, or better still medium rare. On the outside, a Maillard or non-enzymatic browning reaction is to be triggered by adding high heat.
But there are many more approaches and theories. For a particularly nice and large rib eye, I am currently also tempted by the Butter Steak according to Alain Ducasse.
Another recipe, and one I tried for the first time this weekend , comes from Modernist Cuisine at Home, the Seared Frozen Rib-Eye Steak. You wouldn’t believe it, but this is even a bit more time-consuming than the sous-vide process. Here the focus is clearly on the very strongly brought out Maillard reaction – and that’s exactly what I was in the mood for on the weekend: a very crispy, dark piece of meat that really testifies to barbecue, smoke and fire. Myhrvold proceeds as follows:
The rib eye is first frozen in the freezer for a good hour. So the direct opposite of the slow warm up to room temperature that you normally practice. The frozen steak is now placed directly, for a few minutes per side, on the grill glowing with maximum heat. In this process, the desired strong browning and caramaelization is achieved on the outside, but due to the extremely cooled fabric, this temperature hardly penetrates to the inside.
Then the steak rests for an hour.
During this time, I prepared a smoker box in the grill (as a small modification to the recipe) to give the steak even more of the desired grill and smoke flavor along the way.
The air temperature in the grill should be around 80 degrees, and the rib eye is cooked very slowly under indirect heat (in my case, lying over the smoker box) until it reaches a core temperature of about 50 degrees. Then let it rest again for a while, cut it – and in my case serve it with some fumee de sel and some beans.
The key with this Modernist recipe is to work with as large and thick a piece of meat as possible to ensure that the first step doesn’t cook too deeply into the product, leaving enough room for a wonderful pink coloration inside….