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A long time ago, I read an article about how liquid Italian dressing worked really good as a meat marinade, especially for steak.  I decided to try it.  I took a nice hunk of t-bone steak about 1″ thick, dumped it into a large ziplock bag, added about 1/4 bottle of cheap Italian dressing and stuck it in the refrigerator for about 15 hours.  I took it out, blotted it dry with paper towels, let it warm up for about 30 minutes, then put it on a medium hot grill, direct cook.  I turned it after about 4 minutes, let the second side cook another 4 minutes, then took it off, let it rest for a bit and had it with a nice microwave-baked ‘tater.  It was really good!  Seems like it was quite a bit more tender than just sprinking with salt, pepper and garlic powder and cooking.

A while later, I decided to try it again, but a bit more extreme.  I got a couple of nice ribeye steaks that were a little thinner than my first ones (about 3/4″ thick), stuck them in a large ziplock, added 1/2 bottle of cheap Italian dressing, tossed it in the refrigerator and turned it every 12 hours or so for 3 days.  On the 4th day, I blotted them dry, cooked over medium high heat the same way, let rest for about 10 minutes, then had them, again with a microwave baked ‘tater.  Those steaks were literally fork-tender!

Yeah, I’m a big fan of really tender steaks, in case you hadn’t noticed.  🙂

Another nice little gizmo available to us cookers is a thingie called a Jaccard.  It’s a multi-blade meat tenderizer like Emeril uses.  Ok, like Emeril used to use since his show isn’t on any more.  I’m still bummed about that, btw!  Anywho, there are Jaccards with a single row of skinny blades, with double rows of skinny blades and 4 or so rows of skinny blades.  For those of you whose Google foo isn’t strong today, here’s what one looks like:

You take that thing and poke your meat up one side, turn it 90 degrees, and go down the same side, then turn the steak over and repeat.  Push the handle hard enough to get the blades to go all the way through!  I’ve found that if I put on a bit of fresh ground sea salt, a nice grind or 3 fresh pepper, a light sprinkle of garlic powder (garlic powder NOT garlic salt cuz i can’t control how much salt is mixed with garlic salt and the meat always ended up over salted), give it a splash of Lea and Perrins Worchestershire sauce, rub that in, then Jaccard the heck outta both sides, let it marinade for a couple of hours and cook on medium-high heat, turning once after 4 or 5 minutes, and finish it for 5 minutes after flipping (Whew!  That last sentence is waaay long.  Sorry.).  The steak comes out almost as tender as 3 days marinating in Italian dressing.  Also, doing the Jaccard after seasoning helps the seasoning get way down into the meat fibers which flavors the meat alllllllllll the way through.  So don’t go overboard on the seasoning!  It’ll over power your taste buds pretty quick and overwhelm the taste of the meat.

Between the Italian dressing marinade and the Jaccard, I’ve found I can get the steaks on sale to be as tender and tasty as the premium “choice” ones and save a couple of $$ per pound.  But the choice cuts get even better when you do these 2 things!

Yet another way I like to cook steak, especially sirloin steaks about 3/4″ thick, is to season VERY lightly, Jaccard, let rest, cook and then, when they come off the grill and onto a plate give them a pretty hefty dose on both sides of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) that’s been seasoned with a nice bit of fresh ground sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  I hit it with the EVOO right as it comes off and let the steaks rest for a few minutes in the oil.  Oh wow! Remember, EVOO is one of the “good” oils!

Sweetie and Bunny both started out liking their steak medium well to well done.  I like mine more medium rare cuz the juices are still in the meat and it seems to have a richer flavor.  I’ve slowly been bringing them around to medium rare.  The last time I cooked steak, i did it medium rare (about 2-3 minutes/side over medium high heat), they both raved about how good it was.  🙂

My latest endeavors in steak cooking are what’s called a “reverse sear” that uses a 2 zone bbq fire.  Look it up over at http://www.amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/cooking_temperatures_and_reverse_sear.html on Meathead’s tips page.  Wow!!  Oh, btw, would ya please let him know ya got to his site from my little blog here?

Enough for now.  I’ll put up some chicken recipes next time.  Oh, and just a teaser, I’ve got a killer recipe that makes the meat taste like the Outback Restaurant best steaks!  Coming soon.  🙂