To help kick-off the summer grilling season, yesterday I spent the afternoon taste-testing myriad steak samples grilled to perfection by local chefs from across the US.
These chefs are the consumer-voted finalists from their respective hometown grill-offs as part of the nationwide Walmart Choice Steak Challenge presented by Kingsford Charcoal and Coca-Cola.
The final 8 chefs convened in NYC, fired up their grills, and prepared the best USDA Choice steaks with their own inventive methods. Who would take the best seared steak honors? The contest was judged by the ultimate pit master, Chris Lilly. And, the press release also indicates “other food luminaries” as judges—so I feel quite honored to have been a selected “food luminary” at the event (even though I have limited knowledge of red meat).
Oh, and the winning chef gets $5,000 and another $5,000 to a charity of their choice. Not bad?
I walked from table to table, talking to the illustrious chefs as I tasted bite-sized pieces of steak that ranged the gamut from Grilled Filet Mignon w/ Smoky Spice Rub to Cherry Cola Smoked Rib Eye to Coffee Rubbed Steak w. Grilled Onion and Blue Cheese Dressing. My taste buds were on alert. Not only did I enjoy every last piece of juicy steak but, I was thrilled to have received each chef’s personal best grilling tips along the way :
- Steak should be at room temp to ensure optimum grilling.
- Just before grilling, pat steak dry, brush with a light coating of olive oil and season as desired.
- Add salt no more than 2 minutes before grilling to avoid drying out of meat.
- Always wait for the grill to reach medium heat as opposed to high heat to avoid charring your meat.
- Never cut into a steak on the grill. Use your finger to test its doneness.
- You should work on a clean grill grate that has been oiled with canola oil.
- Flare ups are a big part of grilling!
- Once off the grill, allow your steaks to rest before cutting. That’ll keep all the juices inside.
In between all the eating, I also managed to pick up key information on the different varieties of USDA Choice steaks:
T-Bones – Good for those who want the best of both worlds in a steak—New York Strip and Tenderloin. They’re best grilled to take on bold flavors.
NY Strip – Otherwise known as the Steak Lover’s Steak. It’s got great flavor and tenderness and can be cooked in any manner.
Filet – Cut from the tenderloin….the most tender cut of steak.
Rib Eye – Most popular steak because it’s LOADED with flavor. It’s best grilled and remains tender through medium to medium-well.
Top Sirloin – Best for cookouts because of its unique flavor and tenderness. It can be grilled, broiled, sautéed or pan-fried.
As if we weren’t stuffed enough, we then entered a room boasting every type of summer grill side dish you can imagine–from Avocado Mashed Potatoes to Grilled Corn with Herbed Butter (my personal fave) to Char-grilled Vegetables w/ Arugula-Orange Pesto— there was nothing left to the imagination.
Today my family cooks on a gas grill, but the smell of the charcoal burning and the sounds of the steaks sizzling yesterday brought me back to many a sultry summer night of my youth. Mom (not Dad) would be out in the back yard manning the little round Weber grill overflowing with steaks and Silver Queen corn. Boy do I miss those days…
So, shouldn’t everyone kick off the summer grilling season right? It’s time to get your grill on! Enter to win:
Chef Master 19-Piece BBQ Tool Kit & Bobby Flay’s Grill It Giveaway!
The Chefmaster 19 Piece BBQ Tool set puts you in a category above any other. The unique pieces including 8 corn cob holders, 4 skewers,grill cleaning brush/scraper, basting brush fork with 3 prongs, spatula with built-in bottle opener knife and tongs. The wood grain on the handles and handy hang-up feature are an added plus. All pieces fit in the special handled carrying case so you can take them with you on camping trips or wherever your grilling needs take you.
Bobby Flay’s Grill It book contains 150 simple and delicious recipes organized by ingredient, with chapters covering juicy beef steaks and succulent shrimp, of course, as well as perhaps less traditional grill fare such as asparagus, fruit, lamb, scallops, potatoes, and squash, so you can expand your backyard repertoire. Bobby teaches you how to grill each staple perfectly while also offering an arsenal of ideas for how to transform your favorite ingredients into something inventive and satisfying.
One (1) winner will receive a Chef Master 19-Piece BBQ Tool Set & a copy of Bobby Flay’s Grill It book.
How to Enter
To enter to win, simply leave a comment in the post letting telling me what you’d like to make on the grill this summer. That’s it! You’re entered to win!
Additional (Optional) Entries
To up your chances of winning, you can receive up to FOUR additional entries to win by doing the following (these are optional, not required):
1. Subscribe to My Judy the Foodie by RSS. Come back and let me know you’ve subscribed in an additional comment.
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The Fine Print
Deadline: Friday, May 25, 2012 at 11:59pm EST.
Winner: A winner will be chosen at random using Random.org and announced at the top of this post. The winner will also be notified via email and the My Judy the Foodie fan page on Facebook; if the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be selected.
Disclaimer: I was not compensated to write this post. I was invited to the grill-off to taste test many many many pieces of yummy steak and to vote on my favorite steak selection. All opinions expressed in this post are (as always) my own opinions.