Food & Drink

For the Best Grilled Steak of Your Life, Add a Little Sugar

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I’m discovering that as I lower my meat consumption, after I do eat beef I need it to style like itself. No overwrought marinades or fussy dry rubs — simply give me the extraordinary beefiness of a well-marbled steak, impeccably seasoned and encrusted with char from just a few activates a searing-hot cooktop.  

Sugar coatings crop up every so often on meals media as guarantors for a superb meat sear, and I’m sure I’ve thrown brown sugar into some rub or one other throughout my baroque marination days. However I by no means tried it by itself (with salt for seasoning, in fact) till I noticed this intriguing recipe for sugar steak examined by the culinary wizards at America’s Test Kitchen.

The tactic — during which you coat steak in a mix of white sugar and salt, let it sit, then coat it once more within the combination earlier than grilling it — supposedly originated at a historic steakhouse in Denver referred to as Bastien’s. ATK loves the tactic for the push of beefiness that follows an preliminary, though not overwhelming, hit of sweetness. The key, they are saying, is in getting the ratio of sugar to salt proper so that you style clear sweetness with out bitterness. Right here’s what occurred after I tried it.

Pat all sides of the steaks dry with paper towels. ATK requires 1-inch-thick New York strips to permit an ample crust to kind with out overcooking the inside.

In a small bowl, combine 4 components sugar to 3 components salt. For 2 steaks, 4 tablespoons of sugar and three tablespoons of salt is lots. Sprinkle all sides of the meat with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar-salt combination. Cowl with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour. You too can go away it within the fridge for as much as 24 hours. Take it out an hour earlier than grilling to let it come nearer to room temperature.  

Flip all burners to excessive and let the grill get screaming scorching. Decrease the warmth to medium-high and scrape the grates clear. Use tongs to grease the grates with a paper towel doused in a impartial oil like canola or grapeseed. (For a charcoal grill, let the coals burn till they’re coated with white-gray ash; it is going to take 15 to twenty minutes for medium-high warmth.)

Simply earlier than you begin cooking, apply an extra teaspoon of sugar-salt to every facet of the steaks plus a number of grinds of black pepper. Place the steaks on the grill. Prepare dinner for a couple of minutes on the primary facet, shifting by 45 levels as soon as midway by way of to create lovely crosshatches and assist forestall burning. Flip the steaks and prepare dinner for one more 5 or so minutes for medium-rare to medium, shifting them round a couple of times with tongs to forestall burning. 

Take away the steaks from the warmth, set them on a cooling rack over a baking sheet, cowl with foil, and let relaxation for no less than 5 minutes. Slice and eat instantly. 

My Trustworthy Evaluate of Sugar Steak

I cherished this methodology for its simplicity, the beautiful lacquered char it creates, and the way a lot it enhances an already scrumptious piece of beef. On first chunk, you’ll get a touch of sweetness, which shortly provides strategy to deep, wealthy meatiness. In different phrases, it’s every part I like about steak, supercharged. 

2 Suggestions for Making Sugar Steak

Maggie Hennessy


Maggie Hennessy is a contract meals & drink journalist and licensed chef. The previous Time Out Chicago restaurant critic, Hennessy’s work has appeared in such publications as Bon Appetit, Salon, Plate, Food52 and Eater.

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