The Science Behind the Sear: Is Searing Meat a Myth?

Searing Steak

If you have ever read a recipe on how to prepare a steak, you undoubtedly noticed instructions to sear the steak. At Rib’N Reef, we know how to prepare a steak that you will savor with the perfect balance of juice and a flavorful brown crust.

Searing a steak means to cook it quickly to brown the surface to seal in the juices. However, many chefs have scientifically proven that searing a steak does not add to the juiciness of a steak. In fact, steaks may lose more moisture after searing compared to roasted steaks. However, that does not mean the searing of steak does not have merit in a kitchen.

Locking in Juice

It is believed searing a steak somehow creates a situation where the juices are locked in. However, this theory was tested by cooking two steaks, one seared and the other not, and the moisture levels were found to be the same.

What Makes a Steak Juicy?

To understand what contributes to the juiciness of a steak, it is essential to understand what happens as a steak heats up. The muscle fibers react by contracting, which releases water. Also, the heat from cooking melts the fat, which contributes to the texture of the steak. If a steak is cooked enough to melt the fat, but not so much it contracts and releases too much moisture, the steak is a perfect balance of buttery and juicy. Many cooks agree that the optimal temperature results in a medium-rare steak.

What Is the Purpose of Searing a Steak?

While searing will not guarantee a juicy steak experience, there are still excellent reasons to sear your steak. The searing of steak creates a distinct reaction called the Maillard reaction, and this adds to the experience of eating a fantastic steak.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between the sugars and proteins within a steak. At high temperatures, this effect changes both the color and the flavor of food. This reaction between the protein and the sugar does not just change the color of the food; it also changes the entire aroma and flavor profile, making it even more tempting.

The Maillard reaction is different from caramelization, however. Although it does create browning, caramelization is a reaction of just sugars.

Enjoy Your Steak

It is understood that searing meat does little to lock in moisture and create a juicy steak to enjoy, as only proper cooking can create this sort of culinary masterpiece. However, searing steaks does improve the flavor due to the chemical reaction that takes place between the sugars and the proteins under high heat. If you are concerned the steaks you cook at home will not reach this level, come into Rib’N Reef to experience perfectly cooked steak on our charcoal pit.

Degrees of Doneness: How Would You like Your Steak Prepared?

Steak Grilling

Sitting down for dinner with a beautiful steak on your plate is a great way to end a day. As you sit down at Rib’N Reef, you can expect a premier experience with extraordinary food. Your steak is no exception. At Rib’N Reef, we pride ourselves on creating mouthwatering cuisine that we prepare to your exact specifications.

What Is Happening When a Steak Is Broiling?

As your steak heats up on Rib’N Reef’s charcoal pit, it goes through some changes. The protein molecules unwind, and the heat causes the muscle fibers to shrink. Muscle fibers are mostly water, and as the muscle fibers shrink, they force water out. At the same time, the fat in the steak melts and absorbs into the muscle. This action tenderizes the steak and contributes to the flavor.

Doneness Levels for Steak

At Rib’N Reef, we are committed to ensuring we cook your steak perfectly and to your liking. As you contemplate how you would like your steak prepared, it is helpful to understand the different levels of doneness and how that changes the flavor and texture of the steak.

Rare

If you order your steak rare, the internal temperature of your steak will reach 120 degrees. Your Rib’N Reef steak will be warm, but the center will be red. At this temperature, the fat of the steak will not have a chance to heat up enough to render, or melt, which is lovely for those lean cuts. However, for a steak with a higher fat content, a higher temperature is worth considering.

Medium-Rare

If you prefer your steak medium-rare, expect your steak to be cooked to 130 degrees and warm all the way through. Also, there will be a hint of red in the center, with the rest of the steak being pink. At this level of doneness, the fat has not been able to heat up enough to melt, but most of the moisture has not had a chance to evaporate yet. This balance allows for both a buttery texture from the rendered fat and plenty of juice.

Medium

A medium-done steak will be cooked to an internal temperature of 140 degrees, and the steak will be pink with no hint of red. The fat will have melted into the steak, but some of the moisture will have evaporated.

Medium-Well

If you prefer Rib’N Reef to prepare your steak medium-well, it will be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Just like the medium steak, the fat will have rendered into the steak, and much of the moisture will have evaporated. There will be a slight hint of pink at the center.

Well

A well-done steak will not have a hint of pink in the center, as it will be brown all the way through. The outside will not be burnt, however, because Rib’N Reef understands how to cook a well-done steak to an internal temperature of 170 degrees without overcooking the outside.

Enjoying Fine Steaks While on a Diet

Healthy Steak

Diets can be a real challenge. It is difficult to find a balance. On the one hand, healthy eating is essential. But some indulgence can help you reach your goals without feeling stressed. People who take care of themselves deserve to be rewarded.

 

Is it possible to reward yourself without undoing your hard work? As it turns out, it is. A delicious steak can be a great way to indulge a little without ruining your diet. Steaks can even be part of a healthy diet.

 

At Rib’N Reef, we applaud our customers for living healthy lives. So how does a luxurious steak fit into a healthy diet?

 

Health Benefits of Steak

 

You might not think that steaks can be part of a proper diet. Of course, as with anything, moderation is the key. Eating too much red meat can contribute to obesity-related illnesses like heart disease. However, as an occasional meal, there is no reason why a steak can’t be healthy as well as delicious.

 

Steak is surprisingly low in fat and carbohydrates. In general, an 8-ounce steak contains between 10 and 16 grams of fat. There is a widespread belief that steak only contains saturated fat. About 40 to 50 percent of the fat in steak is indeed saturated. But the remaining fat is monounsaturated. This is the fat that is often recommended to improve heart health. It is found in olive oil and is popularly called “healthy fat.”

 

Steak can also be a source of essential nutrients. It is high in protein, with about 45 to 50 grams in an 8-ounce steak. Steak is also a great source of iron and vitamin B12. A single serving can provide your daily iron requirement. This makes it an excellent choice for those with iron deficiencies.

 

How Steak and Dieting Can Coexist

 

Although there are nutritional benefits, you should still make healthy choices while dieting. There are many ways to make sure your steak is a benefit to your health instead of a detriment.

 

The cut and the cooking of your steak can affect its nutritional content. Different cuts vary widely in calorie counts and fat content. If you are dieting, it is usually better to choose a leaner cut of meat. Bottom round and sirloin-tip side steaks have some of the lowest calorie counts.

 

The way your steak is cooked is also vital. Avoid fried steaks wherever possible. Of course, as in everything, moderation is key. If you are watching your nutrition, don’t choose the biggest steak of the menu. Opt instead for a smaller steak with healthy side dishes.

 

Remember, as well, that steak is only one part of a meal. You can keep it on the straight and narrow by choosing healthy sides. Opt for vegetables, whole grains, and even fruits over fried foods.

 

Steaks have a reputation for being luxurious, and they certainly are. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a delicious cut of meat while watching your diet – as long as you do so prudently.

Best Fruits and Veggie Pairings for Steaks

Veggies & Steaks

Some people make the mistake of thinking that an excellent steak is just a piece of meat. In reality, the best steak meals are far more than just a cut of beef! Much more goes into a delicious steak dinner than merely cooking it properly. The best steak meals are paired with tasty sauces, veggies, and even fruits!

 

If you are looking to take your next fine steak meal to the next level, try some of these outstanding fruits or veggies as garnishes and sides. There are plenty of reasons that fruit and vegetables have become some of the classic companions to fine dining. Check out some of our ideas for the best fruits and veggie pairings for steaks, and you are likely to find a new favorite!

No Shortage of Scrumptious Selections

Fruits are a great flavor and nutritional complement to any steak. Citruses are especially popular, so any chance you get to add some orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple to your steak is a great opportunity. Citrus helps bring out the flavor of foods, and steak is no exception. Mango is another popular choice. While often thought to be a citrus fruit, mango is a tropical fruit with a sweet, tangy flavor that can complement a good steak.

 

Other fruits are not as sweet or tart but enhance a steak dinner, as well. Zucchinis are a classic pairing with steaks since they have a light flavor and a delicate consistency. They can be roasted, fried, or steamed in a variety of ways, each influencing just how the zucchini tastes. There is no wrong answer for most people since zucchini is nearly a universal favorite.

 

Avocado is an increasingly more common addition to steak dinners. Avocados are packed with savory flavor and healthy fats that can bring out the character of some cuts of steak.

 

Tomatoes are a classic addition to steak dinners and can be used in all kinds of ways, from sauces and glazes to diced sides or toppings. The acidic flavor of tomatoes can bring out the best in a good cut of steak.

 

Vegetables are a natural pairing with steak since so many of them go so well. Steamed asparagus is a healthy, flavorful option. The slight bitterness of asparagus is right at home next to the intense flavor of beef. Spinach, too, brings a crunchy, leafy palette cleanse that can help the flavors in skillfully cooked meat shine.

Of course, if you are stuck between a few options, you can always mix them and see how they work out! When you find yourself in an indecisive mood, or if you are unsure what you might like best with steak, opt for a side salad. Not only is this a healthy side option, but it can also help you figure out which flavors you enjoy best. Remember, the most crucial part of a steak dinner is that you enjoy it. Finding the best pairings for steaks is really about what you like best.

Pairing Summer Drinks With The Grill

Summer Grill

We all have our favorites when it comes to pairing a drink with a great steak. But this summer why not be a little more adventurous and pour yourself something a little different.

Grilled Sangria

Keep to the theme of grilling by preparing a grilled sangria. This concept drink has become extremely popular in the last couple of years, with grilled fruit adding a touch of smoky flavor to a blending of brandy and red wine. Grilled apples, citrus, and grapes round out the taste and mellow out this drink. To prepare: place grapes on skewers, cut up slices of apples, lemons, and oranges – and place on a medium-high grill. Cover and grill until the fruit is softened and slightly charred. Cool and place in a large glass pitcher. Then add brandy, red wine, orange juice, and a simple syrup to blend. Chill for at least 6 hours so the flavors fuse together. Serve with any cut of grilled steak with a side of grilled vegetables and a light salad.

Smoky Cocktails

Smoke-flavored cocktails are great served alongside a barbequed steak and side dishes. Use smoky spirits such as a Mexican mezcal or a single malt Scotch to create a summer cocktail that your guests are sure to remember. A great cocktail is the “Blood and Sand” that has been around since the 1930s, when it was introduced and named after a bullfighter movie that starred the famous Rudolph Valentino. The drink is made with a blend of scotch, sweet vermouth, Heering cherry liqueur, and fresh squeezed orange juice. Shake with ice and strain, served in a chilled cocktail glass alongside a grilled New York steak.

White Summer Wines

When we think of steak we usually think of a glass of bold, red wine. But don’t be afraid to pair grilled steak with a fruity and full-bodied white wine. The richness of the steak complements the lighter tones of a chilled white. This summer keep a few bottles of white in the fridge, such as a classic German Riesling or a dry and crisp Chenin Blanc from France.

Rosé Wines

When summer is here, rosé wines become the go-to-wine when looking for a drink that has the characteristics of a red but with a lighter and unique taste. Try the pink hues of rosé with your next grilled steak – the zesty spice and fruity notes of many rosés is ideal for pairing with a grilled flank steak or a rib eye.

The Summer Non-Alcoholic Drink

While steak goes so well paired with a cocktail, wine, or beer, it’s equally as tasty with a non-alcoholic drink on hot summer days. The next time you’re grilling, get creative with a non-alcoholic drink. It can be as simple as chilled pomegranate or cranberry juice mixed with club soda poured over ice. Or try a tropical fizzy drink by mixing together fresh orange juice, seltzer water, and chopped mint leaves.

No matter what drink you decide to pair with grilled steak, it’s all about the art of having a lazy summer that’s filled with good food and drink. Visit us at Rib’N Reef as we continue the culinary theme of summer with one of our great steaks and cocktails.

Summers Here! Time To Throw Steaks On The Grill

Charcoal grilling

Summer is finally here. And that means warmer weather and longer days of sun. So, it’s the perfect time to get out of the kitchen and spend more time outdoors…grilling steak of course! Instead of heating up the kitchen, fire up the grill and get ready for some summer steak. Whether you have a charcoal grill or gas barbeque, here’s how to enjoy grilled steak this summer.

Charcoal Grilling

Charcoal grills come in all sizes, which is ideal if you only have a small backyard or garden space. Grilling over charcoal gives steak a rich and smoky flavor that you won’t be able to duplicate on a gas barbeque.  It also takes a bit more patience to cook over a charcoal grill, but the end result of a moist and juicy steak is well worth it.

Choosing the right cut of steak

It’s really about choosing any cut – any cut of steak tastes delicious cooked over charcoal. Some great options are a New York strip or a rib eye. Look for cuts that have a good marbling of fat to ensure juiciness and a buttery flavor.

Prepping the steak

Remove the steak from the fridge about 20 minutes before grilling. Season well with salt and pepper, giving the seasoning time to set into the meat, enhancing the flavor. If you want additional flavor, season the meat with a summer rub made with paprika, minced onion, minced garlic, and ground coriander.

Heat up the grill

Light up the charcoal, allowing the coals to heat. Once the charcoal is hot and ready to grill, build up the coals to one side of the grill to create a direct hot zone, leaving the other side of the grill as the “cool zone”.

Cooking steak over coals

Place the steaks on the grill over the hot zone – cook for about two to three minutes until the outside of the meat is nicely seared. Flip over and sear the other side for another two to three minutes. Then move the steak to the cool zone of the grill and cook until done. Use a meat thermometer to get the cook you want:

  • Rare: 120-125F
  • Medium: 125-135F
  • Well done: 140F

Serve with a summer salad and grilled corn.

Gas Barbeque Grilling

Cooking on a gas barbeque is fast and easy. Just heat up the grill and start cooking any cut of steak.

Warm up the steak

Steak needs be taken out of the fridge before cooking on a gas grill – otherwise if you put cold steak on a hot grill the outside will burn before the interior is cooked to perfection.

Marinade and season the steak

Summer marinades are a nice way to add extra flavor to steak. It’s also a good way to add tenderness to less choice cuts of meat such as a flank steak or those steaks that don’t have enough marbling. Here’s the perfect summer marinade – 3 tablespoons tequila mixed with olive oil, fresh lime juice, coarsely chopped garlic, and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Spread over the steak and chill for about 15 to 20 minutes, taking the steak out of the fridge to warm up before grilling.

Cooking BBQ steak

Make sure the grill is good and hot before cooking the steak. The high heat is going to quickly sear the steak, sealing in the juices. Then move to a less hot area of the grill and cook until done.

Grilled steak goes well with grilled vegetables and a baked potato.

Take advantage of the summer weather to grill steak outdoors. And when you’re ready to treat yourself to a great steak dinner that someone else has prepared for you, come spend an evening with us at Rib’N Reef.

The Most Interesting Ways to Cook Steaks

Steak in Montreal

You might think that cooking steaks is pretty straightforward, even if there is an art to it. But like many forms of cooking, getting a perfectly cooked steak is a journey that can take many forms. There are actually many ways to cook a steak, even beyond the traditional methods of grilling, roasting, or pan-frying. So what are the ways that you can push your culinary know-how when it comes to cooking a great steak?

Cooking It on Coals 

If you want to try something really old-school, try cooking your steak directly on coals. For grilling like this, you wouldn’t want to use briquettes. Instead, use regular, clean coal. It won’t leave an odd flavor in your steak. What it will do is impart a layered, intense flavor. Cooking on coals requires being focused and present. You will need to flip the steak every few minutes. With proper monitoring, it will become ultra-crispy on the outside and smoky and juicy on the inside.

Smoking It at Home 

If you’ve ever had a really good barbecue, you know what effect smoke can have on meat. There is a reason that everyone loves classic smoked meats like brisket. But believe it or not, you can actually smoke your own steak right in your own home.

The perfect steak for smoking is a bigger, thicker steak. You may also want to prepare a marinade for your steak. Grilling and smoking purists will say that this is the wrong way to go about it, but smoking steaks can be tricky. It can be a bit of a battle to keep the moisture in the meat. You want to get that smoky flavour while keeping a tender, soft consistency. Even though it can be a challenge, it is not impossible — and getting it perfect is worth the effort.

Cooking a Shovel Steak

 The term “shovel steak” is not a manner of speech. This delicious, crispy steak earns its name because it is literally cooked on a shovel. Cooking on an open fire can make you feel primitive, but there is nothing more delicious than a perfectly cooked steak eaten flame-side. To cook a shovel steak, build your campfire, adding enough wood to keep it piping hot. Season your steak with whatever rub or marinade you like. Then preheat your shovel by laying it on the flames for about five minutes.

When the shovel is hot, lay your steak on it and put it directly into the flames. This essentially works like frying it in a pan. However, the extra-hot temperature and direct flame exposure give it a unique flavor and an excellent sear on the outside. When done right, shovel steaks can be crispy on the exterior and tender and juicy in the middle.

If you love to experiment with cooking steak, challenge yourself to try something new this summer. And when you’ve had your fill of the great outdoors, visit Rib’N Reef for our own delicious specialty steaks.

The Best New Steak Rubs You Haven’t Heard About

Montreal steak

Summer is upon us, and that means one thing: It is time for cookouts! Making steak on the grill is a wonderful way to get a dinner you won’t forget for a long time. But there’s so much that goes into making a steak really special.

Some people say that a good steak doesn’t need any seasoning — except maybe a sprinkle of salt. If you consider yourself a traditionalist, go ahead and make yourself a plain steak. But there are plenty of reasons to try out a great new steak rub at your next cookout. Here are five steak rubs that are perfect for summertime. To get them perfectly aromatic, gently heat them before rubbing into your steak.

Flavours of Mexico

If you want to get a kick of the South in the steak, try a rub called the “Carne Asada.” This semi-dry rub combines dark beer and lime juice with spices and herbs like cumin, chili powder, garlic, cilantro, oregano, black pepper, and dried ancho chili powder. It is a smoky, tangy rub with just the right amount of spice. So if you can’t get enough of hot peppers, this might be the perfect steak rub for you.

Flavours of Spain

 For a truly original steak rub, try going to another country that’s strong on its flavours: Spain. This delicious steak rub uses parsley combined with smoked paprika and orange zest for a delicious combination that is both smoky and fruity all at once. What is more, it has a totally unique flavour that you probably won’t find at any other barbecue this summer. If you are looking to really stand out in your grill game, try this one-of-a-kind rub that is straight from Barcelona.

Flavours of North Africa

 When you think of the perfect steak rub, you might not think of Africa. But this delicious steak rub is perfect for a summertime barbecue. You may not be taking a trip to Morocco, but there’s no need: This taste will bring the flavours of North Africa right to you. This wet rub uses a paste to work flavours deep into the meat. Just combine olive oil, harissa paste, chili powder, and a little bit of orange zest for a spicy, unique taste with a burst of fruit.

Flavours of China

 Chinese spices may not be your go-to when it is time for a summer barbecue, but don’t hesitate to try something new. You can make a delicious summertime wet rub with scallions, garlic, sesame oil, white vinegar, sriracha, and hoisin sauce.

Flavours of Montreal 

Trips around the world are fun, but sometimes, a taste of home is all you need. Make the perfect Montreal dry rub with black and red pepper, coriander, dill, paprika, and some onion and garlic powder. It is the perfect taste for a summer evening with friends. For the nights that you need a rest from the grill, visit Rib’N Reef for a steak experience like no other.