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Monday, January 12, 2009

First Guy Night of the New Year + Video of Flame Searing Steaks!!!

Dad and I got together for Guy Night on January 9th. He brought the wine, I provided the steaks and potatoes and he also came through with a nice little bag of Royal Red Shrimps from the Gulf. Every year my folks go down to the Gulf of Mexico and pick up a cooler full of Royal Reds right from the dock, remove the heads and straight into the freezer. They are phenomenal. They have more flavor than your standard shrimps. So surf and turf (and spuds) it was.

Let's get to the ingredients for this meal. First off, a couple of fat New York Strips. Here they are coming up to room temp. Never cook cold steaks. I don't know the science behind it but I always cook my steaks at room temp:

Before I cooked them I wanted to try out the branding iron my 8 month old son got me for Christmas. I think my wonderful wife had something to do with helping him order it but I hear it was all his idea. And I must say it is really cool. At least when using a cut of meat big enough to accommodate the entire brand and these two bad boys did so nicely:

I was able to brand both without having to reheat the brand. Totally cool!!!

But before we get to the cooking of the steaks, including video of the searing both steaks, I should go over the sides. Two of the easiest sides you will ever make - Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Shrimps.

I took about five red potatoes and chopped them into similar sized chunks in order to ensure they cook evenly:

Then simply add some garlic, a good size pinch of salt, a few cranks of black pepper and drizzle in the veggie oil of your choice (in this case Olive Oil). If you want to add some herbs or red pepper flakes or anything else you feel like, go for it. For these I used some dried oregano. No reason other than the jar was the closest to me. If you want to use infused oils like garlic oil or hot pepper oil, that would work too. Here we have the potatoes with all the ingredients waiting for a spoon to mix the ingredients through:

I let the potatoes marinate in the oil/garlic/pepper/oregano for about 15 minutes. Then I preheated the oven to 400 and spread the potatoes out on a cookie sheet:

In the oven for 45 minutes at 400 and then about another five minutes under the broiler and we have nicely golden roasted potatoes:

As soon as I put the potatoes in the oven I lit the paper under my chimney starter while dad got to work on these beauties:

After he shelled and deveined the shrimps we were ready to dump the coals and throw our steaks on:

But first the wine. Again dad came through with an amazing wine. Dead Letter Office Shiraz:

With the coals dumped it was time to do some searing. Same story as all my other steaks. Two zone grilling with coals on one side and nothing on the other. Pour some oil, sear on the flames, rotate for the grill marks if you wish, pour more oil, flip over, repeat. Pull to the side to bake. Before we get to the video, let me show a valuable piece of equipment that I use every time I make steaks. It's a long bottle for oil that allows me to hold the base of the bottle and not burn myself when I pour the oil. Smaller bottles will put your hand right over where the flames are about to erupt from your grill. The wine bottle is there for size perspective:


Now that that is out of the way back to the grillin. My dad likes his steak a little more done than I like mine so his went on first. Here is the video of the process. Forgive me for the low lighting, I am by no means any good with a camera for still or for video:

Flipped dad's over and repeated the process:

Here is a shot of this steak pulled off the heat and off to the side to be baked for a few minutes. How bout the cross hatching? This is not normally a priority for me, but I wanted to show how it is done:

Here is the other side with the Brand. Oh, how I love this new toy!!!

I baked Dad's steak for maybe 4-5 minutes before putting mine on. When mine bakes for a couple of minutes it will give Dad's about 6-7 minutes total baking time and thus a nice medium rare that he likes.

I noticed when doing Dad's steak that the oil poured on the fire that was upwind from the steak did not really have any impact on the steak as the wind blew it away from the steak. So when I did mine, I poured the oil in a tighter spot rather than in a large circle and put the steak on the grill a little upwind from where I poured the oil so the wind would blow the flames into the steak. This will make the oil last longer thus you will use less. You can see the oil lasted much longer in this vid:

I only showed the searing of one side of my steak. After three videos of the process I think you get the idea.

After baking mine a couple of minutes following the searing I pulled both off to rest:

Dad is a big fan of foiling the steaks while resting. I've never done it but we went with it this time. You don't need to seal it tight, it just helps retain some of the heat while resting as well as the moisture:

While the steaks were resting the shrimp went on. Since I was having so much fun with the flame searing I went ahead and flamed them as well. You can see that I am using a grill pan which will save me a lot of time instead of having to manage 15 or so shrimps at one time:

Time to bring this meal together. Here we have Dad's plated:

And here we have mine:

I suppose you want the money shot now. Well in this post you get two for the price of one. Here is Dad's:

And here is mine:

Total time from start to finish to make this meal, 60 minutes. Now on to the movie:

I almost forgot. Dad and I did it up right this time with a little dessert wine with the movie. Old Benson's Tawny Port. Here is a pic of this nectar of the gods!!!

I looked at this pic and it looks like Dad and I cracked a second bottle of wine. For those of you who are not familiar with Port, I feel another picture is necessary to get some perspective on what Port is all about:

That bottle is not a full size bottle and neither is the glass. But a pic with just the two of them looks like they are both normal size. One drinks port in 1.5-2 ounce increments. I like to explain Port with this analogy. Wine is to Port as Coffee is to Espresso. Port and Espresso are both more concentrated versions of wine and coffee, respectively. Port is thicker than wine and sweeter than wine. Incredible stuff.


  1. Did you use any seasoning or marinade on the shrimp?
    You have a nice voice. Brought my son running to watch the video and then he was enthralled by the flame. :D

  2. This post is inspirational! The videos are really great for those of us who have never tried the oil sear before. Well done sir.

  3. Monkey,

    I did not put anything on the Royal Reds. Had they been regular shrimps from my grocery store I probably would've done some butter and garlic before putting them on the grill. But the Royal Reds have a ton of flavor on their own. Combined with a clarified butter dipping sauce they didn't need much. I didn't show the dipping sauce because the only bowls I had for the sauce were little bowls I used to feed my 8 month old!?!?! Sorta took away from the overall aesthetic.


    One can sear without the oil. A fire hot enough to ignite oil is hot enough to sear on it's own, but it will take a little longer and I feel that the flame searing adds a better crust to the steak than just searing over coals.

  4. HAHA!!! I always end up doing that myself! Have a beautiful presentation...with a ducky cup thrown in somewhere. Or a complete china setting out for dinner but one plate is broken so someone has to make do with a Little Mermaid plate :P

    I have a quick question about your charcoal. What kind do you use? Lighter fluid or do you prefer oil to start your fire as well? How long do you let your fire come to temp (before your handy-dandy thermometer) before steaking? I've only ever cooked over coals so flame is the new frontier.
    Thanks (as sorry they weren't quick questions.)

    PS...I found you from Craftster)

  5. Monkey,

    I always use a chimney starter. When I dump the coals they are usually flaming already. I never use lighter fluid or oil. I can taste the fluid in the meat. Anyone who thinks that I'm full of crap needs to use a chimney for about a month and then start a fire with fluid. The difference will be quite evident!!

    So basically I dump my charcoal and can throw the steaks on within seconds of that...

    As for the type of charcoal I use, the cheapest I can find. Usually the brand my grocery store makes (or repackages). I do use lump charcoal when smoking with my offset smoker as it burns hotter so I can get the temp up to 225.