You must have some level of reverence when you cook a porterhouse steak. There is a delicate balance between the buttery tender filet and the meaty strip steak that is separated only by a bone. It can prove challenging to grill.
These 40 oz. Texas Raised Wagyu steaks from Rosewood Farms really put that to the test. A tremendous amount of love, time, and attention is put into the creation of these steaks including managing the grass-fed herd from “conception to plate” – naturally and hormone free. So, the stakes – no pun intended – are high. You really need to do this right.
There are literally hundreds of ways to cook a steak from cast iron to live fire, but to get the perfect “steak house” crust at home here are few things I’ve learned over the years:
1. Buy really good steaks that are at least prime in grade or Texas Wagyu as described here. The steaks need to have a certain level of intra-muscular fat otherwise the surface will get dry rather than crusty. I don’t have any science here – just experience. Although you can ruin a great piece of meat, I’ve never seen a bad one turn into something great.
2. Air dry the steaks for about 12 hours in the refrigerator on a wire rack. The purpose here is only to dry out the surface which helps in forming the crust. I don’t “dry brine” steaks such as these beautiful cuts of meat because my goal is make sure the surface is dry so that the heat can create the crust. Salt on the surface will create moisture which defeats the purpose. Plus, I like the texture of crunchy salt on the surface of steak – so for me, it is best put this on with freshly ground pepper moments before they are cooked. Don’t be tempted to “dry age” steaks in the refrigerator. Anything more than 12 hours will just give you a stale tasting steak. The big steak houses can accomplish this careful combination of temperature and humidity – plus they are often dry aging larger pieces of meat which allow trimming later. It is virtually impossible to dry age a single steak. Remove big steaks like these at least 90 minutes before cooking so they begin to lose the chill of the refrigerator.
3. Cook the steak in a “safe” extremely hot environment. Here we cooked them in a wood fired oven on a small Tuscan grill where the temperature is hovering around 900 degrees. In this setting they will cook in about 10 minutes which allows the crust to form and the interior of the steak to get to the right temperature before the outside dries out or burns. The word “safe” comes from the fact that most of the heat is coming from the dome above the steaks with only some heat coming from the oven floor. This prevents flare ups from occurring which can put soot on the steak (it won’t be perfect) but the extremely hot temperature literally burns up the drippings on contact. These steaks cook quickly at these temperatures so it is important to keep a careful eye as they get close to your target temperature. I’ve learned over the years to pull every steak at 120 degrees (which is rare by most standards) because the carry over heat curve is steep – they will continue to increase in temperature while resting to medium rare and can overcook easily if you let them go much beyond this target.
4. Let the steaks rest for at least 20 minutes although 30 might be better. This break will allow the heat to distribute evenly though out the meat, the muscle fibers to relax, and the steaks to finish cooking. With beautiful steaks like these you don’t need a sauce of any kind – just plenty of hungry people!
#porterhouse #steaks #woodfiredoven #crust