Published May 1, 2008.
At $25 per steak, charring a rich T-bone is an unacceptable—but frequent—outcome. For grilled steak perfection, we look to a Florentine prototype.
Grilling fatty American beef over the hot fire created by charcoal briquettes often produces dripping fat, causing flare-ups and charring the meat. Moving the steaks periodically prevents charring, but it also keeps them from developing a good crust.
We wanted to produce a steak in the Florentine style—with a dark crust, smoky aroma, and deep grill flavor.
We solved the charring problem by spreading the coals evenly over only one half of the grill and initially searing the steaks directly over the coals. After the steaks developed the right color, we moved them to the coal-free side to gently finish cooking over indirect heat. But we still faced a problem created by the T-bone structure. A T-bone is really two steaks—a tender New York strip steak on one side of the bone and a buttery tenderloin on the other. We found the tenderloin side tended to cook faster than the strip side, becoming somewhat tough and dry. The answer was to position the meat so that the tenderloin always faced the cooler side of the grill. There was one final question to answer: Would it make a difference if we salted the meat earlier in the process? Yes. By sprinkling the meat with salt half an hour before grilling, we boosted the flavor from crust to bone. (It’s necessary to remove any moisture that accumulates on the surface of the steaks with paper towels, so that the steaks start searing immediately, rather than steaming on the grill.)list of recipes