Dispatch from Aspen: Master Grilling Tips

June 2011

Tim Love—chef-owner of the Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas and Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America alum—launched the 29th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen this morning with a high-energy class on master grilling techniques. (Envision a white tent, the seductive smell of grilled meat, and the thumping sound of country-rock music.)

If you've got plans to fire up the barbecue this Father's Day weekend, you'll want to read Love's tips for grilling the perfect steak:

1. Preheat the grill to 450 to 500 "screaming-hot" degrees, while simultaneously bringing the beef to room temperature so that it cooks evenly.

2. Liberally season the meat with cracked pepper, salt, and peanut oil, which, unlike olive oil, doesn't burn or taste bitter when heated at high temperatures. For the best flavor, choose a high-fat cut, like rib-eye.

3. Place the meat on the grill, and—this is important—close the lid. This helps maintain the grill's temperature and allows the smoke to flavor the meat.

4. After 3 to 4 minutes (depending on meat's thickness), flip the steak once and close the lid again.

5. After 3 to 4 more minutes, remove the meat from the grill and set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes to rest. This allows it to relax and absorb its own juices.

6. Once the meat has rested, set it on the high rack of the grill for a couple minues to heat it.

7. If you're a purist, serve the steak whole. To dress it up a bit, slice the meat, douse it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with chopped basil, rosemary, and chives just prior to serving.

Tip: Don't marinate the meat with Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar...or anything else. They just obscure the meat's natural flavor.