Every year I ask my readers: are you having Ham or Lamb for Easter dinner?
Here’s my deep, dark secret – grilling a steak is my favorite Easter tradition. Sure, we’d have ham on Easter. After we stuffed ourselves with chocolate bunnies and jelly beans, ham and swiss was a welcome (salty) change. But what I remember most is coming home from Easter vigil mass, when my dad and uncles would head out into Grandpa Weck’s dark back yard and grill us steaks. (Usually with snowflakes swirling around them.)
I continue this tradition with my family – a big, thick steak on Easter eve, with the best bottle of wine we have left in the house. My kids are coming around – especially my oldest, who realized that teriyaki steak is one of his favorite things. This year’s steaks were made for him.1
There is One Simple Trick2 to teriyaki steak – don’t burn it. Teriyaki sauce has a lot of sugar in it. (That’s why my son loves it.) If I marinate the steak, then drop it over direct heat, it’s going to be black and burnt on the outside long before it gets to room temperature in the middle. That’s where reverse searing came in – I start the steak away from the heat, let it cook through gently, then move it over the fire for a quick minute or two, brushing with teriyaki sauce, and watching it constantly to make sure it doesn’t burn. 3
Looking to add a little Asian zing to your beef? Try a teriyaki steak.
2 Thick Cut Ribeye Steaks (2 inches thick, about 20 ounces per steak)
Teriyaki sauce (or 1 cup store-bought)
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin or seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
1 green onion, trimmed and minced fine
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Marinate the steaks: Two hours before cooking, whisk all the teriyaki ingredients together. Put the steaks in a gallon zip-top bag, pour in 1/2 cup of the teriyaki sauce, and seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. (Save the rest of the teriyaki sauce for the glazing step.) Flip the bag a few times to coat the steak, then refrigerate, flipping often, until it is time to grill.
Set the grill for indirect high heat: Set the grill up for indirect high heat; half the grill with direct high heat, and the other half with no heat. On my Weber kettle I light a full chimney starter of charcoal, wait for it to be mostly covered with gray ash, then pour it in a tight pile over half the grill, two to three coals deep. Then I put the grate on the grill and brush it clean.
Slowly cook the steaks over indirect heat: Insert the probe thermometer through the side of the thickest steak, aiming for center mass. Start the steaks on the indirect heat side of the grill, away from the fire. Close the lid and cook the steaks until they reach an internal temperature of 115°F for medium-rare, about 20 minutes. (For Rare, cook to 105°F internal, about 17 minutes; for Medium, cook to 125°F, about 24 minutes.)
Sear and glaze the steaks, flipping often: Brush the steaks on both sides with teriyaki sauce, then move the steaks to the direct heat side of the grill. Sear the steaks, brushing with sauce and flipping every minute, until they are browned and crusty on both sides, about 4 minutes. (If you are cooking on a gas grill, rotate the steaks 90 degrees after the second flip to get a diamond crosshatch pattern on the steaks. This doesn’t matter as much with a charcoal grill - charcoal will brown the steaks regardless of the grate direction.) Keep an eye on the steaks as you’re flipping them. Teriyaki sauce burns easily - the steaks will go from browned to blackened if you don’t pay attention.
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