Q & A with Dean Fearing, Executive Chef, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas.
Q: What are your professional tips on grilling the perfect steak?
A: That's easy - a hot fire, clean grate and very well seasoned steaks. To season the steaks, first I drizzle on olive oil then use lots of good sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper for a standard steak.
For steaks with a different flavor, I like to make my own pepper mixture. Always start with cracked black pepper, but then you can add some chili flakes, white pepper, a little garlic powder, a little bit of Anjou powder or a chipotle powder, which is a little smokier and hotter. You can use any of these that you like in any combination and, of course, salt.
As far as cooking goes, getting your grill hot enough is key, as is not turning your steak too many times on the grill. Sear the steak really well on one side and then turn it to cook on the second side. If you sear it on one side, flip and then cook it on the other, you'll seal the juices inside and will have a juicy steak in the end.
Q: What cuts of meat do you prefer to grill?
A: They are all good but to me thicker is better. I have no problem with any beef. I love all cuts, but I stay pretty much with thick tenderloin, thick strips, a thick fillet or thick porterhouses when I grill.
The thicker the beef, the more time it has to cook, which allows that beautiful, rosy medium rare color to develop. And, never cut into the steak until five to seven minutes after it is off the fire. All of the juices will run out unless you let the meat sit for a few minutes.
Q: What wines do you enjoy with grilled steaks?
A: With steaks, obviously the most common choice is a Cabernet, but I love the big, spicy heartiness of the Zinfandels and the Shirazes. The fun part about wine and food is experimenting. I've had some great pinot noirs with beef. We live in a world where nothing stays the same; what I loved a month ago is different than what I love in wine now. Wine is always moving forward. But if I had to pick one I would pick a big hearty Zinfandel.
Q: What is your opinion of the Hasty Bake Grill?
A: The Hasty Bake Grill is an amazing grill. It really is. And what makes it so amazing is that you can raise or lower its heat source - which is what makes it a lot more functional than other grills. Because of that feature, you can smoke in it, you can grill in it, or you can do long-term cooking in it. You can even do a big turkey in a Hasty Bake Grill.
For steaks, what I love about this grill is that you can raise the heat source right up to the grates and get it really, really hot. So when you put your meat on, you can sear it quickly, lower the heat, throw in a handful of chicory chips, and smoke grill your steaks or ribs. What comes out is the most awesome taste.
Other grills can only hope they will grow up to be a Hasty Bake Grill.