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  Nathaniel Prugh I’ve Raised the Steaks   Serves 2-4 Step by Step Instructions The steak I used in this recipe was a top sirloin, however you may use whatever cut you please. I recommend dry rubbing or marinating your steak prior to cooking, it will enhance the flavor of your steak, and help to tenderize it. Marinades are more effective in tenderizing a steak than dry rubs are because the liquids in the marinades seep into the meat along with the salt to more thoroughly break down muscle tissue. For this reason I suggest using marinades for lean beef if you want more tenderization, and dry rubs for steaks that are already tender cuts. ●Dry rub or marinade you steak. An excellent dry rub could include salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne. Add any other ingredients you enjoy. Make sure you let the dry rub sit for at least a few hours. ●Marinades can include many ingredients, some ingredients I like to add are: soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, pepper, and salt. When you marinade your steak, let it sit for at least 2 hours to overnight. Too much time marinating will deteriorate the meat. I dry rubbed my top sirloin overnight, and as it is a more lean cut, I did not see the need to marinade it. Both of the styles of grilling will yield a medium-rare/medium steak. For a very tender steak:  1.At this point you will have a steak that has been dry rubbed or marinated. Turn your grill on, you could use one or both burners, and set it to the lowest setting. Allow the grill to heat up to around 250-300 degrees Fahrenheit and put the steak on the grill. Make sure the grill doesn’t go too high, and try to keep it below 400 degrees. 2.Allow the steak to cook on one side for roughly fifteen minutes, and feel free to move it around the grill to hotter or cooler parts, just don’t move it too much in order to avoid losing too much of the juices inside the steak. 3.Once you flip it, allow for another 12-15 minutes to cook and then remove from the heat.  Allow the steak to rest for five minutes before cutting into it. This step is crucial, because the last five minutes lets the steak finish cooking. Enjoy!   For a flavorful and juicy steak:  1.For a steak that is less tender, but more flavorful and juicy, crank the grill up, and allow it to get to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t be worried if the temperature goes beyond 400 degrees. If you think the grill is too hot, open the lid to allow heat to escape. 2.Once you put the steak on, close the grill and allow it to cook for three minutes. 3.Rotate the steak 90 degrees, this gives the steak grill marks. Let the steak cook for another 2-3 minutes. 4.Flip the steak, cooking for another three minutes. 5.Proceed to rotate the steak 90 degrees just like you did on the other side, and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. After removing from the grill remember to let the meat rest for five minutes!  Experiment: What I Tried My independant and dependant variables were all qualitative. One independent variable was aging the steak to see if it increased tenderness and flavor(the dependant variable), and the other independent variable was grilling styles. The dependant variable remained the same for the grilling styles as well. I wanted to see if aging or grill style yielded the best results for a very tender steak. Many steak recipes call for a brine or marinade to increase the flavor and tenderness of a steak. While this is certainly helpful to the flavor of the steak, I suggest taking extra steps in the cooking process itself to increase tenderness. There are a few ways to tenderize your steak, and it ultimately depends on what cut of meat you have. I attempted to do a dry aging process in my refrigerator with a cut of meat that was already quite tender. The thought process behind this was that because refrigerating the meat would make it more tender, then I could take an already tender steak and make it even more tender. I wrapped the steak in cheesecloth in order to prevent excessive moisture loss and refrigerated the steak for 48 hours. I also left a second steak in its package and also refrigerated it. I was hoping that the cheesecloth would prevent a large amount of moisture from leaving the steak, and what I found was that this steak  did not benefit from the dry aging process. The loss of moisture shrivels the fat and removes most of the moisture from the meat. This makes the meat more rigid and tough, opposed to the marbled fat and tender meat of the steak I left in the package. If you want a steak with less moisture, wrap it in cheesecloth and leave it in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. Overall, the steak that was left in the package was enjoyed more than the steak that was wrapped in cheesecloth. The lack of moisture ultimately killed the flavor and tenderness for this steak. In the graph below, the graph below, the blue bar represents steak A, which was the dry aged steak, and the red bar represents steak B, which was left in it’s package and not dry aged. Clearly you can see that steak B was much more tender and full of flavor. Now moving on to my grilling tests. The steaks that were grill tested were enjoyed much more than the ones that were the subject of the dry aging test. I figured that dry aging is not necessary at all, and losing moisture is something that you do not want to happen to your steaks. The test with the steaks that were dry rubbed was a test for how different styles of grilling affect tenderness, flavor, and moisture. Steak A was grilled low and slow, and steak B was grilled at a higher temperature and for a shorter amount of time. The graph shows that every taste tester for the two steaks found that steak A was more tender, yet did not hold its flavor as well as steak B did. Steak B had more flavor and moisture, but was also less tender than than Steak A. The different grilling styles should be chosen based on what you like in a steak.  Science: Why This Works Imagine the most tender steak you’ve ever had. Maybe it was at a steakhouse or it was slow cooked in a smoker at an outdoor cooking event. Chances are that the most tender steak you had was handled by experienced cooks that know how to cook any cut of meat. The restaurant industry will often dry age their meat in a refrigerator of about 40 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days. This method works particularly well with tougher cuts of meat that contain more collagen, which is a protein that holds muscles and muscle tissue together. Cuts of meat that are more lean and contain less fat typically have the most collagen. Chuck cuts, sirloin tip side steak, and top round steak are a few examples of lean cuts of beef. The cooking process for lean and fatty cuts of beef are very different. In a lean cut if beef, you want to increase the tenderizing process because lean cuts contain much more collagen that is ultimately harder to chew and cut. Fatty cuts of meat require less tenderizing because there is less collagen and therefore less tough tissue holding muscles together. I would suggest using dry aging on tough cuts of meat that have a lot of moisture, because you will lose moisture during this process. The reason why the steak that was grilled longer contained less juice and flavor was because the slow grilling process allowed for the juices to exit the steak. The quick grilling process quickly toughened the outside of the steak making sure the juices inside couldn’t escape. Under lower temperatures, collagen actually turns into gelatin instead of becoming tougher like it would exposed to high temperatures. This is evident as my steak that was cooked under high temperatures developed a wonderful crust, whereas the steak cooked under lower temperatures did not. Personal Commentary: My recipe can be altered and changed depending on what you enjoy in a steak. Maybe you prefer bold flavors as opposed to super tender meat, so go with high temperatures on your grill. If you want very tender steak, marinade it and try the low and slow technique. This recipe ultimately serves as a framework for how you can develop your own method to grill your steak. I discovered that instead of doing preparation such as dry aging, dry rubs and marination is much better for both flavor and tenderness. In general, the part of the process that makes the most difference is the part where the steaks hits the grill. Things you could try with steaks and beef in general include: Steaks with tender meat and moisture should be in a marinade for at least eight hours and then slapped on a low temperature grill for a while. Try putting the flame to the lowest setting and putting the steak on the cooler part of the grill. For meat that needs more moisture and tenderizing, use a crockpot and submerge the meat in water or broth. The chuck is an excellent cut that is perfect for low temperature and slow cooking, especially in a crockpot with plenty of water or broth. The chuck is naturally a cut with a high amount of collagen and does not hold a lot of moisture.
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