The Sin of Hubris At The Barbecue

I like to consider myself a barbecue god rather good when it comes to manning the barbecue. This skill developed out of necessity toward the tail end of my high school career when my mother (who spent most of her life as a chef) decided to take an extended vacation to visit family overseas. Once she left, I all too quickly realized the severe lack of culinary skills possessed by both myself and my father. With the risk of starvation quickly becoming a reality (ramen gets old fast and takeout will drain your funds faster), I resorted to the only thing that I knew: barbecuing.


Barbecue: A great way not to burn your house down!

Over the years I have worked out some dishes that are home runs every time, whether it be hamburger, chicken, or steak (beef or various fish varieties) and my personal style of seasoning seems to make all of them absolutely delicious. By far my favorite dish to experiment with is steak (of the beef variety). I am always looking for new ways to cook one even better than the last. Recently during my normal RSS benders I discovered this gem with what I thought was a fairly radical and interesting twist on steak preparation that gave me high hopes.
rare steak

Steak! Great meal? Or greatest meal?

My normal prep work for steak involves coating each side with freshly ground sea salt and pepper, garlic powder, a bit of cayenne pepper then a healthy coating of olive oil. With that I try to place the steaks in a zip lock bag for at least a few hours to let the combo do its work. This results in a very delicious meal, especially with some home made mashed potatoes on the side. With that article I figured I would combine its style with mine to see what happened. Initial experiments came out very delicious, what I thought to be perfect flavor and a tenderness that rendered the meat more like butter than steak, but this was combining the directions for the salt infusion method with just my seasoning style without allowing the meat to sit in the make shift marinade. The next attempt was to do salt infusion then let the steak marinate for a day or so in the hopes that it would be even more tender and delicious.

So the latest attempt was the inspiration for the title of this post, considering it was a complete failure as far as I was concerned. My downfall could have been caused by any one (or more) of my changes to the process. This time began by seasoning the steak with my normal mix (sans olive oil) then heavily salting the steak with sea salt and letting it sit. Unfortunately I started playing Final Fantasy XIII forgot the steaks were sitting for close to four hours instead of the recommended one hour. Once I realized my folly I hoped for the best, rinsed off and dried the steaks then did my typical seasoning again (with olive oil this time), placed the steaks in a zip lock bag and threw them in the refrigerator overnight. My final mistake in this steak travesty was during the actual grilling; after the first flip I decided to use the extra “marinade” by pouring it over the steaks after the first flip. Since I just poured it like a moron instead of brushing it on, the olive oil just ran off the steaks and dripped all over the charcoal. As anyone I made read reading this can guess, the oil caused a huge flair up (after I left the steaks) which in the normal time I wait between flips, completely burned the steaks on one side.

Burnt Steak

Pictured: Failure and heartache

The end result of my failed experiment was a very over salted, barely edible steak that was badly burned on one side. Although funny enough I did manage to at least get it only to medium rare instead of well done (on the inside that is). Soon enough I will attempt this again, maybe get enough steaks to try some variations and see which one I like better. Then hopefully write up another post that no one will read has a happier ending.

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