Don’t wait for a special occasion– share good steak with your friends on Super Bowl Sunday.
If you’re like us, you’ll be gathering around the TV on Sunday to see the car ads, er, football game. We hear the car ads will be few and far between, though we love this one from BMW:
And between the ads, we’ll be eating steak. That’s because we are a steak family, and through the years I’ve become a steak aficionado (much to my chagrin). I can tell in a bite a filet mignon, ribeye, sirloin or flank steak, grass fed, grilled or pan seared. I prefer steak on the grill; something about the fragrance is soul-stirring; maybe it’s a primal trigger that lets you know your work is going to be rewarded and your appetite is about to be satisfied.
Here are our favorites that are great for your own party, to take to a friend’s house or plan for tailgating or glamping:
Grilled Whole Filet
This is my personal favorite ($50-$90 per filet, depending on the butcher, grade and filet size; a whole filet should produce about 5-8 steaks, depending on size). Buy a whole tenderloin filet from your butcher or grocer (we prefer whole filet from Stew Leonards or Fairway) and ask them to trim it in the store. Rub it with salt and pepper, or Montreal Steak Seasoning which is a little spicier, and grill it over medium heat (about 400 degrees) for about 15 minutes per pound until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees (medium rare). Let it sit for 20 minutes before carving. If a grill is unavailable, you can also oven roast a whole filet with excellent results. Serving suggestions include:
- Carve steak style, slicing into 1½ inch steaks
- Thin slice and serve on toasted baguette with horseradish sauce and crumbled blue cheese (this ROCKS)
- Slice ½ inch thick and serve
Grilled Sirloin Steak
Sirloin comes in a variety of cuts and qualities ($5-$15 per pound or more, depending on where you buy it and grade); sometimes it’s great, other times it can be chewy and flavorless. Usually it’s well priced, so it’s worth learning who has reliable sirloin. Our favorite places to buy sirloin are Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (premium cuts). Quality is the key here; and while you can pan sear sirloin, I would only recommend grilling it; it is best when the outside is cooked quickly and allowed to caramelize but the inside is still tender, which is hard to get on the stove or in the oven.
Possibly the most difficult of all cuts ($10-$20 per lb, depending on the butcher and grade): When done right, ribeye is the tastiest cut of them all due to the fine marbling of fat throughout the cut, but if the marbling is too thick, you just get a fatty steak. I almost never buy ribeye because of this (and never order it in a restaurant); trust in your butcher is key here.
We recently tried out Omaha Steaks Ribeye Crown Steaks, a private reserve steak that takes the finest cut from the center of the ribeye ($75 for four steaks). At first glance I didn’t know what cut these were—they are not ribeye shaped (usually roundish)—so I had to look at the box. Also worth noting, they arrived solidly frozen, so I kept them in the freezer until ready to use (another tactic I usually don’t like, since the freezer can change the color and taste of steak) and they thawed quickly and perfectly. We grilled the ribeye steaks—only dusted with salt and pepper— alongside Trader Joe’s premium sirloin, which is always a favorite in our house. The TJ’s steaks were, as always, really good. The Omaha Steaks ribeyes were delicious—tender, tasty and equivalent to any top steakhouse cut. I also liked not having to cut any fat away from the steak—every bite was eaten (and not with steak sauce or horseradish sauce, as I usually do; the flavor of the steak was too good to dress up with sauce). The key to buying from Omaha Steaks is the guarantee: if you want to be sure the steaks you pull out for friends or a special occasion, or both on Super Bowl Sunday, the Private Reserve is a good bet.
Disclosure: Omaha Steaks sent me the private reserve ribeyes to try; opinions expressed here are all my own.