I can already hear it.
“Wait, Mike grilled another steak?"
Yeah. Shocking, I know.
While I’m all about a grilled steak with a simple rub, I still like to find new ways to add flavor. Sometimes, as in the case here, an entirely new flavor profile can be built with the addition of something as simple as wood. Specifically, mesquite.
Mesquite is pungent and strong, which is why I rarely use it for BBQ. Years ago, I remember using a small amount of mesquite to smoke pork. It was, how do I say it, slightly overpowering. It was a meal you could smell coming, but for all the wrong reasons.
Mesquite is much better suited for a short and fast cook. For a big cut of meat, like a porterhouse, it turns out to be the perfect addition.
A ribeye is usually “my thing,” but when looking for two cuts in one, or, in other words, when I’m incredibly hungry, I gravitate to a porterhouse. Cut from the rear of the short loin, the porterhouse is prized, as its large “t" shaped bone separates a strip steak from a filet. It literally is two meals in one.
Keep in mind the only difference between a porterhouse and a T-bone is the filet size. A T-bone filet is smaller as it is cut from the front of the short loin. A T-bone is for when you are hungry, but not porterhouse hungry.
I like to keep my steak rubs simple. Real simple. The meat should shine through. My standard, salt, pepper, and “a third” rule applies. In this case, the third was paprika. A dusting of paprika brings just a little bit of heat to the party. It’s always a welcome addition. Timing for the rub, is either hours in advance or right before it hits the grill. With my brilliant planning, I tend to rub the meat right before grilling.
The key to a great steak is direct high heat. I like the grill hot, so I double my preheat time to at least thirty minutes.
Time is critical first. Temperature is second. I always start with the two-minute rule for steaks. Two minutes on the grill, rotate 90 degrees, and then two more minutes. Flip. Two minutes, rotate 90 degrees and then check the internal temperature. For a medium rare steak, I want 125 F. Depending where the measurement stands, depends on how much more I grill. Normally, for an average 1 1/2 inch steak, a final two minutes is about perfect.
I may have hit a new favorite note and for a guy my age, that's quite a feat! The burning mesquite brings about this awesome smokey and sweet layer to the outside of the steak. It permeated every bite. It reminded me of an aggressive marinade, but without the marinade.
While too much mesquite can be overkill, a little can go a long way. These smoke touched porterhouses prove it. If you want to work a different flavor into your steaks, think about adding some wood. An easy addition, a simple rub, a perfect meal.