There is an art to cooking steaks, no matter if you’re grilling, broiling or frying them. First and foremost, you have to know what are the best cuts for the method you’re going to employ.
grilling enthusiasts know that top sirloin steaks are leaner and less expensive. But because of their low fat content, sirloin tends to also dry out faster and be less juicy, as well as a little tougher. On the other hand, porterhouse, T-bone, rib eye and rib steaks all have a healthy amount of fat, which will make them especially tasty when grilled.
Broiling is another story. This method will work best with medium-thickness cuts like flank steak, which are less than an inch and a quarter thick. If your steak is too thick, the outside will burn before the inside warms through enough.
Growing up, we didn’t do much grilling. When we did have steak, it usually was broiled. But after I moved out on my own, I started experimenting with frying. I found that a steak at least an inch thick worked best. And what I really liked was frying my steak with some mushrooms and onions in butter and a little olive oil. What I discovered is it was even better was if you added a little wine to the pan.
And that’s why I was intrigued by the following recipe, from Shannon Hayes’ “The Grassfed Gourmet” (Eating Fresh, 2004). A splash of bourbon is added to the pan to make a sauce, which is later poured over the steak at serving time.
Garlic-Herbed Steaks in Bourbon Pan Sauce
2 steaks, 1-inch thick
3 tablespoons garlic-herb rub of your choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup bourbon
Generously coat each steak with the rub. Set aside at room temperature, about 30 minutes to an hour.
Heat a skillet over a medium-high flame. Add oil and butter and heat until melted and splattering slightly, then add the meat and cook 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove steaks and tent with foil.
Lower the heat, add the bourbon, and simmer 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly and scraping any browned bits. Set the steaks on warmed plates, top with the bourbon sauce, and serve.
Yield: Serves 2 to 4.