Friday, March 30, 2012

Where there's Smoke, There's Steak

One of the reasons I wanted to remodel my house was so I could cook steaks on the stove. Okay, maybe it wasn't one of the "reasons" maybe it was just a hopeful byproduct.

We are not bar-b-que people. I am not a fan of eating meat off the bone, and unless you could bar-b-que a cheese sandwich, my kid wont eat bar-b-que. So for just the two of us, its hardly worth buying coals, lighting them, waiting, etc. just for a hot dog or a hamburger. When other people bar-b-que for me, its fine. I just don't have a strong enough desire for bar-b-que to do it myself or wait for Rob to do it, and its one of those things that he thinks he's really good at, but he's not. I took the long route here to say that we don't cook steaks on the bar-b-que, and please don't tell me to get a gas grill because it just wont happen. No interest.

Also, when I am not already an expert in something, especially something expensive like steak, I am loathe to do it. I just hate the idea of spending real money on a piece of meat and then ruining it.

The one and only time we made steak on the stove top in our old house, we followed the directions to the letter, and all the smoke detectors in the house went off. We had no ventilation above our stove, and the whole house was blue with steak smoke. I can't even remember what the steaks tasted like, but I remember the stress of the event, and we never attempted to make steaks again. Aside from ground beef, I shy away from beef. The alarm sounds are still ringing in my ears.

Fast forward to the planning stage of the remodel, and I'm all We will have actual ventilation over our stove so that we can make steaks! And now we do. It vents out the roof and everything. Like grown ups. So last week I bought some steaks, not really expensive ones, though, since these were our experimental steaks.

I turned the fan on high, and put them in the pan. Then... all the smoke detectors in the house went off... They are all hard wired together now, so when one goes off, they all go off. I thought the cat would come right out of his skin. So for the second time, we had to open all the windows and air out the house to silence the alarms, and with all that excitement I slightly overcooked the steaks. Only slightly, though. Rob still thought they were excellent, but this is a man who doesn't get beef very often, so he's easy to impress.

How do you make steaks in your kitchen without setting off all the alarms? I really want to know. This can't be that hard. The beef industry is hugely successful, and not everyone is bar-b-queing all the time so what's the deal?


the Somervilles said...

We have the same story. Great blog! Eric

Anonymous said...

There are many variables in this steak/smoke cooking equation. But, to me the easiest solution for you being new to cooking steak is to go "low and slow". Use a low heat(don't know if you have gas or electric but think 3-4 as opposed to 6-7) and leave the steak on for a few more minutes. You won't get as much of a sear to seal in the juices but you should eliminate a lot of smoke this way.
Also don't but to much oil in the pan. Just about a tablespoon, enough so the teak won't stick. Your not trying to fry the steak so go easy on the EVOO.