Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian: ‘Magic’ way to cook a steak

Chef Geoffrey Zakarian gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Miami Beach, Fla. Now honored with an Iron Chef title, a judging seat on "Chopped" and a best-selling cookbook, Zakarian says opening a restaurant is a lot like playing poker. "It's a crap shoot. We gamble when we open a restaurant," said Zakarian, whose restaurants include The Lambs Club and The National. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Steak: It’s what’s for dinner It’s a shame that grilling season is synonymous with summer, because really, now is the time to fire up the charcoal — when the air is crisp and humidity is nothing but a distant memory. And nothing says “fall grilling” like a perfectly cooked piece of steak — and a glass of wine to go alongside. The Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian shares his best tips for pulling off a flawless steak dinner.  (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (AP/Wilfredo Lee)
In general, meat prices have been falling. It almost doesn't matter what your favorite meat is, as long as it isn't fish (those prices are up), it probably costs less than it did a year ago.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Picking the protein  The process of making a steak begins long before the meat hits the heat. The first order of business is selecting a cut. Two of Zakarian’s favorites are hanger steak and sirloin. No matter what you choose, he says not to be intimidated by the price: Steak dinners are special, so expect to pay more for a quality cut of beef.  “You’re going to splurge a little; it’s not every day you have a great sirloin,” he said.  However, before he even gets to the butcher counter, Zakarian likes to swing by the wine aisle.  “Because, you know, if you mess the steak up, at least you still have a great bottle of wine,” he said. (Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)  (Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)
Gathering the gadgets  You don’t need many tools to cook the perfect steak, but there are a few essentials. First, you’ll need a sharp knife to cut the meat when it’s done. Make sure you have plenty of seasonings on hand (kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper), as well as a digital thermometer. “Not only will it help you cook steak perfectly, it will help you cook all your proteins properly, because every protein has a magic number. And if you do that, you’ll be so much more confident, and you won’t ruin all that money that you spend on your proteins,” he said.  If you’re not grilling, Zakarian recommends using a cast iron skillet, which is his preferred method for cooking a steak. (Thinkstock)  (Getty Images/iStockphoto/gpointstudio)
Raw fresh meat Beef Steak Sirloin for two. in iron grilled pan with herbs
Season the sirloin  At least an hour before you plan on eating, take the meat out of the refrigerator, cover it with plastic wrap and let it come to room temperature. “This is important because you’ll find that you get a really — you know that beautiful medium-rare steak that you see on TV and ads where it’s medium-rare the whole way through, well that’s how that happens. You cook a cold steak, and that will never happen,” Zakarian said.  Then, it’s time to season the steak. Sure, you can get fancy with seasonings and marinades, but Zakarian’s fail-proof recipe for steak calls for just two ingredients: kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper — and there’s no need to hold back.  “Remember, it’s a very thick piece of meat and you’ve got to get inside the meat, so you need a good salt crust on the outside of that meat,” he said. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/DronG)
It’s a shame that grilling season is synonymous with summer, because really, now is the time to fire up the charcoal — when the air is crisp and humidity is nothing but a distant memory. (Thinkstock)
The ‘magic’ number The heat should be medium, and the digital thermometer should be handy, because once that steak hits 125 degrees, Zakarian says it’s done.  “The minute it hits 125 degrees, that steak is cooked perfect medium-rare, whether it’s a skirt steak, a flank steak, a hanger steak, a sirloin steak, a rib-eye steak, a filet mignon, a top round — whatever it is, 125 is your number,” he said.    (Getty Images/iStockphoto/oprju)
grilled flat iron steak resting on slate slab with rosemary garnish
Rest is best At that point, take the steak off the heat and move it to a cutting board — and don’t touch it for 10 minutes. “It’s going to rest up to about 130 [degrees], and what’s going to happen is that all of the juice is going to come back in the meat — and when you cut it, it will be a perfect medium-rare, just like on a movie set,” Zakarian said.  “It’s just magic. And none of the juices will bleed out, I promise you. So that’s the way you cook a steak. If you’re going to spend money on a steak, that’s what you do.”  (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/rez-art)
BBQ steak. Barbecue grilled beef steak meat with red wine and knife. Healthy food. Barbeque steak dinner
Serving Steak  Zakarian has recipes for glazes and sides on The Great Steak Challenge’s website, but he says the perfect pairing is just a glass of red wine.  “I think that it would be a crime not to have red wine with steak,” he said. When asked about white wine, the Food Network host said, “I would suggest maybe some white wine while you’re contemplating having red wine.” (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/petrenkod)
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Chef Geoffrey Zakarian gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, in Miami Beach, Fla. Now honored with an Iron Chef title, a judging seat on "Chopped" and a best-selling cookbook, Zakarian says opening a restaurant is a lot like playing poker. "It's a crap shoot. We gamble when we open a restaurant," said Zakarian, whose restaurants include The Lambs Club and The National. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
In general, meat prices have been falling. It almost doesn't matter what your favorite meat is, as long as it isn't fish (those prices are up), it probably costs less than it did a year ago.  (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)
Raw fresh meat Beef Steak Sirloin for two. in iron grilled pan with herbs
It’s a shame that grilling season is synonymous with summer, because really, now is the time to fire up the charcoal — when the air is crisp and humidity is nothing but a distant memory. (Thinkstock)
grilled flat iron steak resting on slate slab with rosemary garnish
BBQ steak. Barbecue grilled beef steak meat with red wine and knife. Healthy food. Barbeque steak dinner

WASHINGTON — It’s a shame that grilling season is synonymous with summer, because really, now is the time to fire up the charcoal — when the air is crisp and humidity is nothing but a distant memory.

And nothing says “fall grilling” like a perfectly cooked piece of steak — and a glass of wine to go alongside.

The Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian shares his best tips for pulling off a flawless steak dinner. 

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