THE MEAT OF THE MATTER: KOSHER MEAT TIPS FROM NAF HANAU, GROW AND BEHOLD FOODS
Naftali Hanau grew up around the corner from the kosher butcher, and has loved meat from a young age. He eventually learned shechita and founded our favorite kosher meat company, Grow and Behold Foods, which sells delicious OU Glatt kosher pastured meat to customers all over the USA. Naf joins us here at JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller every month to break down various cuts of meat, serve up his secret recipes and answer your "meaty" questions. Post comments below, or contact Naf directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before you begin, have all your supplies ready. This includes: meat thermometer (to check for doneness), aluminum foil and pan (to tent while the steak rests after cooking), tongs or spatula for flipping. For best results, start with steaks that are at room temperature (take out of the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to cook).
About seasonings, marinades and rubs: A good steak needs little more than salt, pepper and maybe some olive oil to be enjoyed. That said, it’s fun to mix it up with rubs and marinades. A few of our favorites are included below. If you’re using a marinade, pat the meat dry before cooking (so the crust can form). If you want more of the marinade flavor, you can often reduce the remaining marinade in a saucepan and paint it on the meat like a glaze towards the end of the cooking process. We generally omit the salt in marinades and rubs since kosher meat is already salted, but have salt on the table so folks can season to taste. Flaky Maldon is a nice treat on a juicy steak!
Finally, for more on what kind of steak you should try, check out our handy Steak Guide in the Summer 2015 Joy of Kosher Magazine, or simply give us a call: 888-790-5781 – we’d love to help you find the right steak for you!
Watch this mouthwatering video of Naftali Hanau and Jamie Geller cooking delicious steaks on a charcoal grill, then read on for more tips and recipes!
MORE: How Do I Cook a Roast?
Steak Grilling Techniques
Using a Charcoal Grill (our preferred method):
- Light charcoal using a chimney starter or newspaper.
- After charcoal is ready for cooking (you can only hold your hand over the coals for 2 seconds) bank the coals on one side of the grill creating a hot zone (“direct heat” and a cool zone (“indirect heat”).
- Place steaks on the hot zone, cook for 2-4 minutes until meat is nicely seared. Resist the temptation to move the steaks during this time – if you pick them up too soon, you’ll leave all the delicious sear on your grill, not on the steak.
- Turn and sear second side for 2-4 minutes. Again – DON’T TOUCH THE STEAK until it “releases” itself from the grill grates.
- Thinner steaks may be done at this point. Thicker steaks can be finished on the cool side of the grill. Cook to ten degrees below desired doneness (use a meat thermometer!) – temperature will continue to rise after meat is off the grill: Rare: 120-125F / Medium: 125-135F / Well: 140F
- After steak has reached desired doneness, remove from grill and tent with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. Don’t skip this step! If you slice your steak too soon after cooking, the juices will all run out and your meat will be dry. Let it rest, cool down a bit, and all those juices will be reabsorbed and stay in the meat when you slice it.
Reverse Sear on Stovetop and in Oven :
- Preheat oven to 275° F.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil, and put a rack on top (cookie rack or broiler rack). Season steaks with salt and pepper and place on rack. Bake until meat thermometer registers 125-135°F (depending on how “well done” you like your steaks). This can take around 45-60 minutes. Remove from oven and loosely tent with foil. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat a skillet or heavy based pan to screamingly hot temperatures. Sear steaks for one minute each side. Do not move the steak once you’ve put it in the pan until it “releases” on its own (so you get the full benefit of the sear, and don’t leave the tasty parts stuck to the pan).
- Serve immediately
Thanks to Chef Chaya and Jess Pryles for these directions
Testing for Doneness without a Thermometer:
You can measure the steak's doneness by comparing the firmness of the steak to the firmness of the fleshy part of your hand below your thumb when you touch your thumb to various fingers.
The advantage to this method is that you’re not poking holes in your steaks, which lets delicious juices seep out before the steak is done. The challenge is that you’re touching hot meat, so be careful!
Here’s they key:
- Thumb+ first finger = rare
- Thumb + middle finger = medium rare
- Thumb + ring finger = medium
- Thumb + pinky finger = well done (do not cook your steaks to well done please!)
Steak Rubs & Marinades – Recipes by Naftali Hanau:
Best for: Skirt Steak, Rib Steak, Lamb Chops
Best for: Denver Steaks, London Broil and Chuck Steaks
Best for: London Broil, Skirt Steak
Best for: Shoulder Steak
Recipes originally published in JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Magazine Summer 2015 SUBSCRIBE NOW
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