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Test Kitchen tips: Keeping the heat in the grill

July 31, 2012|By Noelle Carter
  • Grilling steak, a summertime favorite.
Grilling steak, a summertime favorite. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)

As you find yourself using the grill this summer, here's a quick tip for holding the heat in the grill as you cook: Keep the lid closed.

A grill works a lot like an oven, building up heat as long as it is sealed. And just as you lose heat every time you open the oven door, you can lose heat every time you open the grill.

This may not be important when grilling quick-cooking items like fish or when you're simply searing, but it can become an issue when cooking thicker, denser cuts of meat that require longer cooking times.

Make sure you've got a reliable grill thermometer on the outside of the grill so you can regulate the temperature, and check every once in a while to make sure you don't have any flare-ups (smoke rising from the sides of the grill are usually a dead giveaway). Otherwise, relax.

Continue reading below for five recipes just waiting for the grill....

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like me to explore, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at


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Cote de boeuf for two

Total time: About 15 minutes, plus 2 hours to bring the meat to room temperature and 10 minutes resting before slicing

Servings: 2

Note: Prime aged, bone-in rib steaks can be found at Bristol Farms, Gelson's and fine butcher shops. Call ahead to ensure the steaks are available.

1 2-pound prime aged rib steak with the bone in, about 2 inches thick

2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, or to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1. Bring the beef to room temperature.

2. Heat a grill or grill pan with deep ridges until very hot, then adjust heat to medium-high.

3. Season the meat well on both sides with salt and pepper.

4. Lay the meat onto the grill and cook 3 minutes. Turn diagonally to cross-hatch the grill marks and cook 3 minutes longer. Repeat the searing and cross-hatching on the second side. Continue cooking, turning the meat and draining off the excess fat if needed, until the center of the meat reaches an internal temperature of 110 degrees for medium rare. This should take just a few minutes more.

5. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes.

6. Carve the meat at the table: Slice the bone away from the steak, then slice the meat into one-half inch strips perpendicular to the bone.

Each serving: 840 calories; 67 grams protein; 0 carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 61 grams fat; 25 grams saturated fat; 223 mg. cholesterol; 2,474 mg. sodium.

Grilled beef tagliata with arugula salad

Total time: 40 minutes, plus marinating time

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza.

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons chopped rosemary

4 (7- to 8-ounce) hanger steaks or 1 (2 1/4-pound) flank steak

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallots

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 pound arugula

Small wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano

Aged balsamic vinegar for drizzling

Best-quality olive oil for drizzling

1. Stir together the one-third cup balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the rosemary. Place the steaks in a sealable plastic bag and pour in the liquid mixture. Squeeze out the air, seal tightly and move the steaks around to make sure they are all well-coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to overnight.

2. Heat a grill over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette by whisking together the lemon juice, Champagne vinegar and shallots, then whisking in the three-fourths cup olive oil. Season with 1 1/4 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste. Taste and add more salt if necessary, then set aside.

3. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Cook until well-seared on both sides and medium rare, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to a plate and let rest for 3 to 4 minutes. Using a sharp knife, carve the steak diagonally into 1-inch strips across the grain.

4. Rinse and dry the arugula and place in a large bowl. Whisk the vinaigrette briefly, then pour it over the arugula and toss gently to coat lightly. Divide the sliced steak among 6 to 8 dinner plates and place a mound of salad beside each. Using a vegetable peeler, shave a few shards of Parmigiano-Reggiano over the arugula. Drizzle the steak lightly with aged balsamic vinegar and olive oil and serve.

Each of 8 servings: 379 calories; 26 grams protein; 2 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 29 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 50 mg. cholesterol; 424 mg. sodium.

Naked ribs

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