Sizzling Wine Pairing Tips for Grilling Season

close-photography-of-grilled-meat-on-griddle-1105325 (2)The official start of summer may still be 23 days away, but the grilling season has arrived.

In case you’ve been taking a break from the steak, you may want to ease your way back in, starting with a Top Sirloin or New York Strip, and then moving up to a Ribeye before treating your taste buds to the most tender steak of all — the Filet Mignon.

Or poo-poo patience and just go straight to the Filet.

Regardless of the cut, the key to steak enjoyment is flavor, and some have likened the spectrum of flavors to the experience of drinking a fine wine. Among the descriptions of steak that we most commonly hear are bold, mild, rich and savory. Sound familiar?

Each cut of beef possesses its own unique set of flavors, although certain flavors are shared by all cuts. Marbling can produce juiciness and enhance richness when it melts as a steak cooks.

Even the age of a cut of beef can impact its flavor, another quality it shares with wine.

So this summer, do come experimenting. If you’ve been raised on Top Sirloin steaks, give a Filet Mignon a try. If you’ve been noshing on New York Strips with your steak-and-eggs breakfasts, consider ordering a Ribeye.

If you’ve ever wondered how a steakhouse makes such juicy steaks, the key is a process called “arroser,” which involves creating a crust with melted butter just as the cooking process is concluding in the pan. It also adds a huge burst of flavor.

You won’t get the same type of crust effect on the grill, but you will get the flavor enhancement by adding a gob of butter just before you’re ready to remove the steak and allow it to rest.

Here’s how to make a super-flavorful butter for your steak: Peel 2 garlic cloves and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Wrap the cloves in foil and roast until soft in a 350-degree oven (about 50 minutes). Squeeze and mash the garlic cloves, separate from the foil, and mix with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 stick of unsalted butter (at room temperature). Roll the mixture in parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

To give the butter plenty of time to “soak up” that garlic flavor, it’s best to make it a day ahead.

Then enjoy your garlic butter-topped steak with a glass or two of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel or Sangiovese.

Bonus tip: Make a double batch of butter, and melt it while your steaks are cooking to slather on freshly cooked corn-on-the-cob.

That will almost make the arrival of summer “official.”

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Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes, Wine Buzz

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