Take it Outside –Grilling the Double R Ranch Cowboy Chop
Written by Rebecca Robison
Photography by Matt Mckain
There’s nothing better than an outdoor BBQ by the lake. Especially after an afternoon water ski, kayaking around the lake, and jumping off the dock a hundred times. We’re all a bit chilly from playing in the water so the heat from the grill feels pretty good. Everyone can hear that first sizzle as the steak hits the heat and the aroma begins to waft through the air. The scene is reminiscent of those cartoons where the character hypnotically follows the trail of smoke to the dinner table, salivating for whatever that heavenly fragrance is. We had such a day, we had such a feast. On days like this the only pressing decision is whether to take a nap in the hammock or a stroll before dinner. If only we could package the smell of fresh forest pine, the toasty feeling of being a bit sun-kissed, and how much better everything tastes in the outdoors, then we’d all be rich!
Four quick steps to achieve success when grilling a Cowboy Chop, or any cut of meat:
1. Salt and salt again:
About 3 hours before you grill, lightly sprinkle an even layer of salt on both sides of the meat and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Salt helps retain water in the cells of the meat for a perfect, juicy steak. Before grilling, pat dry with paper towels and generously salt again, using kosher salt for an excellent crust. To finish, use a flavored salt at the table to intensify the flavor. Don’t forget the pepper! Fresh cracked black pepper adds spice and crunch.
2. Warm it up:
Take any steak (and roast for that matter) out of the fridge and set on the counter to take off the chill for at least an hour before cooking. When the meat is cold it cooks unevenly. When you bring it to room temperature, especially with the thickness of the cowboy chop (seriously this cut is almost two inches thick!), the result will be a terrific char on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside.
3. Take your grills temperature:
Build a two zone fire, with a hot side to achieve a good sear and a not-so-hot side to finish the cooking. You know the coals are ready once the flames have died down and they have an orange glow. If you can hold your hand over the heat for two seconds over the hottest part of the fire, you are good to go. Don’t flip too soon. Let the steak sear for a good 5-6 minutes to get that great char before you flip the steak over. Once you have your char just the way you like it, move steaks to the less hot side of the grill to finish. Lastly, don’t forget to take the meat’s temperature with an insta-read thermometer: 135 degrees for rare, 145 for medium rare.
4. Let it rest
I know, I know, the table is set and every one has worked up an appetite for the best part of the meal…those impressive enormous cowboy chops! After you have gone to all this effort to put on a spread, don’t rush perfection. Cover the steaks with foil to allow the meat to continue cooking; this is called ‘carry over cooking’. This step is crucial as it assures a perfectly cooked steak inside and allows the juices to draw back up into the meat.
Warning: A fun-filled day and a full belly may produce a strong desire to relax!