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Perfectly Grilled Steak without a Grill

Mar 8, 2008 | From the kitchen of Rose

I get my steak from Pino on Sullivan Street. I have been buying meat from him for 40 years—since the time he was working for his uncle Tony at Florence Meat Market. I was planning a vocation devoted to food and appreciated deeply the respect with which he handled the different cuts of meat, wrapping them carefully in butcher’s wax paper as tenderly as if they were a newborn child.

Now he is owner of his own Pino Prime Meats with his two sons Sal (who came up with the fantastic idea of aged prime steak ground for hamburgers) and Leo often at his side though Leo is still in school so only comes in during school holidays. Gustavo, his right hand man, is also very knowledgeable and exceptionally kind and loyal. I feel like so much a part of the family that one day when Pino’s wife was visiting and everyone in the shop was speaking Sicilian Italian I piped up in my limited accented version: anche io, sono Siciliana (I too am a Sicilian). Everyone laughed. I do have a close cousin who is Sicilian—Elizabeth Granatelli—whom I call la principessa as there is a street named after her family in Palermo. And then of course there is my sister/baker Angelica Pulvirenti who grew up in my favorite town in Sicily—Ragusa.

Back to the steak which has prompted this posting. First of all, my favorite is the rib steak (as Pino calls it rrrrrib steak). It is aged for one month and I ask him to cut it two inches thick as we like rare. In fact, if I’m grilling it outdoors I ask for 2 1/2 inches. Even 2 inches is enough for two meals for the two of us. In recent years I’ve been making steak only outdoors on the charcoal grill but as the meat is so wonderful I decided to try a new technique in my NY city apartment. The goal was to get a crunch deeply brown exterior and rare interior without smoking up the whole apartment. And it worked perfectly. Here’s how:

As soon as you come home with the steak salt and pepper it all over (i use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Refrigerate it until 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 500°F/260°C for a minimum of 45 minutes. If you have an oven stone all the better.

About 5 minutes before cooking, preheat a large cast iron skillet until smoking hot (an infra-red thermometer will read about 535°F/279°C. Place the steak in the skillet and cook for 3 minutes or until deeply browned. Fold a paper towel into a small square and with tongs absorb any of the fat that is exuding. Turn the steak over and set the skillet in the oven (on the stone). Continue cooking for about 8 to 10 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers no lower than 105°F/40°C. and no higher than 115°F./46°C. if you like rare, higher if you like it more cooked. Different parts of the meat will register different temperatures so I like to give a range. After a few minutes in the oven use the tongs to dab out the fat. Do this as necessary to prevent smoking.

Remove the steak to a rack to keep the exterior crunchy and allow it to sit for 10 minutes before carving. Set it on a carving board. There will be blood (sorry Daniel Day-Lewis--meat juices)!


maureen, i am so happy to think that someone else living in an apt. will benefit from this terrific way to 'grill' a steak! thanks for the feedback.


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I have a small condo with no grill space and no kitchen ventilation, so I've been searching for years for a way to cook a steak that bears some semblance to one off the grill without smoking out the whole building. This is it! You are the best :)


We are making canned tuna here, not cooking fish. It is how I've learned how to make my own canned tuna, thus the 1 hour with pressure plus 1 hour without pressure.

Texture was incredible, not mushy like tuna in water!

I do use excellent quality fresh fish. #1 or better!


What is the texture of the fish after being in the pressure cooker for 1 hour? Any reason for the long cooking time in the pressure cooker?Dishes are mant to be done at one third or half the time in pressure cooker.


Thanks Hector. I can't wait to try it. Sounds yummy.......


Hi Rozanne, home made canned fresh tuna or salmon in 100% olive oil IS WONDERFUL. I no longer need to buy these in Italy, as it is seldom produced in the USA where water or non-olive oils are preferred.

You can use fresh or cooked fish. Leftover, always chilled, graavlax or sashimi will work, too. I have tried Ahi red tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Salmon, all fresh.

Sterilize canning jars. Fill the jars with the fish, packing gently (not overly packed). Now add olive oil slowly tapping the jar a few time so the oil would reach the bottom of the jar more or less. There should be about one finger of air space, and the fish should be under the level of the oil.

Process the jars according to canning guidelines (fit your pressure cooker with a rack so there is water flow under, jars need to be completely submerged, etc). Once the pressure cooker has reached pressure level, cook for 1 hour, then turn off the heat and let cool for 1 more hour before opening the pressure cooker.

I have kept these canned fish in the refrigerator, but I think you don't need to.


Hector, would you mind telling me how you make the tuna and salmon in olive oil. I have the same Lagostina pressure cooker that you do. I would love to try the recipes. I use my pressure cooker mostly for stocks and soups.


Cindy, that must be another model. Mine's is pictured on the link above and has no rubber seal but a metal lid that bends shut.

I use it to make beef or poultry stock from roasts. Also to make wonderful canned fresh tuna or salmon in 100% olive oil.


Dear Hector,
That was really a good bargain. The Lagostina cooker is around 300 US here in HK for a 7 liter model. It does use a rubber seal but it is build in. You need to replace it from time to time depending on your usage.Do you use it for soups or stews often?


Oh, and more on the Lagostina, I just think they are built very safe, and the mechanism is so neat! It doesn't use any rubber seals, too!


You don't need a pressure cooker to cook pasta on its own sauce, but I did as I wrote on the article you have read.


It is a Lagostina, because I am training on Italian food and culture, and EVERYONE there has one! I bumped into a discount store (they are rare in Italy), and picked mine's up for under 50 Euros. It is the size bigger than the smallest.

Go to Alessi's website, there are a few neat videos on the pasta cooked on its own sauce, as they make a lovely pot for it.


Hector,the article is great. I remembered reading from you about cooking pasta in its own sauce with a Lagostina cooker but I could not find it now. Which thread did U post? Why did u get this brand when there are so many brands available and cheaper?


Hector - I've been purchasing the large pork loins that way at Costco, but haven't tried the beef yet - glad to hear you liked it.

I think the meat will stay fresh packed this way only until the cryopac wrapping has been opened, they you have to either cook or freeze within a couple of days as usual.


Recently I bought a whole slab of NY steak, those that are so popular now at Costco and comes vacuum packed. I sliced it myself at home, and it was fun-fantastic. I could have steaks that were 3-inches thick, 2-inches, and 1-inch (for the well done assassins).

Alton brown said you could keep this whole slab on the refrigerator for a few weeks??? Could it next to better than not having a private butcher?


I'm so jealous! I wish there was a good butcher's market here in the DC Metro area. There's Magruders which kinda has better cuts, but they closed the store in my town and the closest one is like almost 45 minutes drive away on the Beltway. In the meantime, waiting for Wegmans stores to open near me, which likely won't happen until near end of next year. :-(


great article--thanks! i wonder if i ever told pino that my great grandfather in russia was in charge of the kosher slaughter of steers. my mother told me it took great strength. i'll have to tell him next time i stop by!


i have forwarded your request to general mills/gold medal flour who sponsors this blog.
best of luck,


Dear Rose,

Not many Fortune 500 companies have an external blog, but your company has one! I am really interested in this blog and its history.

I am currently working on my thesis for my MBA studies in Munich, Germany. The main topic of my thesis relates to the ROI of Corporate Blogs of Fortune 500 companies. Therefore I would like to ask you some questions concerning your corporate blog. I hope you can answer most of my questions, so I will better understand the world behind corporate blogs! If there are any questions, which cannot be answered please leave them blank. All the information you can share is valuable to me.

Name of the corporate blog(s):
Start date of the blog:
Amount of traffic (pageviews, Unique Visitors, etc):
Author(s) of the blog (plus position in the company):

Question 1:
What are the main reasons for your company to maintain a corporate blog? And how was the board convinced of implementing this relatively new marketing tool?

Question 2:
Has the blog added value to the company? Do you measure the ROI, if yes, how is this measured and how are the results so far?

Question 3:
What are the negative and positive aspects of maintaining this blog for your company?

I hope you can help me with finishing my thesis successfully. Soon, I will launch my own blog and post information I gather for my thesis (if you don’t want to share the information above, let me know). Maybe you find it interesting to read it once, www.seomagnifier.com.

I would like to thank you in advance… thank you!

Kind Regards,
Amanda van Ditshuizen


Oh, just another 2 cents. If I remove the dutch oven from the burner and let it cool on a baking rack for 1 or 2 minutes, when I open the lid, the smoke is greatly less. Of course, add these minute to your cooking time.

I also love to use frozen non-thawed steaks, as it gives me a lovely rare steak.

By all means, I need to start finding a neighborhood butcher friend, as Rose's steak looks lovely.


THAT is a wonderful steak and recipe! Steak is indeed what I feed on when I am spending all my evenings baking a big cake. My friends start to notice that when this happens, my diet consists of eggs, fruits, cake, etc, they tell me "you need a steak." [for the record, one of my favorite 'bakers' dinners is to make a simple omelet with all the extra egg whites you now end up with since yolks come smaller, thickened with a bit of cake flour, and when available, add a dab of butter or even cream!]

I am fortunate to have a vented range hood, that takes care of all the smoking, but glad I've read Rose's recipe regarding soaking up the fat with a folded paper towel square.

My indoor cooking method is fairly similar in a way that I find cast iron the perfect surface. I use my 5 qt lodge dutch oven. First, I warm at medium heat the dutch oven. I place the steak, unseasoned, place the lid on, and crank the heat to maximum. In about 3 to 5 minutes (depending on how strong is your burner), you will notice vapor trying to escape thru the lid. Be sure your range hood is cranked up to maximum CFM, open the lid and turn your steak. Now season just the now-top side with salt, etc, place the lid back, and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes at maximum heat. Remove and let sit 10 minutes before serving/carve. Serve/carve with the salted side up.

You could leave the lid cracked open to reach in and soak in the fat to prevent smoking, or to let steam evaporate if it dares to sit on the bottom of the pot. My burner is hot enough that any vapor sizzles in seconds.

What I like most of this method, is that it is very clean on your stove, the tall sides of the dutch oven eliminates all the typical mess when you fry with a skillet. The steak turns beautifully seared and crusted on both sides, and never dry as it is cooking and searing in a high vapor environment.

I like to salt the steak only on one side for two reasons.

The first reason: when you fry a steak without salt, it will bleed less and produce less sitting liquid. In fact, for all preparations when I first need to sear the beef (stews for example), I sear first, then add the salt. I am unsure if this makes a difference for aged beef, does aging make the steak less prone to loose liquid?

The second reason I like to have salt only on one side of the steak, is that when served 'salt side up' it tastes more dimensional and interesting. The salt melts and sips thru as you slice your steak, and in fact the non-salted side 'down' does get salt from the sitting juices. These dynamics makes your steak eating experience more interactive and interesting! Instead of having an all salted steak, you have a saltier side that gradually softens into less salty and more clean-steak taste! It is almost like having a black pepper crusted steak, but with salt.

give it a try.


Beautifully cooked! Thanks Rose....


Sounds fantastic!


Everyone's got steak on the brain lately! Well at least Mark Bittman does:


Funny how similar themes seem to show up at the same time among bloggers.

I'm still stuck on the whole bread thing:




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