Just Walt's Mental Meanderings

Walter Blevins

Walter Blevins
Vista, California, USA
August 22
I'm a 60 year old guy who lives in Vista California with my wife. I spent the 30 years before moving to Cali in Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota. And I have 2 grown children, a son and a daughter who live in Virginia and Iowa and a 22 year old step-daughter lives with us here in Vista. I'm a proud grandpa with 2 grandaughters living in Virginia. I like to write about a whole variety of things from my kids to cooking to politics to the car industry to my status as a "Cheap Bastid" and "Old Fart" and just random thoughts. And I really love writing about cooking really good, homecooked comfort food cheap. That's why they call me the Cheap Bastid. By the way--all the stuff I write is my stuff and you can't use it without my official OkeyDokey

MAY 25, 2010 10:45AM

Cheap Bastids Memorial Day Sirloin Steak and Corn on the Cob

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(Cheap Bastid’s note: I know, Torman did a post on grilling steak recently so I held off on this until we got to the Foodie Tuesday closest to Memorial Day.  I hope you enjoy).

Memorial Day is the first 3 day weekend of the summer.  Time for neighbors getting together and stoking up the grill.  One of the things I do like about living here in Southern California is the ability to grill pretty much year round. 

Back when my kids were young, we lived in a neighborhood in the small town of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  Summer holidays were always the perfect time to do what we called an “Alley Cats Picnic” in someone’s back yard inviting the families and all the kids who lived on our paved alley to party and enjoy.  We would make shared dishes and bring our own meats and have a couple of grills going. 


The kids would run around and have a good time and the adults would visit and laugh and play with the kids.  And, lots of good food would be eaten.


sirloin ready for grill  


But, this is a Cheap Bastid post on grilling sirloin.  Now, sirloin is a pretty lean piece of meat so you generally don’t want to overcook it.  It also works pretty well marinaded.  I cook with it because, quite frankly, my favorite cut of steak—flank steak—as well as my other favorites, rib-eye and New York strip are just getting too expensive to buy.  I have a hard time justifying $6 or more per pound for any food.  So, I stock up on sirloin when it’s on special at the grocery store (a few times a year they’ll have it at $1.99) and then freeze it in about 1 ½ pound packages in freezer bags.


It’s really pretty simple.  Thaw out your steak (skip this if it hasn’t been frozen).  I like my sirloin to be at least an inch thick—preferably 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inches.  Then put a really thin skim of cooking oil on the surface—just drizzle a few drops on each side and rub it with your fingers. 


Then season your meat—it doesn’t come off the cow seasoned so adding a bit of flavor really makes a difference.  Here’s a rub will add some good flavor to the meat.  I’ve gotten to the point where I keep a big shaker on hand all the time of coarse Kosher salt, dried garlic chips and coarse ground black pepper (mixed in equal quantity). You get a bit of heat from the cracked pepper, flavor and aroma from the garlic and the coarse salt melts into the meat.  Shake it pretty liberally over the sirloins and then pat it into the surface with your fingertips.  Then let the meat sit for a few minutes while you get your grill ready.


Build a hot fire.  If you’re using propane like I do or if you’re using charcoal, get yourself a nice hot fire going.   The fire is ready when you can only hold your hand over the grill for about 3 or 4 seconds before it gets too hot.  Now you’re ready for your meat.  Put your meat on the grill directly over the heat.  Now, close the lid.  Leave it alone.


grilling sirloin2 


I’ve conditioned myself to cook based on time.  I put the meat down.  Personally, I time it for 3 minutes.  Then I flip it.  DO NOT, EVER use a meat fork.  Use tongs.  Or even a spatula.  Stabbing a hunk of meat with a meat fork only lets the juices drain out, drying out the meat.  What happens if the meat sticks to the grill?  Don’t force it.  Give it another minute.  The meat will let go of the grill when it’s ready. Cooking, even caveman grilling over open flame, is chemistry.  Flip the meat and let the other side have a shot at cooking.  You should have some nice, sexy grill marks on the steaks you just flipped.


Cook the meat another 3 minutes.  Now you’ve got some decisions to make.  If you want a rare steak, you should be there.  If you want it medium rare, give your meat about 2 more minutes per side.  For medium to well done steak, put the meat on a cooler portion of the grill and let it roast so that the juices stay sealed in and it continues to cook.  Medium should take about another 4 or so minutes per side and well done around 5 or 6. 


sirloin grilling2 


But hey, your cooking times are going to set by how many BTUs your grill throws out.  Know your equipment and how it reacts to different air temperatures and humidity.  The only way to really learn it is to have done what I have done on more than one occasion—you have to have cremated some perfectly good meat and then had to chew the hell out of it soaked in A-1 to give it any moistness at all just to be able to choke it down.  Like Tom Colicchio says when someone over cooks meat, “It was already dead and he killed it again.”


Then, take the meat off the grill and let it rest.  All that cooking makes it tired.  Let it rest for at least 5 minutes if not 8-10.  That lets the juices settle back into the meat fibers.  If you cut into it too soon, all the juices will run out and it'll get dry and tough.


sirloin resting 


Corn on the Cob:  I love fresh roasted corn on the cob.  California’s the only place I’ve ever been where people stand in the store and shuck their corn over a big garbage can set next to the display of corn on the cob.


 grill roasted corn on the cob  


I like to butter the corn then roll it up in foil before putting it on the grill.  It takes about 10 or 12 minutes to get it fully roasted.  And it’s tasty and buttery with a bit of roasted flavor from the grill.


rubberband on corn on the cob 


And here’s a tip I came across not long ago that really works.  To get those stray corn silks off the cob, take a rubber band and stretch it between your thumb and index finger.  The roll the rubber band down the cob.  It strips the silk right off without having to use a brush or your fingertips to pick them off.


perfect sirloin 


The Cheap Bastid Test:   There’s just nothing better than a good piece of well cooked meat shared with someone you love. This steak cost $1.99 a pound.  The corn on the cob cost $.20 per ear.  So we ate for $3.40.  That’s a lot cheaper than any steak house I know of.


Oh, by the way--I LOVE to take a crust of bread and sop up the drippiings from the platter!  Man, that's tasty!  My Dad always called me a "gravy sopper"!

soppin bread 



Cheap Bastid’s Tips on Cleaning Your Grill:

Start with a clean grill!  Use a brush on a hot grill to get the crud off it (brass bristle that you can buy in the paint department of Home Depot, Lowe’s or WalMart works great and is cheaper).


grill cleaning bbq grill oiling 


One of the things that Bobby Flay says constantly is to oil the food not the grill.  Rub a thin skim of oil onto your food with your fingers or a brush.


If you want to oil your grill, take a paper towel and fold it into 4ths, drizzle a couple of teaspoons of oil on it, fold it one more time and then use your long handled brush to rub the oiled paper towel rapidly over the grill.  (Be quick, I’ve burned up a bunch of oily paper towels in my day).  Then let your grill continue to heat and start cooking.


Just make sure that your grill is hot and clean.  The main reason people oil their grill is to keep food from sticking.  If your food is sticking, it’s because it’s not ready to be turned yet.  Wait another 30 seconds or minute and try again.  When it’s ready to turn, it will release!  I can’t tell you the number of hamburgers I’ve demolished trying to flip them too soon until I learned to just wait another 30 seconds to minute and try again. (If it’s burned when you flip it that means you’re using too much heat).


That's the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good! Eat Cheap! Be Grateful!

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Ohhhhhhhhhhhh I like this. Never did corn on the cob on the grill. That's a must try! Thank you for the tips! :- ) ~r
Ohhhhhhhhhhhh I like this. Never did corn on the cob on the grill. That's a must try! Thank you for the tips! :- ) ~r
Ah Walt, you have highlighted my favorite meal in the world. Your presentation was far better than my "caveman" style offering and that roasted corn was to die for. You hit the nail on the head with those cooking times too; anything over three minutes per side for me is just too done. I like that pink/red color of the meat and being able to get a mouthful of juices with every bite. I have always said that any steak that you have to put a sauce on, is not cooked right.

Thanks for posting this Walt, now I gotta go out and build a fire.....I"m hungry all of a sudden...go figure.
Through--thanks. There are a couple of ways to do corn on the cob on the grill. Another is to peel the husk but don't remove, clean off the corn & butter it then pull the husk back up and put it on the grill. The silk will generally pull right off when the corn is done.
Torman--my "presentation" was more "academic" while your's was more entertaining and enjoyable. Although I should have written that you know that grilling season is here when men start appearing with the hair singed off their knuckles and the back of their hands. Thanks.
Jane--Thanks. Your comment means a lot to me. Now, I've got to start developing some new, cheap recipes. I'm just about tapped out.
Walter! This is exactly what we're doing for dinner tonight! Coincidence as hubby bought the sirloins and corn on the cob yesterday! We're also doing fresh asparagus on the grill as well.
Love your tips and need to know one thing: Do you close the lid to do your steaks or leave open? Great post!
Just Cathy--I close the lid. And, here's how I like doing asparagus on the grill: Snap each spear so the woody part breaks off where it wants. Put asparagus in a pan. Add some lemon juice or wine along with a couple tablespoons of margarine or butter. Liberally shake garlic over the asparagus and a pinch or so of salt. Put on the grill. Heat it a bit, then take the spears out of the pan and put directly on the grill long enough to get a bit of a "char" on each spear. Put the spears back in the pan, let it reheat all together. Then remove and serve while the spears still have some crunch. This takes only about 8 minutes total. Enjoy. (And I hope you or your husband likes sopping up the juices too!)
Hmmmmm, roasted corn. Sometimes I try roasted potatoes- boil under just tender small red or purple potatoes- cool off with water, coat with olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt. Pop on the grill and let them heat up and get a little crusty.
Beautiful... and the academic approach is working well! Love the rubber band to remove corn silk tip... you're the best, Walt! I remember big impromptu family picnics like that, heck, I was in my 20's before I realized you're supposed to use a fork to eat a steak, was used to just eating them out of one hand and throwing a frisbee with the other. Back then, we'd throw anything on the grill, since it was already hot y'might as well, right? Try grilling a dill pickle!
Love a good ribeye, Walter!

Excellent tip on removing the corn silks!!! And I always use bread as a spoon rest! I'm a sopper, too!

That looks so good ... now I'm craving red meat!
Oryoki--Thanks. That's an approach to potatoes I haven't tried yet. I'm going to give it a shot this weekend.

Raving--those big old impromptu picnics are fantastic, aren't they! I loved being able to just turn the kids loose and let them play until they were just about ready to keel over from being tired. And they'd sleep late the next morning too.

1IMom--Glad to see another sopper! Yeah, that corn silk thing really works!
Walter- I am totally a fan of flank steak myself, and served with guacamole. You are welcome to go for broke on that if you like. :)
Oryoki--try flank steak (as I mentioned in the post it's my favorite steak) with chimichurri. For a chimichurri recipe check out a post "Cheap Bastid" did a couple of months ago called "Cheap Bastid's Tri-Tip and Chimichurri". You'll love that even better!