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Open Fire Grilled Steaks & Vegetables with Kalbi Butter

Edward Lee

Lesson time 18 min

Want to cook steaks better on the grill? Watch this lesson. Edward explains how to check for doneness, manipulate the fire and accomplish a smoky taste.

Students give this lesson an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

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– [Ed] To me, the idea of live-fire cooking is so raw, the energy. If you can master this, you’ll go home in your kitchen with your nice little oven and sauté pan… That’s easy. You wanna learn how to cook, cook over an open fire. Quite literally, you’re gonna learn by trial by fire. Do you do much outdoor fire cooking? – [Maggie] I don’t. I do appreciate camping though, and so I cook outdoors then. – Are you gonna be cool to help me cook on here today? – [Maggie] As long as you tell me what to do, I’m good. – I heard you got some nice cuts of meat for me today. – Yeah I do. – What do you got? – We have some flat iron and some skirt steak– – They’re my favorite. – Short ribs. The flank, which should be really nice, especially on this smokey– – [Ed] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – [Maggie] Some rib eyes– – [Ed] Awesome, that’s a favorite. – [Maggie] One of my favorites. – [Ed] The best. What would you tell me about each cut of meat? – Pretty much all grass-fed beef, if you over-cook it, it’s gonna get really tough, really fast. – [Ed] Because it’s very lean. – Yeah, exactly. That one, you can see how the fat is yellow? That’s from the carotene in the grass. And it’s a lot smaller. Our animals are smaller so that we can finish them on grass in the two years. – Can I eat it raw? – [Maggie] Yeah, definitely. – [Ed] I love tasting the flavor; it’s really rich. All right, I think we’re ready to cook. – [Maggie] Great. – [Ed] I’m gonna make a little compound butter. Do you know what a compound butter is? – [Maggie] I don’t. – So basically it’s sesame oil, soya sauce, and then I’m gonna use that and fold it into the butter. And what that does is it’ll flavor the butter. So as I baste the steaks with butter, I’m also going to be melting some of this sweet soy, pepper, sesame oil thing on it. It’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone. A little bit of chili powder, a good amount of brown sugar, pinch of salt, and a little lemon juice. I’m just cooking it to melt everything together. But if you mash the butter a little bit. And you gotta be careful ’cause it’s hot, so you don’t want to melt the butter completely, but this is going to warm and soften the butter just enough. Once you mix all that liquid into the butter, you can chill it back down in your fridge, and it’ll stay good for a very long time. If that whisk starts to– – Yeah, I’m like I’m having issues. – I’ve got a really fancy trick for that. – [Maggie] Okay, good. – It’s called your fingers. – [Maggie] I was going to do that, but I didn’t know if that was proper. – [Ed] And then you just do that. – [Maggie] Thank you. – So this is what I call a kalbi butter. Have you ever had Korean kalbi barbecue? – [Maggie] No I haven’t. – So it’s a Korean barbecue where you take a bunch of ginger and sesame oil and garlic, and you mash it together and make a marinade. And you grill it. So what I did was decide to take those same flavors but then put it into a compound butter. So I micro planed the ginger right into there. Little bit of lemon juice. Soya sauce. All right, taste that butter now. – Oh my. – [Ed] That good? – [Maggie] That’s incredible. – So basically I’m gonna baste the steaks with this butter, and that soya sauce and the sesame oil, that’s just gonna go right into the steaks. So I’m gonna salt these steaks. One of the things that I always tell people, you go to a restaurant, and your steak is amazing, and then you go home, and your steak doesn’t taste like anything? – Yes. – And you’re like, “Why is that?” I’m like, “It’s just salt.” We salt the shit out of things. – [Maggie] I’m definitely on that train. – [Ed] This all comes from your farm. – [Maggie] Yeah, definitely. Pavel’s garden, he grows all this. – Will you just cut up whatever you want, and we’ll throw it on the grill? – [Maggie] Yeah. – [Ed] Normally I use a really cheap oil to oil this up, but I’m gonna have to use your very fancy extra virgin olive oil. It’s very fancy. – [Maggie] You gotta just use what you have, right? – [Ed] This is roughing it, this is really… Let’s throw the veggies on there first, actually. Because to me, veggies always take longer. – [Maggie] So you can put olive oil right over that? – Yes, I do. You will obviously get a little bit of flare up. Make sure you oil first, and then salt. And then I will do probably the big-ass rib eyes first. I’ll let that go on the hottest part of the grill. Whenever I set up a grill, I try and set up zones. I try and put a little bit of the fire towards the back so that the hottest part is in the back and then right towards the front here is a little bit cooler. So I can do things like cook smaller cuts or things that I want to have a little bit more control over like these little guys will go right up front here. I’ll put this guy, a little bit thicker, right in the middle. Then we’ll do this guy. What I’m gonna do when these get done, I’m just gonna throw this into this pan here and let it rest. And the juices kind of run on each other a little bit. – [Maggie] Did you put some of that butter in there? – Yeah, so I put a little bit in the carrot, and I’ll put a little bit in here and it’ll kind of just… What I’m gonna do with this guy here, this is the super fun part. It’s also gonna flame up and spit a little fire. And so now what I’ll do at this point is I’ll kind of flip and baste and flip and baste. That top side, that’s kind of like sitting in a pool of butter, as I flip that over, that sugar’s going to stick to the steak, and then it’s going to caramelize nicely. And then all these nooks and crannies, they just melt right into there and slowly goes in there. Do you wanna throw some of this fennel in here? – Yeah. – These veggies are done. So I think this flank is going to be the first guy that I take off the grill. – [Maggie] Is that ’cause the heat is mostly on that side? – Yeah, and also I want to keep it pretty rare in the middle. Not a carpaccio but almost like super rare. Then also I’m going to grill some lemon, too. – [Maggie] Nice! – And this is kind of an Asian thing, ’cause most Asian marinades on steaks are a little bit acidic. So what I do, is I always grill a lemon, and I just add a little bit of lemon juice on top of the steaks. Not enough so that it’s going to taste like lemon, you should never taste lemon, but it’s just enough so that there’s a little bit of acidity that it’s gonna cut through. These veggies are done. I’m gonna start taking this stuff off the grill ’cause it looks pretty ready. All right, so we got our meats. – Great. – That’s a rib eye cut, but it’s cut really thin. Rule of thumb, something’s thin, cook it very quickly. – [Maggie] How do you know when it’s cooked through? – The more steak gets cooked, the more it turns into a sponge-like texture, right? So when something is really rare, you will see your indentation a little bit more. See that? – [Maggie] Oh wow. – [Ed] When something is a little bit more well done, it bounces back really quickly. Look at that. – Those onions look great. – You want to turn the onions? – Yeah sure! – I’ve gotta get you doing something. – I love that. Don’t have your skills though. Oh there we go, okay, yeah. – Do you mind just tossing it together and making a big salad out of it? All right, you ready to do a taste test? – I would love to do a taste test. – All right. The most fascinating thing is when I tell people that the way you cut something will affect the way it tastes. And it’s a real challenge sometimes, ’cause they’re like “Well it’s the same meat, “so how does that?” And I get it, it’s the same ingredient, I haven’t changed any of the ingredients inside, but the way you cut something will affect how it chews in your mouth, and that will affect how much juice comes out. That’s gonna affect the flavor of it. It’s really important how you cut it, how thick you cut it, how thin you cut it, and where you cut it on the thing. So you want a fatty piece? – [Maggie] I would love a little fatty piece. – And this is how I love to serve it. A little butter on the side. And it’s almost like a little dipping thing. And I always add a little bit of that lemon juice, just a touch. Steaks are so rich, especially beef is so rich, and then you’re adding char to it, and it’s so fatty, and whenever you have that, you need a little acidity to cut through all that fat. All right, ready? – Yeah, yum. – [Ed] It’s really nice. Beautiful. – [Maggie] Wow. – Beautiful cut. So here’s what I like to do with flank. I like to cut it on a bias or on a diagonal, super thin. Almost paper thin. And then what I’m gonna do with this, I’m gonna do something kind of fun. So I’m gonna throw some zucchini in there and charred onion. Hope you don’t mind fingers in your food. – [Maggie] Not at all. – [Ed] Then a little– – [Maggie] I trust all these ingredients. – [Ed] Grilled onion. Kind of do it right on top, there you go. – Oh wow, thank you. – Try that, see what you think. Just gonna take a little bit of this butter. – Oh my, that’s incredible. – That’s good, huh? – That’s brilliant. I didn’t see you going there. – And then whenever I’m slicing, I always look, and you know this as well, but I’m always looking to slice against the grain. So I always look where the striations are, and then I always put my knife at an angle, and that allows me to get a nice even cut. So it’s just this, and then you don’t wanna… And then I’m going back and forth with the knife. Let the knife do the work. Just like that. And then get these nice thin cuts. The tougher the meat, the thinner the slice I wanna do. So with a rib eye, I want a nice thick, chewy slice ’cause I want to taste that meat, and I know it’s going to pull away easily. With something like a flat iron, less fat, so it is going to be chewier. So if I cut a huge hunk of it off, it’s just going to be hard on the mouth. So I’m gonna cut thin, almost a quarter-of-an-inch thick slices. And it goes the same for vegetables, too. I don’t think a carrot, as delicious as this carrot is, having a huge chunk of it… Like this is not as good as having a delicate slice, where you can easily cook through it. And those things matter. Something like this zucchini, which has pretty much been cooked all the way through, and it’s really soft, I’m not gonna cut it as thin. Because it actually tastes better. – So you would still cut them bigger to put on the grill, but then once they’re off the grill, cut them. – Exactly, exactly. I think so. Same thing– – [Maggie] Oh that looks incredible. – With here, you see how the grain is going this way? And I know you know this, but I’m going to cut it slightly on a diagonal this way, so that I can cut it against the grain. I love it. – [Maggie] And the flavor’s so deep, you can taste the beefiness. – There is this narrative where your beef has to be absolutely, falling-apart tender in order to be good. And I love, like, this has just enough chew. I almost feel like I taste the earth with that cut. It’s a really, super nice cut. – [Maggie] And it was just as simple to cook as the rib eye. – [Ed] Super simple. – That’s one thing I think that throws people off, is that they think they have to marinade overnight and then cook it. – All right, so now I’m gonna do traditional rib eye. I overcooked just a little bit, but it’s okay. – [Maggie] That’s so worth it. – [Ed] All right here, cheers. – [Maggie] Cheers. – A little dip. That’s nice. – Adding fat to fat, I like it. – Okay the last one is the short rib. This could go either way here. – I was feeling the same way. And do you cut it differently? Is that done? – Yeah so I left it on the bone and cooked it, and just let it roast almost. But literally you would typically cut it super thin and just let it sizzle for 90 seconds on each side, but cutting it super thin. All right, here you go. – [Maggie] Here we go. – That one’s a little tough. That one’s a little tough. – [Maggie] That one’s a little… You’re going to be chewing for a while. – I’m going to be chewing like a cow. When we return… Typically, you would braise short rib. I should’ve cut it super thin and just let it sizzle, but, you know, listen– – [Maggie] That was good. – You win some, you lose some. – [Maggie] That was great. – We got four out of five, and that’s a success in my book. – [Maggie] I do too. – I’ll take those odds any day. – Yeah. – Let’s taste some vegetables real quick. Just layering all these vegetables. Lemon juice, little sprinkle. Add a little bit of extra sea salt on the top. All right, here you go. – Thank you. – You’re welcome. Not bad for an outdoor set up. – No, not bad at all. Thanks. – That’s for you. I’m going to eat out of the pan, that’s what I’m used to. – [Maggie] That sounds good. – Those charred onions, charred onion greens… Incredible. – [Ed] There’s nothing better than looking at this sunset. You have a very nice life here. – Thank you. I do this every night. – [Ed] I’m sure. This is home and also your work, but do you ever just stop and look out and go, “God damn this is pretty”? – [Maggie] Definitely. It’s incredible. – This is gonna push you to be a better cook. There’s no substitute for it. And there’s really no lesson. I can give you the insight and give you my tips on what I did, but until you get here and you’re standing over it and you’re sweating over it… There’s no way to learn. And to me, the feeling of accomplishment that you have when you’re done with this, and you’re all sweaty, and you’re all smoked out, and you’re full, there is a true feeling that you’ve accomplished something great. And to me, that’s all cooking is. It’s feeling like you’ve done something wonderful, which we have today.

About the Instructor

James Beard Award winning writer and best-selling cookbook author Edward Lee takes viewers from the farm to his restaurants and home in Louisville, Kentucky and teaches lessons on his beloved dishes including Fried Chicken with Gochujang Sauce, Oysters and Grits, Cabbage-Steamed Fish, and more.

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John Doe