Monday, June 10, 2013


 I couldn't resist taking up Walmart's “Steak-Over” challenge, especially after Walmart hired my buddy Brett Galloway of USA Cook Team to be in one of their TV commercials. He grilled on GrillGrates at Southfork Ranch in Dallas-- how cool is that!

For steak-off #3 our gang had concluded that we needed to try a different cut other than rib-eyes since there is a lot of variation in the rib-eye steak. So it was to be sirloin for our next steak-off. That's when I remembered Walmart's campaign and headed to their meat department to
investigate. I like Walmart's campaign: surprising people after they ate a great steak, "Your steak came from Walmart- Surprise!" The commercials are fun and compelling and you can watch Brett's spot here.

I was delighted to see some very pretty, nicely thick NY Strips. I needed 8 and there weren't enough. I was even more delighted to find a Walmart associate who went to the back and brought out a whole tray of thick NY strips. I picked 8 that were similar.  They were in the $10-$11 range- not inexpensive- but the quality sure looked great. I grabbed a bag of Kingsford charcoal and we were all set for Steak-Off #3.

My buddies and I have gotten our timing down well on getting the four grills all up to 600-650F at the GrillGrates. I even started the chimney a bit a ahead of their arrival so we had some smoke billowing from the deck when they arrived with the salad and sides. Martinis preceded the lighting of the other grills!
  • Weber Kettle chimney full of Kingsford is lit first. The chimney is piled higher than normal for extra coals. I left a bed of the old coals from the last cook to bring the coals closer to the GrillGrates. The goal is one HOT Kettle.
  • Kamado Joe is lit next with lump charcoal. I picked out a few oversized pieces to keep the size as consistent as possible. Our infrared studies showed that more evenly sized lump radiates more even heat.
    Time to refresh the cocktails while we wait to light the other two grills in 15 minutes.
  • YODER Pellet Grill is plugged in, pellets loaded, switched on.  It's puffing smoke in 5 minutes which leans out quickly as it heads to 350F its pre-programed start point. The plan is to goose it to 550F once it reaches 350F. The heat deflector is removed and we're grilling with GrillGrates right over the burn pot.
  • Charbroil Gasser is the last to fire up as it heats up fast. It was 650F at the GrillGrate in less than 10 minutes! I never had the grill on high and it was bumping 700F before the other 3 grills and I had to back it down a bit like a galloping horse!
The “gals” had the steaks (seasoned only with salt and pepper) plated on 4 separate plates, and onto Phase Two!  HOT and FAST grilling 8 very nice NY strips, 4 grills, lots of sizzle and smoke! No one even asked about the meat. Timing becomes critical to grill each steak to medium rare erring to the rare side. We want to work each grill to its best, running each grill hotter than I grill any other foods. Steaks (in my opinion) cook better at hot temps. The reverse sear crowd will argue with me on that one. I defer to the competition teams that primarily are grilling hot and fast too.

My buddy Don is always pushing to remove the steaks too soon. Thankfully our trusty instant read thermometer keeps us well informed. The goal is to pull at 120F and give the steaks a very short rest before Susan cuts them into quarters for everyone to get a good size piece of all 4 steaks. The plastic tooth-pic plate looks mouthwatering and we sat down to another grate meal.

The steaks all looked similar and the cook was very consistent, every one agreed the most level
playing field yet. It was interesting to see the difference in the strips from the first taste to a later bite as the steak cooled down and firmed up a bit. Everyone agreed on the deliciousness of the steak and voting was tough.
  • The Kamado Joe won by a resounding margin!
  • The Weber Kettle and Charbroil TIED for 2nd. This was the first time that the Charbroil placed better than dead last. 
  • The Yoder pulled up the rear after being strong tied for 2nd in Steak Off #2
Conclusions- BRING the HEAT when Grilling Steaks!   The Kamado Joe probably ran a bit hotter followed by the Charbroil and the Weber. The Yoder was at 600F but likely could not hold it as well as the other grills.

I encourage you to have your own steak-off with your grilling buddies!
Simple guidelines:
  1. A Weber Kettle and Kingsford Briquettes are essential to compare to all other challengers!
  2. A gasser equipped with GrillGrates is also essential.
  3. A 3rd and 4th grill is not mandatory but fun to add to the mix. A Kamado, or Off-set Smoker (think reverse sear) is ideal.
  4. Buy good steaks, and take a look next time you are in Walmart- look for their Steak-Over signs!
  5. We'll post the scoring sheets we've developed shortly- if anyone want me to email click here.
Let us know if you have your Steak-Off and send any suggestions for future ideas.  The one that I am toying with is reverse sear- versus hot and fast on thick steaks, ummmmmm....

PS- I did not get any grief when I announced at the end of the meal the steaks came from Walmart!  Everyone agreed they were worthy!  

GrillGrate, Eat Well!


Anonymous said...

I only own a Weber and have a 4-burner Char-Broil Commercial that has served us for years (she's worn out though)- thanks for the tips! I am grilling some 6 week dry aged NY strips (2") tonight for Father's Day and will get the grill HOT one one side. Being kinda thick I want a good sear and marks - figure the steaks will be on the direct side for 2min and then on the indirect for 6min on each side - will let ya know how they turn out...BTW: I'm wearing my GrillGrate T-shirt for this festival. Happy Father's Day - PJ Agnew

brad said...

Outstanding! I'm interested in learning more about dry aging! Happy Father's Day!