Uruguyan chef and cookbook author Francis Mallmann is a master of meat and fire. His perfect steak is seasoned with a salty crust produced by searing and is rosy pink throughout. If you can cook it over fire, even better. Mallmann was the featured chef at Oklahoma State University's recent Wine Forum of Oklahoma.
Mallmann's Perfect Steak
1 1-pound boneless rib-eye steak per person, about 1¼ to 1½ inches thick
Chimichurri (recipe below)
• Create a 2- to 3-inch bed of coals under the grill grate. This bed should extend about 3 inches beyond the perimeter of the grill, so that every part of each steak will receive uniform heat. The grill grate should be 3 to 4 inches from the coals. Wait for the coals to cover over with a layer of whitish ash. You can test the temperature by placing your hand almost at the level that the meat will cook. The fire should be medium-high, and it is ready when you can hold your hand there for only 2½ seconds.(Note: To determine 2½ seconds, in Spanish, we say, “Uno matador, dos matador, tres ...”; the English equivalent is “One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three ....”)
• Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy to douse any flare-ups.
• Salt the steaks to taste. Using tongs, grease the grill grate with a piece of fat or a clean cloth or paper towel moistened with olive oil or other cooking oil.
• Place the meat on the grill. You should hear a nice sizzle. Then don't touch the steaks and don't move them. After 5 minutes, gently lift one edge to check the sear marks on the meat. If they look just right at that point, rotate the meat 90 degrees. This will create a crosshatch pattern and keep the meat from burning where it is in contact with the grill.