Four 14-ounce New York strip steaks, about 1½ inches thick
½ cup canola oil
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
8 teaspoons kosher salt
8 teaspoons freshly cracked black peppercorns(see notes)
1. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator 30 to 40 minutes before cooking. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
2. Mix the oil and butter in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Put the steaks in this mixture, turning to coat each side. Lift the steaks from the pan and allow the excess oil to drip off. Place on a platter and coat each side of each steak with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1 teaspoon of the pepper.
3. Oil the grill racks. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Place the steaks on the hottest part of your grill. Cut one burner to medium, but not the one where the steaks are. Be patient. Close the lid and cook the steaks for 3 minutes on one side, turn, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Turn them back to the first side for an additional 3 minutes, and then finish the other side with an additional 3 minutes. Your total cooking time will be 12 minutes. This should give you a rare steak with a pretty decent char. If you desire a steak that’s cooked a little more, pull the steaks to the cooler burner. Remember that the meat will continue to cook after you’ve removed it from the grill. Allow the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
At the Grill:
Judging the doneness of steak is not as much science as it is technique and feel. Poke your index finger into your cheek at mouth level. Then press your finger into the steak. If they feel very similar, that’s an indication of a rare steak. Touching the tip of your nose gives you the feel of a medium steak, and touching your forehead is a medium-well to well-done steak. Always let the meat sit for a few minutes before you serve or cut it. Juices come to the surface of the meat while it cooks. Allowing it to sit lets the meat reabsorb the juices, so they don’t spill out when you cut it.
All of us want to be superior steak masters. Like all things, the quality of the end result has a lot to do with what you start with. When you crave a really great steak, seek out aged beef, and try to get your hands on Prime beef if possible. Most steaks are best when simply prepared, but knowing how to use heat is critical. With gas grills, it’s easy to get a higher temperature for a great sear and then quickly lower the heat to finish cooking the steak without continuing to brown (that is, burn) the outside. Many of the newer gas grills have sear burners or separate sear plates for doing just this.
The flavor of texture of freshly cracked peppercorns—or any whole spice—can add volumes of taste and texture to any dish, and you won’t get the same result by just using your coarse setting on your pepper mill or by purchasing cracked peppercorns. Pour out the whole peppercorns onto a cutting board or flat surface. Grab a heavy skillet or saucepan and place it directly over the peppercorns. Using your weight, lean hands first into the skillet or pan until you hear a little cracking. This is only the first step. We flatten the peppercorns out enough so that they won’t go rolling all over the kitchen counter.
Using the edge of the skillet or pan and leaning your weight into it, continue cracking the peppercorns several at a time until you’ve gone through all of them. It’s a simple process, and after you’ve done it a few times you probably won’t have to sweep the kitchen floor afterward.