Although Cabernet Sauvignon is often heralded as the perfect foil for steaks, a wine such as Merlot, with softer and fruitier notes and lower acid, is a better match for beef prepared with saltier, sharper and more savory marinades.
Chef’s TIPS ON GRILLING:
Grilling is traumatic for beef. Exposing muscle fiber to high heat causes the fiber to contract, which is why if you leave a steak on the grill on one side too long, the steak will begin to curl. High heat also dries out meat and forces the remaining juice into the center of the steak. For tender and moist NY steak:
1.Well before grilling, pull the meat out of the refrigerator, marinate it with the garlic, thyme, soy sauce, olive oil and cracked pepper, then let it come to room temperature. Having the meat closer to grill temperature will make for better grilling.
2. A good, moderate coal base is better than one of nuclear heat. A lower, more even cooking will give you a moister, more tender steak. Only by cooking low and slow can you cook the perfect rare or medium-rare steak. And if you prefer medium or well-done, you will be shocked at how moist the steak remains.
3. Let it rest. Once you have cooked your steak to the desired temperature, pull it off the grill, put it on a plate, place the plate in a spot that is just warm and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Why? Because even if you have followed the directions for long and slow cooking, you have still displaced juices that are in the outside of the meat and pushed them into the center. Allowing the meat to rest allows those juices to redistribute themselves more broadly in the steak. When cut in half, the cross section shows a gray, charred margin, but the rest of the steak is rosé red from margin to center, and the juice stays inside, not running all over the plate.
WINE PAIRING PICKS
-Delicato Merlot California 2003
-Sterling Merlot Central Coast Vintners Collection 2002
-Chateau St. Jean Merlot Sonoma County 2001
-Paloma Merlot Spring Mountain 2002