This post is part of our 50 Campfires series, 9 Rules for Flame-Cooking a World-Class Steak, giving you a complete guide to one of the best camping meals imaginable. In this step, you’ll learn everything you need to know to nail steak preparation before your steak hits the grill.
Browse the list below to skip to a particular step:
Dry Aging Your Steak
The finest steakhouses in America make their mark with steaks they dry age for weeks/months in specially designed aging rooms. If you have the patience and refrigerator space, you can do the same thing at home with great results. If you’re interested in obtaining the most tender, flavorful beef, make friends with your local butcher and learn the differences between dry and wet aging, and what the aging process does for the meat.
Bring Up to Room Temperature
Bringing your steak to room temperature is arguably the most important and universal step to preparing your steak. If the steak was frozen, it must be completely thawed. Bring every steak out of the fridge at least one-half hour (better for a full hour) to come up to ambient temperature before cooking.
To Marinate … or NOT
The decision to marinate a steak should be made based on the cut and the desired final result. If you marinate a $30/lb. prime bone-in ribeye, your friends, and family need to conduct an intervention. But flank, skirt, and hanger steaks cry out for up to a good eight hours or overnight in the sauce.
Oil is Your Friend
Before putting your steak onto the hot grill or a well-seasoned searing surface (like a cast iron skillet) you should lightly brush or rub the meat with cooking oil. Many people like olive oil for this purpose, but canola or other flavorless oils work just as well.