Your Steak Could Use a Shot of Bourbon
A brilliant, boozy grilling technique from chef Giuseppe Tentori on opening day of his new Chicago steakhouse, GT Prime
Giuseppe Tentori may have grown up a farm boy tending to his grandmother’s land outside of Milan, but the 2008 Best New Chef was always a fan of the iconic American steakhouse.
“When I was very young, I used to love those big spaces and those 18-ounce steaks,” Tentori says. “When I finished them, I was so satisfied.”
Today he unveils his ode to the Windy City steakhouse (and one of the city’s most anticipated openings), GT Prime. It's a 130-seat behemouth of a restaurant with a daily changing menu of six beefy cuts.
“We don’t want people stuck with one big cut of meat,” Tentori explains. “When they go to a steakhouse, it’s to celebrate. It’s an event. I want to throw an event in a different way.”
That means wet-aging the meat in-house and cooking on the kitchen's wood-burning grill, under the broiler, in a cast-iron pan or sous-vide, methods chosen after rigorous testing. And it means smaller portions of meat, so you can try the broiled wagyu sirloin, 5-day aged duck, delicately wood-grilled venison, bone marrow flan and more.
However, when it comes to grilling meats at home, Tentori takes a different approach, honed under Charlie Trotter and inspired by an ancient Japanese technique. The trick: Give your steak a shot.
“It seasons the entire piece of meat," Tentori says of his foolproof marinade technique.”“Even my wife can do it. Even my friends can do it.”
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Bottoms up before you fire up the grill:
1. Rub-a-dub. Rub 3 tablespoons of rock salt all over a 2-inch-thick ribeye steak, then throw it on a very hot grill and cook for one minute on each side.
2. Pick your poison. Remove the steak from the grill, and give it a drink. “I wash the steak with white wine, sake or even cheap bourbon,” he says. “It has to be cheap though. You don’t want to waste good bourbon.” Place the steak on a sheet pan and pour enough booze to rinse off the salt, then grill for about 4 minutes per side.
3. Splash some soy. One final rinse: Remove from the grill and drizzle soy sauce over the meat on the pan, then place it back on the grill until it reaches desired doneness.