Grilled beef steak on the grill, close-up.

Where’s The Beef?

Published On July 25, 2016 | July/August 2016

Lean beef isn’t just ok to eat, it’s actually good for you.

Fire up the grill this summer with some lean red meat.

By Chef Dyrell Dilorenzo, Baylor Scott & White Health

In Austin we have a lot of vegetarians and those who eat gluten free or follow other trends. But now and then it’s important to get some lean beef into your diet. This protein-rich, iron-rich food can be a healthy addition to your diet, if you do it right.

This critical protein is healthier than you probably thought. “Lean beef isn’t just ok to eat, it’s actually good for you,” says Karla Luna, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Round Rock. Luna says that lean beef offers the following:

• Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, including zinc, vitamin B6, and alpha lipoic acid. These are responsible for creating antibodies and keeping blood sugar levels in check.
• A 3 oz. serving of 96 percent lean ground beef has 164 calories and 4 grams of fat, but offers up 20 grams of protein.
• Ground beef is rich in iron, a mineral that boosts energy and keeps muscles working properly.

You might be worried about eating red meat too often. According to Luna, you can relax. “You can safely eat lean red meat up to twice a week — just make sure you choose the right cuts (leanest). Aim for 90-96 percent lean beef, because leaner is lower in fat and calorie, but maintains almost the same protein content as fattier cuts.”

Chef DyRell’s Six Steps to Perfectly Grilled Steak:

1. Start with a clean and oiled grill: More than cooking time, more than spice rubs, a clean grill makes all the difference when cooking great steak (or anything on the grill, for that matter.) Clean grates keep the steaks from sticking when you turn them. All you need to do is heat your grill, give it a good scrub with a heavy duty grill brush, and lightly brush it with vegetable oil. This essentially creates a nonstick cooking surface.

2. High Heat Cooking: Crank that heat up! You want the grill to be at least 450°F, or hot enough that you can hold your hand over the grill for just one second. High heat ensures a good sear, prevents sticking, and provides a crispy crust on these steaks.

3. Season the Steak: Steaks don’t need much to make them great. Just before grilling, brush them lightly on both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If you want to get fancy, you can add spices like chili powder, paprika, or garlic powder to the rub. If you are on a low-sodium diet there are tons of low/no salt options out there, don’t be afraid to get creative! One that comes to mind is extra virgin olive oil, cumin, chili powder, chopped garlic, and cilantro.

4. Turn Steak Once: Steaks are so quick-cooking that you really only need to turn them once. Flipping too frequently might also prevent the steaks from forming their tasty, well-seared crust. They’re ready to be flipped when they release easily from the grill, just like with searing meat on the stove top. Use a pair of pincher tongs for turning the meat instead of poking it with a barbecue fork — those forks just pierce holes in the meat, mauling it and releasing its juices.

5. Cook Until It’s Done: Exact time depends on thickness of the steak and personal preference. This is why a meat thermometer is handy. It’s accurate and won’t release much juice from the meat.

Out of concern for people’s safety the USDA strongly recommends a minimum internal temp of 145°F plus a three-minute rest time for steaks or whole muscle beef, and 160°F for all ground beef products.

Below are not recommended for at-risk groups including; children, elderly, and immune-compromised. With that said, we highly suggest the USDA guidelines be strictly followed for all preparations.

-Rare: 125°F – 130°F
-Medium-Rare: 130°F – 135°F
-Medium: 140°F – 145°F
-Well-Done: 160° and higher

Remember, they continue cooking during the resting step, and taking it off the grill early prevents accidentally overcooking your steak.

6. Rest the Steak: As you take the steak off of the grill, invert it onto a cutting board. Let it rest for three minutes, then flip again for an additional three minutes of resting. This gives the juices time to recirculate through the meat. Slicing the steak earlier lets the juices run out and makes your steak taste dry.

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