We had working lunch the other day (if talking about grilling is work) at the local J. Alexander’s. If you haven’t been there, it’s one of those places where you can see the folks in the back cooking your meal. Of course, the grill is conveniently located right by the waiting area so that you come in wanting a salad, but leave full of steak. Steak was precisely what the guy was throwing on the grill as we were standing there watching through the glass. As the cook placed the steak on the grill, he also placed a steak weight on top. My first instinct was to run over and save that poor hunk of meat from the crushing force of the cast iron, but I resisted. That little episode did make me wonder whether I was missing a good grilling tip, so I did a little research.
The idea behind the steak press is to apply additional pressure and heat to the top while grilling steak. The added heat captured by the metal weight and then transferred to the top of the steak causes the steak to cook faster and more evenly. Steak weights are recommended more often for people that like their steaks on the well done side, which explains why I have never felt the need to use one! I like my steaks medium rare and personally feel that the reason a well-done steak is grey is because you have cooked out all of it’s soul :).
What say you, GrillingCompanion readers? Does your grilling arsenal contain a steak weight?
As a Certified Chef for over 40 years, We call these grill presses. The original intention of a grill press is to help get a uniform initial sear on the meat. The press is pushed onto the meat and held down only for a few seconds then removed. The process is repeated when the meat is turned. Any other use is purely inventive. The initial sear locks in juices while the seared surface also enhances flavor. When turning the meat, it should be put down in a different spot on the grill. We dont leave them on the grill to stay hot to help cooking, it’s just convenient to leave them right there instead of placing them somewhere else and risk dropping them because they get greasy. Wives tales aside, this is what they are for.