Plancha Smoked SteakSteve
One of my favourite things about BBQ is the potential of flavour combinations you just cannot create in the kitchen. It is not just rubs and seasonings, but fuel types, smoking woods and cooking surfaces. A plancha is great for developing flavour in steaks. It is the perfect surface to create the Maillard reaction, without overcooking. It is also very easy to add smoke to your food on your plancha, you just need some tin foil or a foil drip tray, a cooling rack and some wood chips.
This method works with most cuts of steak, however if it is a thick steak, it would be more suited to the Fifty50 plancha rather than the full plancha.
Firstly, dry brine your steak up to 48 hours before you intend to cook. Dry brining is a very simple, but very effective method of adding more moisture to your meat. The ratio is 1 teaspoon of salt per 1kg of meat. Just sprinkle it over the meat as if you are seasoning it and leave it on a plate in your fridge to do its magic. Not only will it help with moisture, it will also help with crust formation.
When you are ready to cook, take the steaks out of the fridge and let them start to come up to room temperature. With this technique, it is not essential to bring the steaks to room temp, so don’t worry if you miss this step completely.
Bank 2/3 of a chimney of lit coals to one side of the fuel grate and place your plancha on to heat up.
This process is really simple, use either a disposable foil drip tray or make a tray out of foil and add a handful of wood chips, I favour Oak Whisky Barrel chips.
Place the foil tin on the hottest part of the plancha and wait a few minutes until they start smoking.
Once they are smoking, place your cooling rack on the cooler side of the plancha and sit your steaks on top, Then close the lid with your vents wide open.
You may be tempted to dry your steak off before putting it on the cooling rack but try to resist this, smoke is attracted to moist surfaces, so you will get a better smoke profile leaving it a little moist.
Due to the heat properties of the plancha, your steak will pretty much just be absorbing smoke and very little heat. How long you leave it for is personal preference, but I would recommend 30 minutes as a good starting point.
After 30 minutes, remove the wood chips, but be sure to place them somewhere non-flammable as they will continue to smoulder.
Now dry off the surface of the steaks and brush with a little oil. Place your steaks on the hottest part of the plancha.
Leave them for 30 seconds and flip. By flipping every 30 seconds, you will ensure you get a lovely crust, whilst avoiding overcooking the center.
Keep repeating this until you reach your desired internal temperature (120-130F/49-54C for rare, 130-135F/54-57C for medium rare, 135-145F/57-63C for medium and above for well done. If you want to speed up this process, you can cloche the steaks.
Once you get to your desired temperature, remove the steak.
Now traditionally, we are told to leave our steaks to rest so they reabsorb some of the moisture which leaks out as the muscles relax. However, Meathead at Amazingribs.com challenges this. He agrees that the steak will reabsorb ‘some’ liquid, but whilst it is resting that beautiful flavourful crust you have just developed starts softening and loses its flavour. So, whatever you are gaining in moisture, you are losing in crust. Personally, as I dry brine before, I am happy that my steaks are moist enough straight off the grill, so I do not wait and enjoy that wonderful smokey crust!
This method is open to experimentation with different cuts of steak, maybe trying pork or lamb chops, duck breast? You can use different types of wood and different lengths of smoking time. Just have fun with it.
Created by Mark Quigg