The Perfect Strip Steak
Michael Jordan's The Steakhouse N.Y.C. (1999)
4 prime New York strip steaks (11/2 inches thick, about 14 to 16 ounces each; the thickness is more important than the weight)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup corn oil
8 teaspoons kosher salt
8 teaspoons cracked black pepper
Melt the butter over medium-high heat and skim the milk solids from the surface. Set aside to cool.
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator about 30 to 40 minutes before cooking. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow the steaks to come to room temperature. Before grilling, shape the steaks by gently pushing the sides into the center to create height.
Mix the oil and 1/2 cup of clarified butter on a large serving plate. Put the steaks into the oil-butter mix to coat each side, then lift the steaks to allow the excess oil to drip off. (Make sure that the steaks don't have too much oil-butter mix on them, as this will create flare-ups on the grill.) Coat each side of the steaks with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. You can't have too much salt on a steak; it makes a great crust. Or try substituting a chili rub or herb rub.
Place the meat on the hottest part of the grill. If at any time the grill flares up, move the steaks to the outside edge, returning them to the center when the flame dies down. Do not slide the steaks across the grill; gently pick them up with tongs. The key is not to flip them around. Ultimately you want to turn a New York strip steak only three times, cooking each side twice for 3 minutes at a time (for a total cooking time of 12 minutes), to get a rare steak with adequate char.
Telling when a steak is done is not an exact science. One technique is to cut a small slit in the steak to see the color of the meat. A professional presses the meat and compares its firmness to the softer, fleshy part at the base of his or her own thumb; if it's the same density, the meat is rare. The firmer center of the palm is like the feel of a well-done steak. (It takes practice.) An instant-read meat thermometer is most accurate of all; insert it into the center of the steak. Rare is 110 to 115 degrees; medium-rare, 120 degrees; medium, 125 to 130 degrees; medium-well, 130 to 135 degrees; and well, 140 degrees. (Err on the low side, since steaks will continue to cook when removed from the grill.) Allow the meat to rest for 3 to 4 minutes before serving, to allows the juices to emerge from the center.