The Basque Country has a long tradition of chargrilling meat, ever since the industrial revolution made many work cattle obsolete. The region’s revered grill houses, some of the finest of which can be found in the town of Tolosa, close to San Sebastián, are famous for their thick and juicy Oxen steaks, served blue. Aged for between 20 and 40 days, the steaks are cooked one of two ways: on a narrow grill with a high heat or a larger grill with more moderate heat. Either way the results are spectacular.
We caught up with some of the Basque Country’s best grill chefs at the recent Haragi International Meat and Grill Meeting and asked them for their tips on how to grill the perfect T-bone steak.
Matias Gorrotxategi, Casa Julian (Tolosa)
Take the meat out three hours before cooking and get the inside temperature to 20 degrees. Seal the meat and then add a lot of coarse salt – the meat will only take the salt it needs. The steak is ready when the inside reaches 50 degrees.
Xabi Ruiz, Casa Nicolas (Tolosa)
Marabu charcoal is very sustainable, hard and clean. It has 33% more density than other coals and gives a neutral smoke. Salt the meat at the beginning [of the cooking process]. If you add it at the end, the meat won’t have time to absorb it.
Jayne Hardcastle, Horma Ondo (Bizkaia)
Leave the steaks for four to six hours at room temperature [before cooking]. Use a natural salt, coarse, but not too coarse, as it won’t be able to penetrate the meat. Salt during cooking, on both sides and flip the steak three or four times.