Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Grilling Out Rib Eye Steaks on a Very Cold Day

My son's girlfriend came for a visit - for the first time, so I thought that I'd put some steaks on the grill. It is, however, really cold here. I finally had to peek at the weather report, and it was 30 degrees when I was headed out the door to gril and wind chill at 24 degrees. With the sun dropping while I was out there, I can attest that it was pretty darn cold. Brrrr!

I figured I'd go with the PK Portable Kitchen outdoor cooker, since it's made of cast aluminum and holds the heat better than other grills. In fact, the PK can be used as a smoker if the coals are offset. I offset the charcoal tonight anyway, so if some steaks got done faster than others, I'd have a space for them to rest without getting cold.

Before I started grilling, I ducked outside and got the coals going with my chimney starter. One of the best grill purchases I've ever made. Just dump the coals in, wad up a piece of newspaper there in the bottom and light it. Instant fire and perfect red hot coals.

Here you can see the coals are super hot. They're Kingsford charcoal. I still like that brand the best. Some folks prefer natural lump charcoal, but I must like chemicals or something. Kingsford is what I associate with grilled foods and flavor. Yum! And, I know I'm not the only one. That's the best selling charcoal in the United States.

I let the grate heat well which is always important but especially so in cold weather, and the steaks quickly seared (or got grate marks). If the grates are cold, then meats will tend to stick, so always heat up those grill grates. You can also use Pam cooking spray to help with any sticking problems, but it's rare to have foods stick to good hot grates.

These are thinner steaks. With it being so cold out, I wanted steaks that would grill quick. The rib eyes were not real thin - about 1/2 inch thick. My favorite cut would be around 3/4 inch up to an inch. That's a good thickness for grilling steak and a nice starter cut. You have to watch thin steaks as they will be overcooked in a heartbeat, and the real thick ones are hard to nail in terms of doneness.

The meal turned out good, and my younger one got back from a swim meet just in time to eat with us. So, he got to enjoy his ribeye steak with hash browns, salad, and rolls without having to heat them back up. That's always good timing.


Elder Que said...

Thanks for the pics that you post of the PK grill. I have been considering one for a while, but since I can't see one in person, its hard to judge and see if its worth the cost. However, from your pics, it looks like it would be good for quick grilling and smoking small cuts of meat.
I noticed that there is nothing to catch the ashes. How do you deal with that?

CA said...

Hi Elder Que - Tks for visiting my barbecue blog.

I'm not sure which posts you've read, so I'll just kind of overview as I think that might help.

My Dad had a PK grill. I don't recall when he got it, but I think that was the first thing I grilled on and around age 12. So, it's over 30 years old and still works great. The only issue on that one is a broken hinge. It is on the back of the grill vs the side like the new one which is the Sportman model while Dad had Deluxe or Executive or something like that in the old PK line.

The old PK and the new one you see here are almost identical except for a slight size difference, the hinge, and the Sportsman has a shelf. If the old one had a shelf, I don't recall that. It does lift out though, so he may have just ditched that.

There is no ash catcher on the old or new PK. But, the thick aluminum burns very hot, so there's not much ash to speak of. The little bit that comes out when adjusting the vents just went on the driveway at Dad's house but on the shelf with mine. I'd say I get maybe a couple of TBS of ash dropping on a grill out. Not much but a little.

With any ash build up, the body just lifts out. So, maybe twice per grilling season (although I grill year round), the body gets dumped out around here. I generally crank it up and have the vents wide open and burn off most of the charcoal before that. Then, there's not much ash left in there.

Yes. It is great for high heat grilling. Great char marks. I do offset generally to have any area to finish off as most everyone here likes meat in the medium range.

It's also nice for smoking and will handle a Boston Butt or a small turkey or that's as large as I've gone. It holds the heat really well. The grate lifts on one side to add coals or wood. It takes a little time to get the vents worked out perfect, and it's not as easy to smoke as say the Weber dedicated Smokey Joe smoker. But, it does a nice job on smoking and is the best, in my opinion, for a combo excellent grill and solid smoker.

I say the PK outdoor cooker is definately worth the money as it is so durable. Of course, I can't for sure on this new one as it is new and not all the mileage as with the old one. I'm sure one of my siblings will eventually get the old PK as it's still a great grill after all these years.

The only thing I've ever heard on PK grills was that some of the bottom parts - the frame with legs rusted out on some older ones. People were talking about getting new stands made, but I think PK now sells replacements for those old ones. My Dad's still has the original stand and no rust though, so it must be high grade aluminum as well. The frame legs are hollow like pipes to reduce the weight on both the old and new. Wheels on one side with a handle to tilt and roll. No probs with wheels.

If you have other questions, let me know. Mom lives about a mile away, so it's easy to check the old or the new one here at my house.

PK grills were off the market for some yrs, but another man bought out the pattern and began making them again when he wanted a good, durable old style grill. I have spoken to him, and he's a nice guy.

Elder Que said...

Thanks for all the information. I think that I will be purchasing one this Spring.

CA said...

I don't think you can go wrong on a PK grill, and I am not connected in any way at all. If you have any other questions, please do feel free to ask. I will tell you straight up as best I can.

Anonymous said...

It was 17 F for me north wind at 15 mph. Then again the next night at 7 F with no wind. Did potatoes at 375 F for an hour just to see and it
worked good.
Id like to see PK make an ash tube that would line
the whole bottom with vent holes that you could lift out to dump the ash.