This past Father's Day, I wanted to make my dad a meal fit for a king. I wanted to spend some quality time with my parents, so we had them over to our home for a Father's Day lunch. I asked my dad what he would like for lunch, and he said steak, loaded baked potatoes and some kind of dessert so long as it had ice cream.
While many families were going out to eat, and spending quite a bit of money at restaurants, I decided to go in the opposite route. If you already read my Baller on a Budget articles, you'll know that I like to see how much I can get for the least amount of money, while still maintaining high quality.
Where do I shop?
I am a big fan of shopping at smaller grocers, such as Aldi and Save-A-Lot. Many people think these grocery stores are "discount" chains, and have sub-par offerings. In fact, they do not. What they do is focus on smaller stores while focusing on their own house brands and only offering single options for each item you are looking for. Do you really need 20 brands of ketchups to choose from? No. Do you need 32 brands of pasta? No.
Quality is quite high for these stores. Aldi's house brands, meats and cheese are top notch. Save-A-Lot has excellent produce and meats. I often combine trips to both stores to maximize savings. Thankfully, I live one block from the Save-A-Lot, and about a mile from the Aldi. There is also a Wal-Mart Superstore between both of the stores that I use when neither store has what I am looking for.
I try to avoid overly expensive stores such as Publix, Whole Foods and Lucky's. I like the prices of Winn Dixie and their new store Fresco Y Mas, but I refuse to shop at stores that force you to sign up for a "loyalty" card in order to get the better prices.
Save-A-Lot had T-bone steaks on sale this week for Father's Day. Score! My dad was talking about T-Bones the last time we were at a steakhouse. For the rest of us, I chose ribeye steaks. I grabbed a bag of baking potatoes and a few other items and was on my way. Earlier in the week we were at Aldi noticed they had avocado oil sitting next to the olive oil, so I decided try some out and bought a bottle.
The smoked salts, that I will mention using, were purchased at a local spice and tea shop. I really enjoy cooking with smoked seasonings. The tellicherry pepper I use is the same thing as regular black peppercorns, except they are larger. The larger size of the peppercorns loses some of the heat, but adds in a larger more fragrant aroma to your cooking. You can pick up a grinder of these at nearly any grocery store. The champagne vinaigrette dressing we got at Wal-Mart.
Everyone is an expert on steaks. Everyone has their own opinions and methods of how to cook the perfect steak. My opinion is no different from any other method(s). In fact, I usually just try other ideas every time I cook one so that I can formulate my own opinion and learn from them. The method I decided to try today was a quick and simple method I had not tried before.
I started by taking the steaks out of the refrigerator an hour before I was ready to cook them. I want to bring them down to room temperature before cooking.
There is a multitude of opinions on when to season your steak. This is the method I used on this occasion. I coated both sides of the steaks in avocado oil (you can use olive oil for the exact same effect). The oil helps the seasonings stick better, and it helps it brown nicely (crust) when you sear it later on. I then sprinkled a generous amount of smoked alderwood salt and tellicherry pepper on it.
Cooking the steaks was very simple and easy. Do not over complicate steaks with tons of methods you read about or see on TV. It is just seasoning it how you want it and then heating it up to the right temperature and doneness to your liking. That is it.
Your only goal is to not overcook it. Otherwise, do whatever you want to them. There is no wrong way to cook steaks if you like how they turned out.
I take that back. Do not put steak sauce on a good cut of meat. Ever. The actual taste of beef, and what you season it with, are more than enough to create one of the best meat flavors out there. Covering it all up with sauce is an insult to the cow that the steak came from. Please do not sauce your steaks! Enjoy the taste of the meat and your seasoning choices.
I heated my grill up to around 500*F, put the steaks on and closed the lid. The method I was following said to leave it on for 2 minutes. Do not check them. Do not touch them. Do not flip them. Just let them sear for 2 solid minutes. Once 2 minutes is up, flip them and sear the other side for exactly 2 minutes.
After searing them on the grill, I put them on a baking sheet, put two small pats of butter on each steak and put them into the oven at 425*F for 5 minutes. I chose this temperature because it is what it was already at when I took the baked potatoes out. I employ the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid!
After 5 minutes, I took them out and covered the entire baking sheet with aluminum foil to let the steaks rest for a few minutes.
The T-bone was a good inch+ thick, and came out medium.
The ribeyes were a little thinner and came out medium well.
What I learned was I would have cooked them a couple of minutes less in the oven to keep them slightly more rare.
There is not much to baking a potato. I preheated my oven to 425*F.
I first washed and dried the potatoes. I then slathered them in avocado oil (you can use olive oil for the exact same effect), and coated them with hickory smoked salt and tellicherry pepper. Using a knife, I cut slits in the tops of each potato to help them breath while cooking.
I then baked them for 1 hour.
After baking, I cut mine in half, chopped up the middle, and covered it in butter, cheese, bacon and sour cream and some Texas Pete's hot sauce.
The rest of the food
Salads are self-explanatory. The cornbread muffins, ice cream and pecan pie was store bought and on sale for much cheaper than I could make them, so I just got those. The point of this meal was eating like a king on a budget, not necessarily making it 100% from scratch.