Thursday, October 11, 2018

Competition-ish Style Ribeye Steak on a PKGrill

[FTC Disclaimer]  We have a professional relationship with Certified Angus Beef® Brand, but this is not a sponsored post.  We did receive a discount on the PK Grill, but the same discount was available to all SCA members.

I am so excited that Alexis bought me a PK Grill for my birthday.

Review of the PK Grill that I got for my birthday.

We have wanted a PK Grill for many years.  They are legendary for their durability, simplicity, and effectiveness.  But I already have so many other grills and smokers (had gotten down to 13 of them) that it was hard to justify getting one.  Several things changed my mind over the summer.
  • Alexis and I became certified judges for the Steak Cookoff Association, and the PK Grill is one of the most commonly used cookers on that circuit.  In fact, it is THE official grill of the SCA.
  • Our friend, Josh Tahan of True Craft BBQ got his this Summer, so I had "grill peer pressure" to get one.  I mean, all the cool kids are getting them...
  • Most importantly, members of the Steak Cookoff Association recently got a major discount on a PK Grill, which saved me about $180.

My first impressions are that the PK Grill is built like a tank but performs like a sports car!

PK Grills are tough and long lasting.

The PK Grill has a reputation for being tough and long-lasting.
  • The design is minimal with few moving parts, so there isn't a lot to go wrong.
  • The two cast aluminum shells are lightweight but robust.  If you hit it with a baseball bat, I think your bat will be damaged as much or more than the grill.
  • Because they are aluminum, they can't rust.

Here are my initial thoughts of the PK Grill.
The design is simple - it doesn't even use a barrel hinge, the two shells just hook together.  The lid rotates back in the grooved notches that you see here.  
The airflow is maintained by 4 simple slide vents - again, minimalistic so not much can go wrong.  At the same time, it works amazingly well.
I am a big believer in Kick Ash Baskets, so I got the charcoal basket option.  It makes it easy to maintain a low and slow indirect heat for roasting or BBQ.  It also is useful as a charcoal reducer when you are just grilling a small amount of food.  It is heavy duty and well built, feels like it will last a long time.

The standard grate flips up to add fuel or smoking wood.

The ash that falls through the bottom two vents falls into collecting troughs on each side of the cart.  It's not the easiest to clean out, but it fits their model of simple and effective.   

The thermometer is a Tel-Tru, and you have to drill the mounting hole yourself.  It took me less than a minute to install it, just had to drill a 1/4" hole.  Tel-Tru thermometers enjoy a fantastic reputation in the grilling world for quality and accuracy.

Grilling ribeye steaks on a PK Grill
The Durabilium shelf looks stylish and feels rugged.  

One of the major reasons that we bought a PK Grill was for being on the go, so we got the PKTX folding stand.  It has sturdy wheels to get your PK Grills around, whether that is just across your backyard or at an SCA contest site.

The PK Grill is the best portable grill that I have used.
The PKTX Folding stand rocks. You can convert the grill like this in just a few seconds without any tools.  It has 6 bungee attachments so you can strap it down.  
GrillGrates make any grill a better grill.
Of course, we opted for the "wall-to-wall" GrillGrates upgrade.  I think these are one of the best upgrades you can do for any grills.  Sure it minimizes flare-ups and lays down killer grill marks, but it also maximizes the infrared heat from your grill.

We've kicked the tires, let's light the fires!  I like to use lump charcoal in my PK Grills and light it in 6-8 places with a MAPpro torch to get the party started.
I'm a relative newbie to the Steak Cookoff Association, but I've seen enough to start dabbling.  I started out by becoming a judge to learn the flavor profiles and to see what's coming across the table.  This is what I do for now, but I'm sure this process will evolve over the year.

The #BestAngusBeef is Certified Angus Beef and I get ours at Food CIty.
I had a pair of pretty Certified Angus Beef® ribeye steaks from my Food City.  Steaks at an SCA competition are supposed to be 1 1/4-thick, so that's what I like to use for practice.  If I'm not happy with what I find in the meat case, their butchers are always willing to cut just what I need.  

How to grill competition style ribeye steaks on a charcoal grill.  Start with Certified Angus Beef! #steakholder.
I gave the ribeyes the competition trim, which means trimming off the lip, cleaning up around the edges, and tying them off.

Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steaks from Food City dry brining.
Then I pat the steaks down and lightly oil the ribeyes with a high temperature cooking oil, usually peanut oil.  Then I season them with finely ground NMT Umami Steak Seasoning recipe and let them sit out for about an hour.  This acts as a dry brine, pulling flavored moisture back into the steak.

Ribeyes and a chuck eye steak grilling on the PK Grill.
These two ribeyes and a chuck eye for Ramsay were our inaugural run on the PK Grill.

I've had some practice with competition still steaks lately.

Certified Angus Beef Brand ribeye steak on a kamado grill with Craycort Cast Iron Grates
But don't think I've quit cooking on kamado grills.  They will always be my "if I could only have one grill" grill.  Here's a competition style ribeye that I cooked on a large Big Green Egg with Craycort cast iron grates.  

Two great tastes go together - Certified Angus Beef ribeye steak with a Knob Creek bourbon and coke.
A Bourbon and Coke counts as a "side," right?

If you haven't checked out the Steak Cookoff Association, you should.  Their contests are easier to get into because you don't need as much equipment, they cost way less to compete, and they require less than half the time of a 4 meat BBQ contest.  You can find contests and judging opportunities at their website.