Talk about a dynamic duo. Bryan and Michael Voltaggio are quite possibly the most recognizable contemporary culinary brothers out there. America fell in love with them as they competed for the winning title in season six of Top Chef, but they’ve come a long way in the decade since then, each earning countless accolades in their own right. But finally, after years of “will they or won’t they?”, the Voltaggio brothers teamed up to open their first joint restaurant in 2017 – Voltaggio Brothers Steak House in the MGM National Harbor. A fraternal return to their Maryland roots, the restaurant fuses their two styles and sets of expertise by presenting a playful, utterly modern spin on the classic steakhouse.
But regardless of how innovative their food is, high-quality steak that is cooked to perfection is always at the core of Voltaggio Brothers Steak House. We are thrilled that Michael and Bryan Voltaggio are sharing some of their kitchen secrets via their new Williams Sonoma exclusive line of sauces, seasonings, and rubs that are sure to up your grilling game. Of course, a great rub can only go so far if you’ve desiccated your steak. Here, they’ve also let us in on some of their top tips for how to cook the perfect steak (Hint: a quick sear may be key, but patience is the main ingredient).
What are some common mistakes home cooks make when cooking steak?
One of the most common mistakes that I see or hear about is that patience is somehow is forgotten. It starts with making sure that your grill or pan is at the proper temperature; you must have high, intense heat to get a good char on the meat.
Patience also comes into play when the steak is removed from the heat. It is always everyone’s true test to see if they can wait out the resting period. This is just as important as the cooking. The meat needs to rest to slow down the juices so that when you cut into it juices don’t run out of the meat and onto the plate or cutting board. Five to six minutes for a large cut of steak is plenty of time to wait. Stay patient and enjoy the juicy steak you worked so hard to perfect.
How do you treat steak differently if you’re searing it indoors versus grilling it outdoors?
Indoors I always use cast iron. The heat retention of the pan is so critical. In order to get a great sear on a steak you need to start with high heat; once you add the meat to the pan you need to maintain that temperature. Having a great cast iron pan will always do the trick and you can use it for countless recipes. A cast iron pan is a great investment and taken care of, will last for generations. Outdoors I love cooking with hardwood charcoal. There is nothing like the heat retention you get from the coals and the smoke flavor is much better then manufactured briquettes.
What are your favorite cuts of steak to cook?
My personal favorite is the ribeye. If you get the flavorful ribeye cap that is just about as tender as a filet mignon, yet it packs so much more flavor. Then there is the center eye that is well marbled, very juicy, and properly aged for 21 or more days is always tender.
What is your best tip for testing doneness?
The old poke and prod method is something of the past; invest in a great instant read thermometer and you can never go wrong.
How do you incorporate your rubs and sauces into making the perfect steak?
I like to season large cuts of steak (18 to 20 ounces or more) for six to eight hours, or even overnight. If I am doing this at home I place the seasoned meat on its side uncovered in the fridge. This will help with air circulation to dry the surface of the meat. Once the steak has rested with the salt you will get a more evenly seasoned result once you cook. When using salted rubs like the coffee BBQ and or the Steak Seasoning this technique works very well.
What about slicing steak – any suggestions there?
Always cut a steak against the grain of the muscle. You will get a more tender chew and the steak will lose less of the juices onto the plate or cutting board.