The Techniques to manage it correctly on Grill
Into the overall and varied panorama of cooking achievable through the thousand facets of cooking that characterize the world barbecue, although few will be inclined to admit it really, I can say that the classic steak is still that area of comfort that universally unites all of us, who more who less. A steak does not need complex seasoning or particularly creative recipes, it is not necessary to have attended the selections to Masterchef in order to think about dealing with it. A steak is a dish that is still very much linked to the quality of the starting raw material, which therefore allows you to make a good impression and earn points compared to your standard cooking methods just if you decide to invest something more than usual. A steak is a preparation on which everyone of us have already tried once in a lifetime, on which we can rely on a historical even by the less navigated grillers. The steak can be eaten almost raw without this being considered an error by the common thought, it’s just enough to not venture into strange managing of times: just a searing and go on, and no one can argue. However, every paradise has its poisoned apple. The apple in the steak’s paradise is Fiorentina.
If everything we have said up above can be easily undermined through the application of the most common and correct cooking principles on grilling, learned in the many courses available on the market today, for Fiorentina the doubt does not arise either: a cooking that does not is based on appropriate technical principles inevitably leads to unsatisfactory results. The main reason is due to its great lack of homogeneity. Think about it: a Fiorentina is essentially composed of an inverted “T” bone that divides the sirloin from the fillet. In section, the former has a generally elongated shape whereas the cylindrical shape of the second, is more fat and tasty, has a larger mass. Let’s add that the bone covers and protects both only by one side, exposing the other to heat. It creates at least four (but realistically up to 5 or 6, depending on the shape) areas that will behave differently when subjected to the same heat. And yet they all are supposed to come to the table at the same degree of cooking, homogeneously from the first bite to the last, warm and not cold but not too cooked. In short, a mess. Complicated also by the fact that along the animal the characteristics and proportions between the two parts change, giving different Fiorentines depending on the height of the loin from which it is taken, so as to bring the Americans to distinguish what we call universally “Fiorentina” in T-Bone and Porterhouse.
Precisely this objective anatomical complication is the basis of the birth of all the magic formulas of which popular beliefs are populated in this regard, of which perhaps the best known is the 5+5+5 (no, it is not an excerpt from the “coach in the Ball” – famous italian comic movie about soccer where 5+5+5 was an impossible play scheme -, means 5 minutes per side plus a further 5 standing on the bone), then declined in infinite variations, from 7+7+3 to 3+3+10. Anyone who has been grilling for more than an hour, is well able to understand how banal and insignificant are the cooking indications that in 2018 still insist on proposing instructions based on cooking times. The only reliable and objective parameter about the degree of cooking is the core temperature, everybody of us know that. But in a body that presents so many different critical zones, which temperatures should we base on? There is no universal rules but I can tell you about the method I use.
I know how it works, I know very well that some topics in our country are particularly delicate to deal with and Fiorentina is certainly one of them. It is therefore necessary in my opinion, to specify appropriate disclaimers before starting:
- Fiorentina is a regional (and national) dish of which the Tuscans are justifiably proud of but with all due respect it is also the name of an anatomical cut of the bovine which is its main ingredient. In this post we are not talking about how to cook the “Fiorentina Style Steak” but we only recommend how to manage the cooking of the fiorentina’s cut on the grill.
- There are many integrative techniques that can assist the cooking of Fiorentina (Reverse Searing, Dry Brining, etc.) but do not constitute the object of this post. Here we want to talk only about heat management and temperatures, in a transversal (or if you want, integrative) way to them.
Now we can start and we will do it from the following fixed points:
- The Florentines, half a centimeter thick, can not be seen. It is generally used in this measure by unskilled grillers because it is believed that this helps in the search for the homogeneity of cooking that was described above. The reality is that it ends up distorting the dish, making it difficult to reach an optimal internal temperature. The object of the cooking we are going to describe is a Florentine with a thickness of at least two fingers and a minimum weight of 1 kg.
- We create a two-zone cooking set up with a high heat intensity. So hard coal brought to full combustion and placed on only one half of the brazier or all the burners top high lit but one for gas appliances.
- We define in the Florentine body three points on which to constantly measure the temperature: 1. The tip of the sirloin furthest from the bone 2. The inner part of the “L” formed by the fillet close to the bone 3. The inner part of the “L “formed by the Sirloin close to the bone. Depending on the shape of the Fiorentina, the breed, the marbling, the thickness, the maturation and a thousand other factors the proportion of the growth of the three temperatures will have a different trend. Probably, however, in most cases, we will have, at the same exposure to heat, a higher temperature increase in point 1, followed by that of point 2 and lastly that of point 3.
- It will generally be a direct cooking with open lid but we will intervene other factors such as adding the lid or even moving in indirect cooking by accurately assessing the relationship between the level of external cauterization and the growth of the internal temperature
- As usual, the good griller must be able to transform the difficulties he faces in his own allies. We had already seen him talking about the Stall. In this case the bone can be an anchor to the growth of the internal temperature or a means by which to convey heat starting from the inside depending on how we will urge it to heat. We will have to learn how to exploit it.
Let’s see now how to proceed:
- Initially we place our Fiorentina in the middle of the cooking zone, urging in equal measure all the critical areas. With the tip of the tong gently raise the first exposed side until you reach the desired level of cautery (don’t consider the temperature at the moment), then turn and repeat the operation on the other side
- This is the time to start measuring the temperature of the three points. It is possible that on a Porterhouse the three coincide but generally it is not so. If it should happen and a few degrees are missing to the target temperature, add the lid, if more degrees are missing, move the Fiorentina to Indirect.
- If point 1 is close to the target and the other 2 quite evenly far, move the Fiorentina with the tip at the edge of the embers. If (as you most likely) you will have a temperature going down from point 1 to point 3, place the Fiorentina on the bone and close the lid. The particular shape of the bone will transmit the heat to the heart of the Fillet and of the Sirloin in an unequal manner, in a more vehement way to the second and more gentle to the first. You will see that during the minutes the two temperatures will tend to conform. With a bit of experience you will learn to manage the moment when it is more correct to move Fiorentina.
- Now it’s time to move to the grill and start making a Fiorentina at its best. Leave a dish in hot water for a while, in the meantime let your Fiorentina stand in the oven for a few minutes. Separate fillet and sirloin from the bone, cut both into slices. Dry off the dish and immediately place the bone in the middle, repositioning the slices of tenderloin and sirloin next to the bone. With the back of the knife slightly incline the slices, sprinkle some flakes of smoked Maldon salt on the surface and if you like, a drizzle of high quality extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Your old way of cooking Fiorentina will seem just like a memory.