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Warm up to Winter Grilling

Do you enjoy the flavor of steak hot off the backyard grill--even when the seasons change?

If so, you're not alone. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 60 percent of grill owners cook out all year long, even during the winter months.

"More Americans want to grill year-round," said Kent Harrison, spokesperson for Sterling Silver Premium Meats. "They know grilling gives beef a great flavor, and they want to savor that distinctive taste at mealtime."

Pete Geoghegan, corporate chef with Sterling Silver Premium Meats, said winter grilling doesn't require much modification from your summer grilling routine. He recommends a couple of variations--and a jacket.

"If you're using a rub on your meat, throw in a little more 'heat' by adding some dried, spicy chili peppers to your seasoning blend to spice things up," he said. "And don't forget the side dishes with roasted root vegetables--carrots, parsnips, turnips or potatoes--that are plentiful in winter. Wrap them up in aluminum foil with just a little butter, salt and pepper, and cook them along with your steaks. You'll have a complete meal."

To get in and out of the cold quickly, Geoghegan recommends dishes that require minimal grilling. A recipe like Sterling Silver Rib Eye Steaks With Shoestring Fries has a cooking time of 8 to 12 minutes. If you just don't want to brave the elements but still crave steak, try Sterling Silver Herb Mustard Steak, which can easily be prepared indoors on the stove.

The one thing most cooking enthusiasts agree on is that great outdoor grilling, any time of the year, begins with high-quality meat.

"When choosing premium beef, look for cuts that have a rich, red color, firm texture and robust marbling," Geoghegan said.

For information on beef shopping and more recipe and menu ideas, visit www.beefquiz.com.

Herb Mustard Steaks

2 to 4 Sterling Silver Top Sirloin Steaks
Herb Mustard
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

In glass measure, combine garlic and water; microwave 30 seconds on high. Stir in remaining mustard ingredients; spread onto both sides of steaks. On the grill: Place steaks on grill over medium heat. Season steaks with salt, as desired. Cook 13 to 16 minutes (for 3/4-inch-thick steaks) or 17 to 21 minutes (for 1-inch-thick steaks) until internal temperature reaches 160°F. In the oven: Place steaks on broiler pan, and place pan in the lower portion of the oven. Broil steaks on high, turning once, until they reach an internal temperature of 160°F. Serve steaks with roasted vegetables and rice pilaf. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe and photo courtesy of National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

Rib Eye Steaks With Shoestring Fries

1 1/2 pounds Sterling Silver rib eye steaks
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
Shoestring Fries
Cooking spray
2 medium potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into shoestrings
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. For steaks, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic and Worcestershire sauce in large glass dish. Place steaks in dish; turn to coat with marinade. Let steaks marinate 10 to 20 minutes, turning once. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425°F. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray. For fries, toss together potatoes, oil and salt in bowl. Arrange potatoes in single layer on baking sheets. Bake until potatoes are crisp and edges turn golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Grill steaks to desired doneness, 8 to 12 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness. Serve shoestring fries on top of steaks. Cooking Tip: Using a mandolin to slice potatoes is quick and easy. You can prepare the fries up to four hours ahead; to prevent browning, place shoestring fries in bowl of cold water in refrigerator until ready to use, then pat them dry with paper towels.

Perini Ranch Steak Rub

1 tablespoon cornstarch or flour
2 tablespoons salt
4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon granulated beef stock base

Mix seasoning ingredients together. Either sprinkle or rub into meat. Recipe courtesy of Perini Ranch, Buffalo Gap, Texas.

You can still cook outside during wintertime, but keep safety in mind before you fire up the grill. Leslie Wheeler, spokesperson for the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, offers some basic safety guidelines for homeowners to follow when grilling outside during the winter months. Consider these tips:

1. Allow a minimum of 10 feet of space between the grill and your home.

2. Inspect gas lines, burners and the interior lid of your grill, and remove any debris.

3. Don't allow oil and fat to build up inside your grill; the accumulation could cause a flare-up the next time you cook.

4. Make sure your grill cools completely before it's covered and stored away.

5. Never leave your grill unattended.

Date: 2/19/07


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