Tips for selecting, cooking the perfect steak for Father's Day

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Father's Day is this Sunday, and for many guys, that might mean time for a thick, juicy steak.

But the Hungry Hound says not all steaks are equal, so he's got some basic tips for the home cook this weekend.

It's a typically busy day at the Purely Meat Company on the city's far West Side. Workers trim tenderloins - those are future filet mignons being weighed - and then pack them to ship out.

They also have a massive aging room, where the meat sits for at least a month, shrinking in size but concentrating flavors. That's dry-aging. Wet aging occurs inside a sealed wrapping.

When shopping for steaks, know that there are three USDA grades: Select, Choice and Prime, the latter of which is usually only about two percent of the population, due to its higher fat content, which results from feeding cattle a diet of corn.

"Corn fed or grain-fed, corn finished. We're still seeing a lot of that," said Maribel Musillami, the President of Purely Meat Company.

In River North, Primehouse is one of the few steakhouses that maintains its own dry-aging room.

"Dry aging is basically you are using the natural enzymes and bacteria in beef to help break down the fibers, and you're basically eliminating water from that product," said Dino Tsaknis, the Chef at Primehouse.

Tsaknis ages the beef from 28 to 75 days, but prefers between 28 and 40 days. The beef has to be trimmed first, removing the tough, funky outer layer, but what's left beneath has a more concentrated flavor.

In the kitchen, he seasons the room temperature steak only with salt, searing them on a blazing grill.

"If you're gonna use your outdoor grill and you want to do something over medium rare. I recommend a hot and a cold area. This way you can get a good sear on the hot side and then move it over to the cold so it doesn't burn," he said.

After just five minutes per side, he removes the steaks and lets them rest.

"Resting is probably the key to tender and juicy beef. I recommend around ten minutes I think is ideal, and you can do what we do and put it right back on your grill to reheat before service," said Tsaknix.

So just to reiterate: Prime if you can find it, and dry-aged would be a plus cause it will have some more character more flavor more depth. When you're cooking make sure you've got a hot side and a cool side, and of course you've got to let it rest, don't be tempted to slice into it too soon. Make sure you let your steak rest at least 5 to 10 minutes.

And in Steve's "Extra Course," he talks about one of the unique desserts on the menu at Primehouse.
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In Steve's "Extra Course," he talks about one of the unique desserts on the menu at Primehouse.

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