You may never play like a legendary athlete, but at least you can grill like one. To help up your game, we asked James O’Donnell, executive chef at Michael Jordan’s Steak House in Chicago, to give us his best tips for grilling a steak worthy of MJ’s name.
Buy a great steak
Ask for a “dry-age” USDA prime steak. Dry-age steaks are just that, aged in a dry atmosphere, where the moisture evaporates and concentrates the flavors. Get a steak that’s about 2 inches thick. O’Donnell prefers a large (around 30 ounces to serve several people) bone-in rib-eye, which has a lot of marbling that results in a lot of flavor. “Plus, it’s a manly looking steak,” he says.
Pull out of fridge 90 minutes before cooking
Bringing the steak to room temperature will allow it to cook at an even temperature and get a nice medium rare throughout.
And O’Donnell means “liberally.” Pat dry and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil over the salt and pepper.
Get the grill as hot as possible and place the steak. Leave unattended for 6 minutes. Don’t fiddle with it. Flip, cook unattended 6 more minutes. Flip, shut off the grill and let the steak roast in the covered grill for 6 more minutes.
Put steak on cutting board and walk away for 10 minutes
At this point the “juices in the hot steak are running around like wild,” he says. It’s important to give them time to redistribute in the fibers. If a steak doesn’t rest, “you’ll end up with a plate full of pink liquid,” O’Donnell says.