Beginning of summer, there are different bbq competitions all over the world. One of them is the SCA Steak Cook-Off. The idea is that different team’s hand in their best-grilled steak, and one of them is the winner. Simple enough.
If you like to participate in this kind of competitions you can need some help. I’ll give you all my tips and tricks to cook a great steak so you can have a shot at winning.
- You start with the right meat. I like to use a chuck steak because of the flavour profile. Chuck has a distinct beef flavour and enough intramuscular fat. Chuck is also a lot cheaper than most other steaks. You can use this money to buy the best chuck steak you can afford, like Black Angus or Wagyu.
- For a well-balanced flavour, you need a good dry rub. This is my SCA style dry rub:
– 1 part salt and 1 part ground black pepper. Every steak needs some salt and pepper.
– 1 part paprika powder for the colour.
– 1 part onion powder and a 1/4 part garlic powder for the umami.
– 1/8 part chilli powder for the bite.
– 1/8 part MSG. That’s the secret ingredient.
- Now you sprinkle an even layer of the rub on both sides of the steak. You can sprinkle on as much as you like, but you have to make sure that you get an equal amount of rub all over the surface.
Now you let the steak rest on a cooling rack to absorb the salt, and the dry rub can stick better. The use of a cooling rack makes sure that you don’t damage the layer of dry rub.
- While the steak is busy, you can set up your grill for 2 zone grilling. You have to use a high-quality hardwood lump charcoal because it will glow extra hot.
- Fire up the charcoal at multiple places, so you get even heat all around. When the charcoal is white-hot with a red glowing core, you can place the grill grates.
- For grilling steaks, I like to use cast-iron grill grates. They can pick up and store a lot of heat. That way, the steak can get those nice grill marks.
- Now you let the grates come up to temperature and make it non stick by using frozen pork fat. When you rub it on the grates, make sure to put it on a glove because the melting fat can give some flare-ups.
- When you are sure the grates are screaming hot, you can put the steak on. Let it sit for 20 seconds before you turn it 45 degrees to get crosswise grill marks. Then you flip it over and do the same to the other side.
- After that, the steak has got the right Maillard effect, but it’s not yet cooked to perfection. Stick a thermometer in the meat and place it on the indirect side of the grill and close the lid.
- An SCA style steak has got to have a few layers of flavour to have a chance to win. Therefore I make some herbed butter to brush the steak with. Add a lump of butter in a pan and add to that some garlic and ground black pepper. Then it needs some fresh herbs like parsley, thyme and rosemary.
- While the steak is cooking, you start brushing or splashing on the herbed butter without damaging the dry rub crust. Keep adding the herbed butter until the steak reaches a core temperature of 54°C (129F).
- When the steak reached the desired temperature, you get it off the grill and let it rest before you hand it in to be judged.
Now you know how to make an SCA style steak, you can start practising. Even if you don’t want to start competing, you eventually know how to grill a delicious steak.
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BBQ gear used
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