When you hear the words ‘broiler-cooked’ steak, what comes to mind? If you’re an expert in all things food you’d probably have thoughts of juicy, tender steak. But if you’re like the rest of us, you might be thinking of the similarity to the word ‘boiled’, and you might cringe.
Broiler isn’t an attractive word, but this enormous cooking device really is a wonder.
This is Chophouse Head Chef Eric Tan operating George, their affectionately named broiler. Worth a hefty $65,000 (no typos there), George the broiler is an American contraption to cook meat. George takes 40 minutes to heat up and runs at 1100 – 1400° Celsius, is fuelled by gas jets and ceramic tiles, and was the first of its kind in Australia.
What’s wrong with just using a good ol’ grill or frying pan you say? Nothing, but one taste of a broiler-cooked steak and you’ll understand its worth in a steakhouse. So what does a broiler do to cook such awesome steaks? I’ll show you…
Thanks to their Twitter competition, I won a lucky spot at Chophouse Sydney’s Meat Training & Cooking Class. Due to a late cancellation of another winner, I was able to bring my friend Pam as well.
Excited and eager, we arrived from the bright morning into the moodily lit Chophouse. The interior design features leather banquette seating, raw wood finishes and exposed surfaces, and above the bar hangs a crate housing a light feature made of real animal skulls.
As its name suggests, Chophouse specialises in various meats and cuts, including flank, striploin, and a 1.2-1.5kg+ Tomahawk – all cooked in George the broiler. Their menu also features a range of salads, seafood, and vegetarian options, but this day we are here for the beef.
The Masterclass is run by Head Chef Eric Tan and Sous Chef Stu and has two parts: the ‘theory’ and the ‘practical’. Our morning starts with a lesson in Chophouse’s background, the cuts of meat they use, and where they come from.
Chophouse’s meat is sourced from Haverick Meats, Vic’s Meat, and Andrews Meat, their free range pork is supplied by Urban Food Market, and they use Thirlmere chicken. They serve both grain and pasture fed beef, which, along with the region, is stated on their menu.
A selection of the cuts available on the Chophouse menu
Eric using Stu to demo where different cuts of meat are located
Stu took the class through each cut of meat that is used in Chophouse’s menu, as well as the different processes such as dry-aging. Some facts I found interesting were:
- The wagyu flank comes from the groin of the cow, and is marinated in dark ale to help break down the enzymes and connective tissue, making it more tender.
- Their Riverine delmonico striploin on bone is dry-aged at 3-8 degrees with a humidity setting for 4-6 weeks.
- Dry-aging removes moisture from the carcass which increases the beef flavour.
- The dry-aging process creates a mould on the surface of the meat which is removed before use. The mould crust increases flavour, but the meat colour must be carefully checked to ensure it hasn’t spoiled.
- Their T-bone has a marble score of 2 and is grain fed for 150 days.
- The free range pork are often fed on leftover whey from the cheese factory next door to the farm.
- The mighty Tomahawk (below) is pasture fed, takes around 15 minutes to cook in the broiler plus 15 minutes rest time, is recommended to be shared, and they sell around 30 per week.
Throughout the class it was evident that Chophouse prides themselves on the quality of the meat they serve. Both Eric and Stu were passionate and knowledgeable about the meat they use. Not just the final delivered product, but also the entire process of its production, from before slaughter to dry-aging.
Next we moved to the kitchen for the practical part of the class. Stu demonstrated how they prepare their striploin with precision, ensuring a consistent steak is served to their customers. Firstly, any excess fat and sinew is trimmed, and the striploin is then tightly rolled in clingfilm. The chefs minimise their waste, and the excess fat and meat is kept aside to be used for making sauces.
The wrapped striploin is then serving-size measured to a ‘secret formula’ and the clingfilm is marked at exact intervals for ease of cutting. They allow a 5% leeway in each steak’s weight, and it’s tricky but important to get right.
With our steaks cut it’s time to cook them 4 different ways: in George the broiler, a BBQ grill, a frying pan, and a frying pan and oven combo.
George’s 1100 – 1400°C gas jets
All steaks at Chophouse are cooked in George the broiler, except for the minute-steak which is cooked on the BBQ grill. First, the steaks are brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt, then they are seared on the hot plate on top of George.
Once the steaks are placed inside the broiler the intensity of the 1100 – 1400 degree temperature snaps the sinew inside the beef removing any toughness or chewiness. It takes only a few minutes to cook, and this results in an amazingly tender, juicy, evenly cooked steak.
The class cooking the rest of the steaks: pan-frying and BBQ grilling
The steaks are cooked and tested for doneness by temperature, not by timing. Each steak is tested with a meat thermometer to ensure it is cooked as ordered. For a medium-rare steak the core temperature needs to be 35°C when removing from heat, and will reach up to 44-48°C after resting. A well-done steak needs to be 65°C and this is the point where the protein coagulates.
After all our hard work was complete, it was time to taste! The steak cooked in the broiler came out on top for its tenderness and juiciness, though the BBQ grilled steak had a nice charred flavour. The pan-fried and pan-fried then oven-cooked steaks were also fantastic, but when you start with such good quality meat you can’t really go wrong (unless you cook it well-done!).
We also had a taste of their crumbed pork chop. The Esk Pastoral Free Range pork is crumbed with a mix that includes sage and hazelnuts, and served with an apple sauce. The pork was also so juicy, and I loved the crunch of the hazelnuts with the fragrant sage.
To top it all off, we were gifted with a goodie box to take home! Inside was a Chophouse stubby holder, a bar of honeycomb chocolate, a 300g Grasslands pasture-fed striploin, and a recipe for how to cook it at home.
The steak was around 1.5 inches thick, and I followed the instructions below to the second. This resulted in a rare steak with a super juicy inside and a delicious crust on the outside.
The result was better than the last post I did on oven-cooking steak. I think that is due to the outside crust which is so important for flavour and texture, the top quality meat provided by Chophouse and, of course, the great lesson by Eric and Stu.
Try it at home and let me know what you think!
8 Steps to the Perfect Steak, by Chophouse
- Take the steak out of the fridge 20 minutes prior to cooking, to bring to room temperature
- Set the oven to 200C
- Heat a thick-bottomed frying pan to hot (no oil)
- Season steak with olive oil and salt flakes
- Place the steak in the hot pan (do not add any more oil) and cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each side, turning only once
- Place pan in oven for 4 minutes. Remove steak from oven, but do not turn oven off, and rest for 8 minutes on a rack in a warm place
- Place back in oven on pan for 1 minute to reheat
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
1300 CHOP IT (1300 246 748)
25 Bligh St, Sydney
Money to Friday from 12pm
Saturday night from 6pm