Neal Fraser Shares His Recipe for the Ideal Four-Ingredient Steak
“We don’t adorn a lot of things,” says the Redbird chef. That’s good advice for you, too.
You’ll never be scolded for gnawing on a bone at one of Neal Fraser’s restaurants. The chef considers it an honor when guests literally try to suck the marrow out of his grilled meats. “The ultimate compliment to me, as a chef, is when people finish dinner and pick up the bone to eat off of it, or carve off of it,” he tells InsideHook. “I’ve even had people passing a bone around a table. It just says to me that they really enjoyed their meal.”
Though Fraser’s downtown LA restaurant, Redbird, and accompanying event space, Vibiania, are more on the elegant side, there’s always an opportunity to get really into grilled meats when he’s around. For instance, at Fraser’s annual Beefsteak event, guests gussy themselves up, don an apron to avoid mess, and eat all manner of beef with only their hands.
Usually held at Vibiana, this year the event took a field trip to Alisal Ranch in Solvang, where it got the kind of upgrades that only a self-proclaimed “luxury dude ranch” could provide. “It was more or less their interpretation of our Beefsteak,” Fraser explains. “Definitely with fancier meats. But the fun is eating with your hands — meeting your neighbors and feeding your neighbors. And the fact that it could be outside, hosted on a 10,000-acre piece of land, meant people could be as loud and obnoxious as they wanted to be. It seems like a great place to raise hell and not have any consequences.”
When he’s not grilling large quantities of beef for a meaty free-for-all, Fraser’s own steak preference is a porterhouse, or even more specifically, a grilled New York steak. “We don’t have it on the menu at Redbird right now, but use it for our private events, which we do a fair amount of,” he says. “It’s my two favorite cuts — the filet and the New York steak — and anything cooked on the bone has more flavor.”
In order to get your own steak cooked to perfection like the ones Fraser prepares for his restaurant and events, follow his three key tips. First — and this is the simplest one, really — buy high-quality meat. Second, temper the steak to room temperature and use an “obscene” amount of salt to season it. Third, sear hard and make sure to let the meat rest after.
“We don’t adorn a lot of things — we like to buy prime meat and let it taste like prime meat,” Fraser says. “Sourcing great products is paramount. Restaurant meals are expensive because we source great ingredients. As for the amount of salt we add, people think it’s obscene — then they taste it and it’s perfectly seasoned. Finally, temper the meat to room temperature. And when you grill it, get that nice sear on, then let it cook to temperature, then let it rest.”
And if all this is starting to sound a little involved, well, you could always head to Redbird and let Fraser do the work himself. If you do, don’t forget to give that bone a good once over before you’re through.
For the brave at-home chefs soldiering on, check out Neal’s detailed grilled steak recipe below.
Chef Neal Fraser’s Grilled Prime New York Steak With Aged Balsamic
- Prime center cut Angus New York strip steak, 1 each
- Diamond Crystal salt
- Black peppercorns
- Aged balsamic vinegar
- For the steak: To grill a perfect steak, start out with a Prime or higher center cut 12-ounce New York strip steak with a small amount of the fat cap left on. Temper the steak to room temperature before you grill it. Season with Diamond Crystal salt. This salt is the best because it has a hollow core and larger shape, thus easier to not over-season. Iodized salt is made of much smaller grains. Season both sides of the steak with salt and cracked black pepper.
- For the grill: Heat the grill to make it hot in one area if possible. Grill both sides of the steak and cross hatch on the grill grates. Once the steak is nice and charred, move it to a cooler part of the grill. Let the steak cook slowly to desired doneness. This will be about five minutes for rare preference. Remove the steak from the grill.
- For the finish: Rest the steak for three minutes on the cut against the grain on the bias. Place the steak on a pre-warmed plate and finish with aged balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!
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