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I've recently been making a parmesan crust for my steaks, the recipe I'm using calls for olive oil on the steak itself, before cooking. It works well for the crust, but its hard on the grill, cause the oil starts an oil fire, which chars the steak quicker than I'd like, giving us tougher meat.

I'm thinking of substituting the olive oil with honey, still allowing the parmesan crust to stick, and add a little flavor, but avoiding that oil-based flame from charring my steaks.

Any suggestions to any other ingredients, or cautions against using honey?

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This sounds strange. Olive oil doesn't help the crust to stick, it prevents sticking. And sugar (so likely honey too) burns at lower temperatures than oil (I am talking about ignition point here, not smoke point). I think that leaving it completely out is a better idea. –  rumtscho Dec 5 '11 at 18:14
1  
Olive oil is kind of a strange choice for using on the grill, too, given its low smoke point. Surely all the flavor in the oil will be destroyed, so you might as well have used a plainer oil? –  Jefromi Dec 5 '11 at 19:08
    
Yeah I thought so too, but that's what the recipe called for. –  Brian Deragon Dec 5 '11 at 22:09
    
Maybe the recipe meant refined olive oil, not EVOO, which has a much higher smoke point. –  derobert Dec 6 '11 at 23:31

1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you're trying to avoid char, then switching to honey or any sugar is probably in the wrong direction. Sugar burns...quick.

I'd recommend three things overall specific to this crust:

  1. Use less oil. If your oil is dripping off in buckets and causing significant fires - you've got too much. Just try a light brushing on the meat.

  2. Use a different oil. EVOO isn't recommended for grilling mostly because of it burning at lower temps. It turns black, kinda nasty, and loses all its good flavor if it goes too long, too high. You can try extra light olive oil or really just a more standard canola or peanut oil.

  3. Use the lid on your grill. A real fire in your grill consumes oxygen fast. If you leave the lid off, it can burn for much longer. With the lid on, fires are much much shorter. I'm an avid fan of grilling with the lid on and I never knew why people complained of flair ups till I did something with the lid off, its a lot worse for flair ups.

A general steak tip, especially for something like this with a crust - make sure your steaks are at room temperature before they go on the grill. If you're starting with a cold steak, you're going to have to grill it longer and there's a much greater risk to burn the crust.

Also, consider a quick sear on each side over direct heat till your crust gets the color you want, and then move it off to indirect heat to finish.

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