Photo_ChefBrad(April2013)When it's time to serve beef at home, selection and preparation can make a big difference in the final result. Our Assistant Executive Chef at Eastside Cannery, Chef Bradley Cruz, offers some valuable tips to help you cook up a winning dinner every time.

Q: What is the most important step when selecting a cut of beef?

A: If you want to purchase the freshest cut of beef, make sure the meat is bright red with no brown marks. Dig to the bottom of the stack for the freshest meat.

Q: After a filet Mignon, what’s the best cut of beef for quality of taste?

A: After filet, a great cut is the New York Strip.

Q: How important is marbling when selecting a steak?

A: Marbling is the most important thing to look for in a good steak. Most stores have select or choice steaks - which are good. Prime is best, but few stores carry prime. The ultimate is Kobe, but you'll pay the highest. Spend a few minutes to find great marbling on select or choice cuts.

Q: What cuts of beef are the best value for the money?

A: Rib-eye steaks are best for overall value and great marbling. They are great to throw on the backyard grill.

Q: What are some good questions to ask a butcher?

A: When talking to a butcher ask about tri-tip. A good butcher will know how to cut it for grilling. It has great marbling and great value.

Q: Is there a cut of beef you would not recommend?

A: When shopping for steak, don't purchase chuck or round roast. These cuts are meant for slow cooking and are not good on an open grill.

Q: What rubs and marinades do you recommend for various types of beef?

A: One of my favorites is Montreal seasoning...especially if you're having wine or beer with your steak. Kosher salt and pepper are also good for proper seasoning.

Q: What's the best way to prepare a steak for a gas grill and for broiling in a kitchen?

A: When preparing steak for a gas grill or in the kitchen, make sure the cooking surface is very hot to sear the juices. Be sure to season right before the steak hits the fire.

Q: Is there a time frame you use to cook steaks to ensure they are the desired temperature?

A: If starting with a white hot surface, 2 minutes each side for minute more for each level of doneness. Also, be sure to let the teak rest 5 minutes before slicing.

Q: Which dish is your favorite?

A: It is barbecue season, so at my house, my favorite steak is a rib-eye over a hot mesquite fire. Happy barbecue season!

Cooking With Chef Bradley

Cajun Style Blackened Rib-Eye
Serves two adults, prep time 20 mins, cook time 10 mins.


2 16 oz Rib-Eye Steaks

6 Tbsp Peanut oil or Vegetable oil

5 Tbsp Preferred Cajun Spice (Paul Prudhomme, Zaterains, Lawrys Cajun Spice, Emerald Lagasse)

Or use this Cajun Spice Recipe:

1 Tbsp of each:

Cayenne Pepper
White Pepper
Kosher Salt

1 Tsp of each:

Dried Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Gumbo File Powder or Sassafras
Granulated Sugar

To make the Rib-Eye Steaks:

Coat Rib-Eye with oil, then season with the Cajun spice.

Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat for approximately 4 minutes, then add oil.

Place steak in skillet; note skillet should be hot enough to immediately start cooking the steak.

Let steak cook until it starts to brown, turn over, then place in a 400 degree oven for about 3.5 minutes for medium rare.

Each minute that you leave the steak in the pan, it will cook the steak to the next temperature.

Sear the steak on each side to achieve the blackened crust you desire.