6/13/2012 03:30:00 PM

Cook the Perfect Steak for Father’s Day with Chef James O’Donnell

One filet cooked medium rare – the order was simple, but sloppily executed. Half the steak was well done with a crispy (read, brunt) crust. Before hailing the waiter to return the inedible hunk of meat, we explored the other side, which was still pink and juicy. This sad excuse for a meal laid on out plate next to bland asparagus and processed potatoes, which got us to thinking: couldn't we do better cooking this dish at home?

We're not going to divulge where this disappointing piece of meat was served to us, however, we will tell you one restaurant in which it was not prepared: Michael Jordan’s Steak House. We sat down with the restaurant's executive chef James O’Donnell to find out how to cook the perfect steak. With Father’s Day rapidly approaching, he has some advice for how to cook dad a meal as good as – or better – than he would eat at a white-tablecloth restaurant.

This father of two has been preparing meat for decades. According to O’Donnell, it's essential to start with a quality product – dry aged USDA prime beef. Cuts from Niman Ranch, available at Whole Foods, are a safe bet, but stay away from anything that is wrapped in plastic. Instead, talk to the butcher and ask for the cut of your, or Dad’s choice, at least 2 inches thick. “It’s an indulgence, don’t look for the deal,” O’Donnell said.

At home, heat half of a grill to high and season the meat with salt and pepper – you just spent a decent chuck of change on this beef, so don’t mask the flavors with unnecessary seasonings. Put the meat on the grill and do not touch it for five minutes, before flipping it and letting it char for another five minutes. Move the steak to the cold side, close the lid and let it roast for five to ten minutes. After removing it from the grill tent the meat and let it rest for ten minutes. Finish it with a coarser salt, such as sea salt.

About that asparagus, O’Donnell says avoid it unless it is in season and can be found at a local farmers market. Instead, opt for seasonal sides such as a tomato and watermelon salad with fresh basil, olive oil and balsamic.

“There is something about relaxing and controlling your own destiny with the meat,” says O'Donnell. If you are still hesitant to take destiny in your own hands, let the chef at Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse do it for you with one of the local cuts of steak that change daily, or their special for Father's Day. The first 23 fathers to buy Michael Jordan’s favorite cut, the Delmonico, will receive a complementary signature steak knife.

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