Cooking steaks on granite and other stones may sound odd, but this form of cooking dates back centuries. Modern versions of cookstones often come in individual sizes, allowing each diner to customize the cooking of his steak to the perfect temperature. The heated stones are brought directly to the table, where they retain their heat long enough to cook a steak, with sauces served on the side. Grilling steaks on granite is not only a fun and festive treat for special occasions, it allows you to spend time with family and friends instead of slaving away in the kitchen.
Marinate steaks in your choice of seasonings or using a favorite recipe. Most steaks can marinate overnight unless the marinade contains an acid like vinegar or citrus, since acid can break down steak tissues and make it mealy.
Season your granite cookstone, if it's new, by washing it with dish soap and water and allowing to dry. Spread vegetable oil over the surface of the stone. If using an older cookstone, scrape any residue off the stone, then oil the surface. If desired, sprinkle a little salt on the stone prior to laying the steaks on top to help prevent sticking.
Place the granite stone onto the center rack in a cool oven, then turn the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat the stone for around 20 to 30 minutes, until a few drops of water on top sizzle and evaporate instantly.
Prepare sauces to accompany the steaks and place into small or individual-sized serving bowls. You can use prepared steak sauce or create your own combinations, using yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, tomato juice, barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce and your choice of seasonings.
Remove the stone from the oven carefully using thick oven mitts. Set the stone on top of a table on a heatproof base, such as a trivet. Stones will retain heat for up to 30 minutes.
Place the steak on top of the stone and let it cook for 5 minutes on each side, or to your desired level of doneness. Use a spatula to flip the steak over when the first side is evenly browned. If you're using more than one steak, place them about 1 inch apart. Bone-in steaks will need to cook a little longer than boneless.
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- If you can't find a granite cookstone, substitute slate, marble or basalt.
- Granite cookstones can also be heated on a grill. Follow the operating instructions for your type of grill, then heat the stone, and lay the steak on top.
- Steaks sliced to 1/2 inch or thinner will cook faster and more easily. For best results, use thin steak medallions similar to what you'd use in fondue.
- Never place cold granite on a hot grill or in a hot oven, which can cause it to crack or buckle. Likewise, avoid sudden changes in temperature after the stone has been placed in the oven or on the grill.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends cooking steak to a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent foodborne illness, allowing the steak to rest for 3 minutes after cooking.
Bonnie Singleton has been writing professionally since 1996. She has written for various newspapers and magazines including "The Washington Times" and "Woman's World." She also wrote for the BBC-TV news magazine "From Washington" and worked for Discovery Channel online for more than a decade. Singleton holds a master's degree in musicology from Florida State University and is a member of the American Independent Writers.