A match made in heaven: Him and her, surf and turf. It’s always hotter on the grill.
What originated as a day of liturgical celebration honoring an early Christian saints named Valentinus has evolved for many people into 24 hours of a panic-stricken, pressure-packed, romance-forced frenzy. We are called upon to purchase (or worse yet, write) sappy love cards, allocate hundreds of dollars for exotic flowers (that will surely wilt within days) and offer sparkly fashion accessories (did I say hundreds of dollars – I meant thousands). Then there’s the wine and chocolates (actually, I have no complaints about wine or chocolate – that’s money well invested). Oh, and don’t forget about reservations at that new (pretentious and over-hyped) restaurant in town (serving $10 beers, $20 plates of lettuce and $50 steaks small enough to be considered an appetizer at your backyard barbeque). I just love Valentine’s Day.
That said, I will be of zero assistance in floral arrangement selection or overly emotional, lovey-dovey card recommendations. I am here to slowly walk you through an absolutely incredible date night meal. With a minor amount of forethought, your loved one’s most appreciated Valentine’s Day will be the Valentine’s Day you spend grilling out—and saving a small fortune in the process.
Not only is this dish a sure-fire winner, but only elementary skill is required in preparation, and the true key to execution is keeping your hands on your wine glass and letting the grill do all the work!
This surf and turf recipe begins with a hearty, homemade dry rub massaged into all portions of two New York strip steaks. The gorgeous cuts of well-marbled red meat are then wrapped tightly in plastic and chilled for 1-4 hours. After ensuring the grill is searing hot and the grates well oiled, the steaks are charred 4 minutes per side over direct heat, then moved to indirect heat where they roast until the desired internal temperature is achieved. Meanwhile, the Jonah Crab claws are dropped in a roasting pan of beer and bold seasonings, boiling over the grill. The sweet, flaky and tender portions of claw meat steam to perfection within 10 minutes. Both the steaks and crab are removed from the grill simultaneously, then seasoned additionally to taste, sliced, cracked and devoured.
This meal will go from grill grates to your date’s plate in less than 45 minutes, leaving plenty of time in your evening to enjoy the rest of your romantic plans.
Finally, a few basic date night tips for grilling out on Valentine’s Day:
- Plan ahead. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, a little planning the night before goes a long way. Grind and mix the dry rub, prepare simple appetizers or snacks, and check the propane in the tank.
- If you’re serving meat for date night, visit a butcher and spend a few extra bucks on a quality cut of protein. Skip USDA Select on Valentine’s Day and go for USDA Choice or Prime cuts.
- Turn off the television, computers and cell phone. Turn on the music. Preheat your grill.
- I love to have a couple of light, finger-food appetizers prepared and a great bottle of wine poured while we enjoy cooking together, sharing a few laughs and awaiting our meal.
- Know how your date prefers his or her meat prepared and use a digital probe thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked correctly. Insert the thermometer into the thickest portion of the meat and remove the meat from the grill when it reaches the appropriate internal temperature.
Medium Rare: 140°F plus 5 minutes of resting time under a tin foil tent after removing from the grill.
Medium: 150°F plus 5 minutes of resting time under a tin foil tent after removing from the grill.
Medium-Well: 165°F plus 5 minutes of resting time under a tin foil tent after removing from the grill.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground thyme, plus additional to garnish
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 New York strip steaks, 2 inches thick
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for basting
- 1 teaspoon butter, as topping
- Flat leaf parsley, to garnish
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups beer (I used a craft-brewed American IPA)
- 1/3 cup Old Bay seafood seasoning
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
- Kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste
- 3 pounds Jonah Crab claws
- Whisk together the sugar, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and corn starch in a small bowl.
- Trim excess fat from the steaks, pat dry, and liberally apply the dry rub to all portions of the meat.
- Wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
- Twenty minutes prior to grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator, resting the meat until it's near room temperature.
- Meanwhile, preheat the grill to high for indirect grilling, leaving one side of the grill off. Generously brush the grates with olive oil.
- Sear the steaks for 4 minutes per side.
- Move the steaks to the unlit part of the grill, cooking until the desired internal temperature is reached, basting intermittently with olive oil and flipping every 5-10 minutes with tongs.
- Remove the steaks from the grill and tent under tin foil for 5 minutes, allowing the meat to reabsorb its juices.
- To serve, top with light dollop of butter, additional seasoning to taste, and parsley to garnish.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Place a heavy roasting pan over the grill grates and add the water, vinegar, beer, Old Bay, brown sugar, olive oil, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a raging boil.
- Slowly add the crab claws to roasting pan and cover the grill lid.
- Stirring intermittently, steam the crabs for 15-20 minutes or until just heated through.
- Remove the claws to a serving platter, season additionally with Old Bay, salt and pepper.
- Serve hot.