Red Meat Recipes: Halfsies

With 13.7 million Americans participating every year, hunting is making a big comeback. Here are some great recipes for your latest take.

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You should never be afraid or unwilling to cut meat in half. Knowing how well the meat is done in the center must take priority over the meat’s unblemished presentation. A meat thermometer would do the trick too, if you have one. But truth be told, I enjoy cutting meat in half.

My halfsies technique is ideal for hefty cuts of tender meat that you start cooking and then suddenly freak out about overcooking. But halfsies can also be your plan from the get-go. It’s a technique that allows you to slow the pace when necessary, and then speed it up when it’s time to eat. And it works in any steak cooking context, be it grill, broiler, or pan. With halfsies, the meat will be perfectly done, exactly when you want it to be, and already be cut into pieces.

Start with a steak, ideally one that’s at least two inches thick. I cook with a lot of wild game cuts that are often mound or tube-shaped, but most any shape will work. Rub the meat with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or use any other marinade or rub you wish). Place the meat in your cooking context—pan, grill, or broiler—on low/medium heat. When the meat looks done on the outside, cut it in half.

Inspect the cut side for doneness. After the first cut it should be mostly raw red inside surrounded by a thin browned crust like a piece of seared tuna. Place the two cut sides facing the heat. When the raw, cut sides appear cooked, cut each piece in half again, checking the cut sides for doneness, and orienting them so the four cut sides all face the heat. Repeat as necessary.

With each cut, the revealed flesh will progressively change from dark red to pink. When the cuts reveal meat that’s almost done to your liking all the way through, remove from heat. It will continue to cook until you eat it, so it’s important to remove the meat a hair early.

The halfsies technique is ideal for situations where you’re alone or with guests who are comfortable around each other and beyond any pretense of fanciness. In fact, it’s often employed while standing around a grill, or pan, with a glass of wine in one hand and a jar of your favorite steak sauce on the counter. All the cutting creates many opportunities for sampling the goods, when the meat is both perfectly done and perfectly hot.

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