Labor Day grilling: 5 tips for a top steak from Gun Lake Casino’s top chef

Allegan County

WAYLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The unofficial end of summer is here, but it’s not too late to grill up restaurant-quality meat.

If you’re planning on firing up your grill this Labor Day weekend, Gun Lake Casino executive chef Josef Huber is here to help with these five tips:

Buy choice or prime quality meat. These higher quality grades have more even fat distribution, or marbling, leading to a more tender, juicy flavorful meat when cooked.

Use meat that’s aged 21-28 days. Huber says if it’s not labeled, ask your butcher how old the meat is. Younger meat can be wrapped in Cryovac and stored for one to two weeks before cooking. The aging breaks down meat fibers, tenderizing the meat and building beefy, savory flavors inside. “You’re going to have a whole different kind of experience,” he said.

Cook at high temperatures. This is why Gun Lake Casino’s new industrial kitchen is equipped with 1,600-degree ovens. A hotter grill creates a crust on the meat that seals in the juices, Huber says.

Let it rest. After cooked meat comes off the grill, let it rest about five minutes, then flip it and rest another five minutes before cutting into it. Gravity helps juice collected on the bottom side of the meat run back through to the other side and not out onto your plate or cutting board the moment you cut into your meat.
“You can make almost a great difference the way it has a mouthfeel to it,” Huber said.

Undercook steak to a half a degree. “You can always put it back on the grill. But an overcooked steak is called pot roast, and it’s just not the same anymore,” Huber explained.

ABOUT THE CHEF

(Gun Lake Casino executive chef Josef Huber examines CBK burgers ready for pickup.)

Huber came to Gun Lake Casino in March with a 40-year culinary career spanning the globe.

He worked in high-end hotels and resorts in Florida, California, New York, Connecticut and Hawaii, as well as South Africa, Asia, the British Virgin Islands and Europe, including near his homeland of Salzburg, Austria.

“When you imagine where the ‘Sound of Music’ was made, this is where I grew up. When you look out from my mom’s kitchen window, you actually look at some of those hills this movie was filmed on,” he said.

Huber’s resume also includes many familiar Grand Rapids venues.

“I developed all the menus in restaurants of the Amway (Grand Plaza Hotel), the JW (Marriott), the Courtyard (by Marriott hotel). I opened up DeVos Place Convention Center, I opened up the arts center- the Grand Rapids Art Museum, I opened up the Van Andel Institute, the Michigan (State) University right up there on Medical Mile, DeVos Children’s Hospital,” he said.

“So yeah, a little bit of everything. And COVID came along and now I’m here at Gun Lake and I’m absolutely loving it here, every single minute,” he added.

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