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The Perfect Steak — Chef David Morris’ Top Tips

Robard’s Steakhouse Chef, David Morris, rides his Harley Davidson to work each day in what he calls, “The Sherwood Forest.” After spending several years in the desert landscape in Scottsdale, Arizona, putting The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort on the top-ranked culinary map as Executive Chef, we can understand why.


Pull the meat out of the fridge and let it counter-sit for the day. This is called “tempering the meat,” which allows your steak to cook more evenly—so the inside heats up, while the outside chars. For thin meats, Morris recommends a 2-3-hour outing, but for thicker cuts, about 6 hours should do the trick.


When it comes to seasoning your steak, Morris suggests you make his “mud,” by mixing in a small bowl:

  • your seasoned large rock salt of choice
  • fresh mill-cracked pepper
  • olive oil

Then, generously “schmutz and schmear the Morris Mud,” over the meat.


Fire up the grill about 1.5 hours before cooking your meats. One of the biggest amateur steak grilling mistakes is putting a too-cold-steak on a not-hot-enough grill. 500-600 degrees is where the great steak action is at.


It’s important to grill every part of the steak – top, bottom and all sides. (While cooking the sides, make sure to sear the white, edge “fat cap” to get this “meat candy” reward.)


How do you know when your steak is done? Touch the meat with your finger and compare it to the area on the palm of your hand under your thumb, as follows:

  • poke the area at the base of the thumb, which is loose and spongy like raw meat.
  • touch your forefinger and thumb together (like you are making the “OK” sign). Poke the area at the base of the thumb. It’s a little firmer, about the consistency of rare meat.
  • touch your middle finger to the tip of your thumb to feel medium rare at the thumb base.
  • touch the tip of your ring finger to your thumb for medium well.
  • touching your pinky to your thumb, the base of the thumb will feel like the consistency of being well done.


Once you pull the steak off the grill let is rest for about 10 minutes. This lets the natural juices infuse and relax back into the meat.


First, we eat with our eyes. Grab those colorful platters you bought last year and use them.

Sprinkle some finishing salt, like Marldon sea salt flakes, on the meat to enhance flavor.  If your steak is hot enough sometimes you’ll hear a fun cackle as the salt crystal meets the meat.

Let your steak garnishes be edible and colorful. If you want to go fancy ask your fine grocer for some chef’s blend mushrooms like white beech mushrooms and add asparagus and tomatoes (and toss some Fleur de Sel salt on them), but three roasted yellow and/or red tomatoes from your fridge can easily work a quick visual magic.