I found a couple New York Strip Steaks at the local meat counter. Marked down for immediate sale, selling for $3.25 per pound I had to pick them up to cook for dinner between the wildcard games yesterday. I am posting the process I use to prepare steaks for grilling. As a catering chef I am used to grill to start, oven to finish, when I home I grill to start and smoker to finish. I am not into the high flame searing don't care for the black char at those levels. But I do like a nice full maillard in the grill marks. For prep I use a technique taught to me by Wolfgang Puck about 8 years ago in Aspen. I am describing it here because I get such good results from it. When cooking ribeyes for 150 oil field workers you tend to want those guys happy. The most interesting thing out of my time with Chef Puck was this toasting of spices. I had never thought about it to this point, but spices are more aromatic when warmed up. So he spent a day teaching about 10 of us how to toast spices to the correct temperature to get maximum flavor transfer. In the commercial kitchen you would be doing this on sheet pans with parchment paper on them so the aluminum did not affect the steaks. At home use any non-reactive oven proof pan. This is my steak rub preparation, you can use you own steak rub preparation as you are just toasting them. For the bottom rub I toast it right in the oven pan. For the top I toast in the sauté on the range burner. prior to placing the steaks in the toasted rub I salt and pepper them. Salt and pepper and beef and made for each other. After placing the steaks into the toasted bottom rub it is time to coat the top. The salt and pepper are already on the steaks as I don't put either in my rub so I can control the salt intake of my diet. After three hours like this the essential oils have combined with the fats of the steak for transport into the meat. From there it is onto the grill for the marking. Then I "oven finish" but today since I am working short ribs for a stew Sunday I will "smoker finish" to the medium rare I like a steak to be. The grill is using Royal Oak, mostly because I am out of aspen tree splits and I feel it is the next best thing. Add the steak weight. From the marking grill, which takes about 8 minutes per side, to the hickory and oak smoke of the reverse flow. When the reverse flow is not up to temperature I finish in a 300 F oven. Pull them when they are the correct firmness to my finger press test and eat. Learn to toast your spices. I have cooked so long I go to these technique sessions not expecting to learn a lot, I am always looking for the trick or technique I can exploit to make our food slightly better then the other chefs. While I obtained about 8 techniques I could exploit, this was probably the best improvement technique I got out of the whole week with Wolfgang and Mario.