Raising the Steaks

Four Southern Gentleman Share Their Secrets for a Perfect Steak

Grilled, broiled, pan-seared, sous vide: You can tell a lot about a gentleman by the way he prepares his steak. Finding that perfect combination of seasoning and heat is anything but easy, but these local men have mastered the craft. Here, they share with us the secrets behind their prized steak recipes.


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Mark Franklin

Mark’s first love may be barbecue, but he also enjoys a challenge. Determined to develop the perfect steak recipe, Mark watched hours of the Food Network, questioned friends about their techniques, and stayed up late practicing and taste-testing until he got it right.

The Method

1. Start with a 14-16 oz. cut of ribeye. Trim the steak to remove unwanted heavy fat.

2. Combine Himalayan salt, garlic powder, and pepper, and sprinkle a nice coverage on both sides of the steak. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. While it’s sitting, make a bourbon marinade: 1 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup Jack Daniel’s whiskey, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 4 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, and mustard, minced garlic, and thyme to taste.

Mark Franklin East Brainerd chattanooga gentleman

Mark Franklin
East Brainerd

3. Add the steak to the marinade, and then refrigerate for a minimum of 45 minutes. Take the steak out of the fridge and let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes before grilling. Prepare your grill using natural hardwood lump coal, hickory wood chips, and grill grates. Heat the grill to 500-650°.

4. Once the grill is ready, lightly season both sides of the steak with Montreal seasoning. Place the steak on the grill grates at an angle, cooking it for 90 seconds before rotating and cooking for another 90 seconds. Flip the steak and again place at an angle, cooking for 90 seconds. Rotate again, and spoon melted butter over the top to keep it moist during the last rotation. Once the meat has reached an internal temperature of 130-145°, remove and let it rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with a side of horseradish sauce.   

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Andy Figlestahler

Andy has been using this method to prepare steak for more than 20 years, having picked it up from a co-worker during a company cookout. Andy’s four boys (Andrew, Jack, John Peter, and Patrick) love their dad’s recipe, so they try to grill out together as often as they can.

The Method

1. Marinate the steak of your choice (I prefer a 6-8 oz. filet mignon) in a Ziploc bag for 30 minutes to one hour prior to grilling. The marinade consists of one part Italian dressing and one part soy sauce – the amount of each will depend on the number of steaks you’re preparing.

Andy Figlestahler Cleveland chattanooga steak chef

Andy Figlestahler

2. Make sure to get your surface hot before placing the steaks on the grill, whether using a pellet grill – which is what I’m currently using – or charcoal/gas. Place each steak on the grilling surface, searing each side of the steak.

3. Take the extra marinade and continuously reapply during the grilling process. The key is to keep the steaks moist; there is nothing worse than a dry steak! If you’re using a charcoal grill, you will need to be more vigilant, since the temperature will vary across the grill surface. Typical grilling time is 30 minutes, although this will vary depending on the thickness of your steak, temperature of the grill, and how you like your steak cooked.

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Jim Feher

You might refer to Jim and his family as beef connoisseurs. The whole family loves red meat and enjoys getting together for cookouts often. During the winter months, they’ve even been known to skip traditional holiday foods in favor of a thick, juicy steak! 

The Method

1. Start with a quality piece of meat. If you’re buying from the store, then pay a little more for a good cut. Or, if it’s wild game, go the extra mile and get it butchered correctly. Here, I used a bone-in ribeye and venison backstrap.

Jim Feher Signal Mountain chattanooga steak recipe southern gentleman

Jim Feher
Signal Mountain

2. Bring your steaks to room temperature. Season the meat with Dale’s seasoning (just enough to make the steaks a little sticky). Then season with a small amount of steak seasoning – Montreal seasoning is my preference.

3. Get your coals hot on a charcoal grill.

4. Place the steaks on the grill. Only flip your meat once to produce nice grill marks. If you like your meat done more than medium-rare, set your meat on the grill away from the coals.

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Dr. Matt Smith

Matt’s spicy take on steak is just the ticket when outdoor grilling is out of the question. Matt always shops for his New York strips at local institution Main Street Meats, and he thinks they taste best when paired with a Saturday night football game.

The Method

1. Turn your stovetop to its highest setting and heat a pan (I prefer a cast iron skillet) for 5 minutes or until thoroughly hot. Coat a grass-fed, New York strip on both sides with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. In a separate bowl, heat a few tablespoons of butter until melted and mix with 2 or 3 minced garlic cloves.

Dr. Matt Smith North Chattanooga southern gentleman steak recipe

Dr. Matt Smith
North Chattanooga

2. About 2 minutes into the heating process, pour the butter and garlic mixture into the pan. When fully heated, throw the steak onto the pan and place the lid on top. Cook for 3 minutes, flip the steak, then cover and cook for another 3 minutes.

3. Turn the heat to medium-low and pour more melted butter on top of the steak. Season with thyme and more salt. Cook uncovered for another 90 seconds, and then remove your steak from the pan and put onto a plate that can be covered to preserve heat.   

4. Allow the steak to sit for 10 minutes before cutting diagonally to make strips. SG

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