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Hailing from kitchens of renowned culinary cities across the country, Chef Max Hussey has now spent three years at the helm of Folk’s Folly, Memphis’ original prime steak house. There he has mastered and elevated the award-winning traditional menu while building the restaurant’s popular weekly specials into a curated culinary showcase.

Commanding the finer points of open-flame cooking has long been part of Chef Max’s expertise. Prior to his Memphis arrival, Chef Max served as Executive Chef of Southpaw BBQ & Southern Cookin’ in San Francisco, where he earned a spot in the Top 30 BBQ Restaurants in the Country by OpenTable voters. He was also Chef de Cuisine of 25 Lusk in San Francisco, one of Esquire’s Top 20 New Restaurants of 2010, and of Caliterra in Boston, as well as Executive Sous Chef at Emeril’s Delmonico (New Orleans) and Sous Chef at Emeril’s New Orleans.

Folk's Folly's Chef Max

Chef Max Hussey brings more than a decade of open-flame cooking expertise to his leadership of Folk’s Folly‘s kitchen.

Folk's Folly steak

The pleasure of a perfectly cooked steak makes it a favorite among home cooks.

Folk's Folly steak

Folk’s Folly menu favorites like the bone-in ribeye and twice-baked potatoes are available to take home from Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe.

Folk's Folly steak and spices

Start with the highest quality ingredients possible to replicate the flavor of Folk’s Folly’s prime steaks at home.

Although Folk’s Folly is known for its high quality and attention to detail, it is also rooted in the simple pleasure of a perfectly prepared steak. Luckily for the restaurant’s patrons and other home cooks, Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe, located right next door, sells prime cuts and menu specials in-store and online. Folk’s Folly founder Humphrey Folk created the store in response to public demand for the products his namesake restaurant was serving.

Starting with the best ingredients is key to the restaurant’s success and yours, so once you’ve made your choices from Humphrey’s, you’re well on your way. Duplicating the full Folk’s Folly experience may not be possible, but it doesn’t take a professional chef to make the most of a well-selected cut. With these 10 tips from Chef Max, you can still easily get a taste of a Memphis original wherever you call home.

10 Steps to the Perfect Prime Cut

1. REST UP FIRST

Take your steaks out of the fridge or cooler 10 minutes before using. Taking the chill off before introducing the meat to heat allows it to cook more evenly.

Folk's Folly

Step 1: Take the chill off with a rest before cooking.

2. DRY NOW, DELICIOUS LATER

Give your steaks a quick pat dry with paper towels or clean dish cloths before seasoning. You’ll get a better sear without the excess moisture.

Folk's Folly Chef Max

Step 2: Pat your steaks dry before seasoning.

3. DON’T BE SHY WITH THE SEASONING

The crust of your steak seals in the goodness, so make sure to season both sides thoroughly with salt and pepper to create this flavorful layer.

Folk's Folly

Step 3: Create a flavorful crust with generous seasoning.

4. USE A WELL OILED MACHINE

Think of the grill like your pan and oil the grates instead of your steak. This step ensures you’ll have a smooth, conductive cooking surface without affecting the flavor of the meat. At the restaurant, we’ll oil the grill continuously and scrape it down.

Folk's Folly's Chef Max cleans the grill

Step 4: Oil your grill before use.

5. AIM FOR MID-FIRE NOT BONFIRE

Your grill goal should be medium-high heat. For a final internal temperature, get to 125 degrees for medium rare and go up from there, if desired.

grilled steak

Step 5: Medium-high heat is ideal for a controlled cook.

6. WARM YOUR BONES

If you’re grilling a cut that includes a bone, getting a consistent temperature throughout can be tricky. Make sure to put the bone directly over the flame at some point during your flipping to get it hot, which will radiate outward to cook the meat closest to the bone evenly.

Folk's Folly's Chef Max

Step 6: Place the bone of your cut directly over the flame to radiate heat.

7. FLIP FOR EVEN COVERAGE

A good, even sear all the way around requires patience but also proactive measures. On a typical gas grill, four flips are standard during the grilling process; on an open flame, you’ll need to flip more frequently.

Folk's Folly's grilled steak

Step 7: Flip frequently for an even sear.

8. GET SOME CLARIFICATION

Finish off your steak with a drizzle of clarified butter, which has a higher burn temperature and can handle the flames, or move the steak to a pre-heated cast iron skillet and add the butter there. We use Plugra European-style clarified butter at Folk’s Folly, but you can also create your own at home.

Folk's Folly grilling recipes

Step 8: Finish the flavoring with clarified butter.

9. EARLY IS ON TIME

Take the steaks off the heat when the internal temperature is 5-10 degrees lower than your goal. Let it rest one minute per each degree under (5-10 minutes). This step is possibly the most critical. Resting allows the muscle fibers of the meat to reabsorb the moisture lost during cooking, making sure that goodness is in your steak and not all over your plate.

Folk's Folly steak recipe

Step 9: Take your steaks off the heat before they reach peak temperature and allow to rest.

10. THE SLICE IS LIFE

Use a sharp carving knife, never a serrated blade. When slicing, cut against the grain or in line with the bone.

Folk's Folly

Step 10: Cut against the grain with a carving knife.

Chef Max would love to welcome you to Folk’s Folly for your next exceptional dining experience and wishes you great success in creating your own perfect plate at home. Visit Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe in person or online at humphreysmemphis.com to get started with the same high-quality ingredients as the professionals.

Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe is located at 551 South Mendenhall, Memphis, Tennessee 38117. Learn more at (901) 328-2245

This article is sponsored by Humphrey’s Prime Cut Shoppe. All photography by DCA.