Thursday, July 28, 2011

Butter-Bombed Steak

Every now and then, Meghan and I entertain the idea of becoming full-fledged, badge-carrying vegetarians. And then, as if on cue, summer rolls around and the charcoal grill starts flaunting its curvaceous self, simply begging us to grill hamburgers, sausage, and of course, steaks. We're weak, yes, but we're not all bad. We have rationalized our gluttonous carnivory by sourcing local, sustainably raised meat. 

While living in Hadley, MA we were fortunate enough to be a part of a local meat CSA through Chestnut Farms in Hardwick, MA. Each month we picked up a frozen cooler filled with 10lbs of chicken, sausages, and the best cuts of steak you can dream up. Our years in Hadley laid the framework for our interest in local farms and sustainable food. Being attached to a local farm helped shape our conscience when it came to eating meat.  While Meghan was reading the works of Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan, I was learning as a grillhand that pork and beef raised without growth hormones leads to leaner cuts of meat that burn far faster than the meat you get at your local grocer. Together we've adapted the local food movement into something that works for us. We've tried to remain true to our ideals by shopping locally and treating meat as a side instead of as the main course.

But, sometimes you need to grill a big ass steak. And when you're going to grill a piece of meat you might as well do it right. The reigning king of the grill, in my less-than-humble opinion, is Adam Perry Lang. His latest book entitled Serious Barbecue is just that: Serious. Barbecue. This is the book you pick up if you're ready to seek out great cuts of meat and spend hours prepping and tenderizing them. Adam Perry Lang will teach you which wood imparts more or less smoke, how to properly roast a whole pig, and even how to make a beer can chicken without (completely) looking like a douche. If you're only going to grill a steak once or twice a summer, do yourself a favor and do it right. Marinate it for hours and lather it with an obscene amount of butter. Then, grill it to just the right level of doneness and consider serving the steaks with grilled corn on the cob and some steamed green beans seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Butter-Bombed Steaks

  • 4 Strip or Porterhouse steaks (1.5in thick, about 1.5lb each)
  • 1 tbsp red hot pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
Resting Butter:
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 tsp red hot pepper flakes

For the grill:
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh rosemary, tied into a bundle
  • 1/4 cup of canola or vegetable oil
Combine the pepper flakes and hot water for a few minutes and then separately add the remaining marinade ingredients together and blend them. Stir in the pepper flakes and water. There's a variety of ways to marinate your steaks, the simplest is to place them in a resealable plastic bag (or, there's the more complicated vacuum marinator if you'd like fully realize the American Dream). Let the steaks marinate for an hour or two. 

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients of the resting butter, stirring them until the butter melts. Set aside about a half cup of the butter for brushing the steaks while they're on the grill, and place the rest in a small baking dish. Once the steaks are properly marinated, get the grill nice and hot and lightly grease the grates with some vegetable oil.  Pat the steaks dry, rub them with salt and pepper, and then lightly brush them with vegetable oil. Place the steaks on the grill and don't move them for 3 minutes. While grilling, generously brush the steaks with the butter using the rosemary herb bundle. Flip the steaks to a clean part of the grill. Grill them about 3 minutes per side for rare, 4 minutes for medium rare, 5 minutes for medium, 6 minutes for medium well, and about 8 minutes per side for well done.  Remove the steaks from the grill and place them in the resting butter for a couple minutes per side, coating them well. Re-oil the grill and place the steaks back on the grates and don't move them for 1 minute per side. Remove them from the grill and let them sit in the resting butter for another 5 minutes before serving.  

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