Adam Perry Lang is a classically-trained chef-turned barbecue pit master. He’s got 2 books out now – BBQ 25: The World’s Most Flavorful Recipes-Now Made Fool-Proof, and his first book, Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste, and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking.
While Serious is a considerable tome, BBQ 25 is described as a “BBQ survival guide”. It’s the top 25 barbecue (and by barbecue, Lang means grilling and well as smoking) recipes laid out in a slick, simple, visual manner. All of the recipes involve layering flavors – brines, marinades, mops, bastes, and sauces all come into play. There’s a lot of butter and oil involved too, but it’s mostly as a vehicle for moving the flavors around and getting them to work together.
Since I just happened to have a couple of nice t-bones waiting to hit the grill, I decided to start with the first recipe in the book for marbled steaks under an inch thick.
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 teaspoons chile powder
2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped sweet white onion
2 tablespoons grated or finely chopped garlic
1/4 cup cold water
1 bunch fresh thyme
Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a zip-top bag. Mix to combine. Add the steaks and turn to cover. Seal and stash in the fridge for at least 3 hours, but overnight is best.
Combine in a foil pan or heatproof pan and warm on the side of the grill:
1/4 cup olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
5 crushed garlic cloves
4 tablespoons finely chopped savory herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram, oregano and/or sage
Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (600°F+) heat. While the grill is heating up, remove the steaks from the marinade. “Glisten (Lang’s term)” them with oil and just a little kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper.
Put the steaks on for 90 seconds of undisturbed searing. Flip them, brush the top with the herb baste, and let them go another 90 seconds. Flip them again, baste, and start checking for doneness. I was looking for a nice medium-rare – 130°F with a hint of red and the center. It took one last flip and another 30 seconds a side to get there.
Put the steaks on a warm plate, baste them one last time, cover them gently with another plate, and let them rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
The t-bones ended up being totally luscious – rich and tender and wonderfully seasoned. I don’t usually use the word “floral” in connection with meat in a good way, but you could really taste/smell the herbs as a nice top note that complimented the meat. Lang recommends rubbing a little beef base into the steaks right before putting them on the grill, which I didn’t do. But would definitely use it or a little Worcestershire next time to “ground” the steaks a little more. Otherwise – this one one of the best steaks I’ve ever had.