Category Archives: Beef

Pastrami

St. Paddy’s Pastrami?!?

For a lot of folks, St. Paddy’s Day is an excuse for the wearin-o-the-green and the puking-on-the-shoes. For me, it’s a great chance to pick up some cheap brisket and make up a big batch of pastrami.

I know it’s not traditional, but both corned beef and pastrami are corned (cured) brisket, right? While corned beef is cured and then roasted, braised, boiled, and/or (sometimes) steamed, pastrami is cured and then re-seasoned before being smoked. I like plain corned beef too, but I think that the smoke adds a ton of flavor to the meat.

1 (7-pound) beef brisket
7 tablespoons Morton Sugar Cure (1 tablespoon per pound of meat)
3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar
3 tablespoons corning or pickling spices

Combine the Morton’s, brown sugar, and spices. Put the brisket in a large freezer bag and coat with the cure. Rub the cure into the meat, covering all sides. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and stash in the fridge for 7 days. Liquid will begin to collect in the bag almost immediately. This is your curing solution. Do not drain it off. Flip the bag over once a day to distribute the cure evenly.

After a week, remove the brisket from the cure and rinse under cold water and then soak for an hour to remove some of the salt. Dry off the meat and season with a Montreal-style steak seasoning.

Set up your grill for an indirect cook that will burn for at least 5 hours at 300°F. Use a drip pan under the brisket to catch the fat. Add wood for smoke (I like grape vine). Cook brisket fat side up at 300°F for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat hits 160°F internal.

Pastrami

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap tightly with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Return meat the the grill fat side up and cook for about another 2 hours, or until the meat hits 190°F internal.

Remove foiled brisket from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil (steam burns can ruin your day), reserving any juices that have accumulated. Slice the pastrami thinly against the grain to serve.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
We have a winner! I served it hot-off-the-grill with home-made sauerkraut and stone-ground mustard. Very tasty. The rest will go into pastrami reubens with melted Munster cheese and Russian dressing. Anything left over after that will become dip.

Sweetheart Ribeye

Putting Your Heart Into It

They call it a “Sweetheart Ribeye.” You butterfly a 2-inch thick rib roast and it’s supposed end up looking like a heart.

It looks like a heart, right? Kinda? Maybe? Sorta? Glad my dear wife loves me for more than my cooking skills.

Anyway, I gave it my standard hot and fast treatment on the Big Green Egg and it was very tasty. It was not, however, the big hit of the evening. That was the Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee from She Cooks… He Cleans. It was rich, chocolatey, not too sweet, and decadently good. I highly recommend it.

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!

Chili Con Carne

Chili Con Carne

No beans, no tomatoes – it’s all about meat and heat. This is a modern version of the chili dish that the Aztecs introduced to the Spaniards and that the Mexican vaqueros brought north with them. A warm and hearty dish like this to ward off the sub-zero weather is just what a lot of us need right now.

3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast
10 dried chile peppers (I only used Guajillo, but a mix of New Mexico, Ancho, and pequin would be good too)
1 (7-ounce) can Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 quart beef stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican, if you can)
Sea or Kosher salt and black pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 300°F.

Wearing gloves, stem and seed the dried chiles. Cover with hot (but not boiling) water, and let steep until they are softened – about 30 minutes.

While the chiles are soaking, coat the roast with a little peanut oil on all sides and then dust with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven until smoking. Sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 4 minutes a side). Remove roast to a plate.

Drain the chiles, discard the soaking water. Put the chiles, can of Chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and about half the stock in a food processor and give them a whirl until they form a smooth sauce.

Put the onions in a layer in the bottom of the dutch oven. Top with the roast and any accumulated juices. Pour chili sauce over it all and add enough of the remaining beef stock to bring the liquid in the pan about a quarter of the way up the roast.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the lid on and move to the whole works to the oven for an hour.

Chili Con Carne

Braise the roast for an hour, then flip it over and add more stock if needed. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside to shred the meat (I used a 9×13 cake pan to keep everything contained).

Chili Con Carne

Shred the meat and remove any nasty bits. I used a pair of bear paws to break it into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat and any juices that have accumulated back to the Dutch oven.

Move the Dutch oven to the stove top and bring chili to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let cook uncovered until the chili is thick and the meat has completely fallen apart.

Serve this with cornbread and garnish with cilantro, diced white onion, sliced radishes, sour cream, chopped green onions, grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips – you name it.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This was a very rich and filling dish. Very meat-centric, but the Guajillo and Chipotles kept it interesting with a nice complex, smoky, and lasting heat. I can sure see any leftovers being used as a filling for tacos or tamales.

Grilled and Roasted Prime Rib

Prime Rib

We had a quiet New Year’s Eve this year. For the first time in over 10 years we didn’t host a party, so it was just my dear wife and me, four spoiled cats, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and this lovely hunk of prime rib.

1 3-pound boneless prime rib roast
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

1 tablespoon prepared grated horseradish
1 tablespoon Penzy’s horseradish dip
2 tablespoons hot water
2/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the roast on a cutting board with the deckle (fat cap) on top. Score the fat by making shallow diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern at about 1-inch intervals. Generously dust the roast on all sides with the steak seasoning, making sure to work it into the cuts. Stash in the fridge while you set up the grill.

You’ll need a flame-proof roasting pan (I use an old 9×13 baking pan) with a rack.

For the sear, set your grill up for a direct cook over high heat (700°F). Get the cooking grate nice and hot and sear the roast directly on the grate for 90 seconds on each side. When the roast is browned all over, move it to the rack (fat side up) set in the roasting pan.

Prime Rib

Move the roast to the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes. The idea is to stop the cooking process so that the outside gets nice and crispy while the inside stays a uniform medium-rare.

Normally, I would finish this on the Big Green Egg, but a record cold front moved in and discretion got the better part of me.

Preheat the oven for 300°F. Add 2 cups of water to the roasting pan and place roast in oven. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes per pound, or until it hits 125°F internal.

Move the roast to a cutting board and let rest while you make the horseradish sauce.

Combine hot water and dip seasoning and let sit for 5 minutes. Add grated horseradish, sour cream, and mayo and mix to combine. Let sit for another 5 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.

Carve roast and serve with horseradish sauce on the side.

Prime Rib

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This is becoming my favorite way to do prime rib. The searing gives the roast a nice browned and tasty crust while finishing it at a lower temperature after a rest makes sure you have minimum amount of overcooked meat and a maximum amount of yummy medium-rare.

The horseradish sauce was exactly what I been trying to make. I like the creaminess of horseradish dip, but it never has enough bite for me. Combining the two worked perfectly.

Hope you all had a happy New Year!

Grilled Ribeyes with Steak Butter

Ribeye

I have been very happy with my “hot off the grill” technique for steaks. There’s something very primal and satisfying about cutting into a still sizzling steak. The only thing that could make it better? Butter, of course!

1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 clove garlic, crushed and minced
1 – 2 anchovy fillets

In a small saucepan, melt half the butter over medium-low heat. Add anchovies and simmer until they melt into the butter, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the herbs, Worcestershire, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Remove from heat and let cool until mostly solid. Add the remaining butter and whisk to combine. Spoon mixture onto a large ramekin, cover with a sheet of waxed paper, and refrigerate until you are ready to use it.

Season the ribeyes with a heavy coating of sea salt (2 to 3 teaspoons per side) and a few grinds of black pepper blend. Stash uncovered in the fridge while you get your grill set up for a direct cook at a sub-nuclear 700°F.

Sear steaks for 60 seconds, then rotate the 90 degrees and give them another 30 seconds on that side. Flip and repeat the process on the other side. After both sides have been seared, keeping flipping them every minute or so while checking for doneness. These steaks only took another 2 minutes of flipping to hit a nice medium-rare 125°F internal.

Ribeye

Move the steaks straight off the grill and onto your plates, pausing ever so briefly to spoon a dollop of steak butter onto them.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
I was expecting the butter to be a umami bomb – rich and savory, but I was pleasantly surprised that the herbs gave it a much brighter taste. Between the anchovy and the herbs it had a fresh, almost briny, flavor to it that really woke up the steak.

Hot Off the Grill

New York Strip Steak

I am a big fan of Meathead (Craig Goldwyn) and his Amazing Ribs website. Meathead has done a lot to shine the light of science into the dark and smoky den of live fire cooking. One of his latest myth-busting posts concerns the need to let meat rest after cooking.

I won’t try to cover all of the excellent arguments Meathead makes against letting meat rest, but the one that struck me was his quote from Adam Perry Lang, “In the early crust stage (fresh off the grill), fat, collagen, and salt will cause a unique flood of saliva in your mouth. I refer to this type of crust stage as ‘alive and snappy’.”

When it comes to steaks, I have largely been a “cook-’em-hot-and-fast-then-let-’em-rest kind” of guy. To be honest, my reasoning has been based more on grilling folklore than on testing and experimentation. So while I’ve never had a steak that I thought had suffered in taste, texture, or juiciness from resting – I still thought it was worth giving the “hot off the grill” technique a try, particularly if it would give me that alive and snappy effect.

So, armed with little more than a pair of lovely 1 3/4-inch thick strip steaks, I set off on my experiment…

I seasoned the steaks with a heavy coating of sea salt (2 to 3 teaspoons per side) and a few grinds of a mixed pepper blend. I worked the seasoning into the meat with my hand and made sure to cover the edges too. I stashed the steaks back into the fridge while I got the Big Green Egg heated up to the just barely sub-nuclear temperature of 700°F.

New York Strip

Talk about alive and snappy!

I tossed the steaks on for 90 seconds of undisturbed searing. Then I rotated the steaks 90 degrees and gave them another 30 seconds on that side. I flipped the meat and repeated the process on the other side.

I was aiming for medium-rare, so after both sides had been seared I kept flipping them every minute or so while checking for doneness. After about another 2 minutes of flipping, they hit 125°F internal. I took the steaks straight off the grill and right onto our plates, so that when knife met steak the meat was still sizzling.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
I have no idea how to describe the first bite – crispy, salty, hint of pepper, and this overwhelmingly good “hot” taste. Not spicy hot or burn-your-mouth hot, but tropical rainforest hot – this wave of heat and humidity that’s so thick that it carries its own cloud of flavors and aromas with it.

It’s like the difference between eating a perfectly tasty bite of meat from the center of a prime rib and eating a bite of the sizzling crust from the same roast – night and day. Both delicious, but in very different ways.

I really enjoyed the “alive and snappy” taste/feeling and it carried on through most of the meal, gradually decreasing as the steak cooled, but never really going away entirely. Yes, I did notice that the steak lost more juices to the plate than a rested steak would have, but not a lot more, and certainly not enough to make the steak noticeably less juicy. In fact, I found myself mopping up what juices there were with bites of meat, so that nothing was really lost in the end.

This is going to be my go-to technique from here on out – thanks, Meathead!

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Another “mystery meat” package from my butcher. The handwriting on the butcher paper said “sirloin”, so I assumed it was a steak. It turned out to be a big ol’ sirloin roast – three small bones, multiple muscle groups, and a thin strip of connective tissue holding two nice cuts of meat together.

I trimmed the roast down to two steaks and decided to treat them to a mushroom baste.

2 sirloin steaks
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt

Remove the steaks from the fridge and give them a good dusting with some ground sea salt and black pepper. Then set your grill up for a direct cook at slightly sub-nuclear temperature (about 600°F).

When the grill is getting up to temp, sauté the mushrooms. Combine the mushrooms, butter, and oil in a shallow baking pan (I use a 9×13 disposable foil pan) and heat it up right on the grill, stirring to combine everything as the butter melts. Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt and keep cooking until the mushrooms are tender and browned, about 5 minutes.

Add the Worcestershire and thyme and stir to combine. Let cook until the mixture starts to bubble, about another minute. Set the pan beside the grill to keep it warm.

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Sear the steaks for 60 seconds on each side, then move them off into the mushroom baste. Flip them a couple of times to coat both sides with all that earthy and buttery joy, then put the steaks back on the grill for another 30 seconds on each side. Keep flipping every 30 seconds or so and start checking for doness – I like my steaks medium-rare, so 125°F internal. These steaks took just under 2 minutes per side total.

Sirlion Steak with Sauteed Mushrooms

Move the steaks off into the mushroom baste and give them another flip. Let rest for 10 minutes, then move the steaks to a cutting board. Reserve the mushroom baste and keep the pan warm.

Trim off any fat or connective tissue from the steaks and then slice the meat on a diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Put the sliced steak and any accumulated meat juices from the cutting board back into the mushroom mix. Give the pan a stir to coat the meat.

Move meat to a serving platter and serve topped with the mushrooms.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Sirloin is a very flavorful cut of meat, but it can be tough. I really like this grill and baste technique because it lets me build up that flavor while keeping the meat moist and tender.

The Nutrition:
If you trim it, sirloin steak is 5 points for 3 ounces of meat. The baste adds about 3 more points for the oil. Serve it with a salad and it’s all good.

One year ago – Mixed Berry Pretzel Icebox Dessert
Two years ago –
Pulled Picnic