Sunday, February 24, 2013

Pesto Spiraled Steak Pucks

Recently back from a trip to Londonville, or whatever they call it. BBQ is getting HUGE out there. It's like the nation's collective taste for grilled fare has been locked up in a 'char'stity belt. And with that pent up energy let loose, BBQ is meat marketing it up, out on the town, looking for the fight of its life. 

There wasn't time for a tour-de-force grill crawl. However, I was lucky enough to spend a delightful afternoon at Eyre Brothers in Shoreditch. While not strictly a BBQ spot, the menu reassuringly and discerningly proclaims, "we grill over lumpwood charcoal from sustainable resources." Some of their dishes include: Catalan blood sausage, rare-grilled pigeon breast, Porto marinated duck foie gras and Iberico pork cheeks. Presented with all these elegant options, I couldn't help but ponder the going association that BBQ maintains in the popular consciousness with volume of food, gluttony. I've been thinking more and more about how to put the Big Green Egg to use for more nimble offerings, and this London afternoon experience served to strengthen my resolve.

The spark plug fired on this direction when I came upon a recipe for Rolled Flank Steak with Pesto in a great 2012 book, Canal House Cooks. This is very much their recipe, Big Green Egg styles.

Here's what you need:
- 2 Loosely packed cups basil leaves
- 2 Loosely packed cups of parsley leaves
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1/2 cup green pitted olives
- 3 anchovy filets
- 1/4 cup of your best olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano
- One 2-pound flank steak
- S and P

First, the pesto: drop the basil, parsley, garlic, pitted olives, anchovies, and olive oil into a blender, and puree. Next, sprinkle in the parm and pulse a couple times to make sure it's spread throughout. At this point, your pesto is gonna smell like a dream. Get it into a small bowl, wrap and refrigerate. 

For the steak, and this gets a little intricate: unroll, and lay it out flat on a clean surface, with it's grain point directly towards you. With an outstandingly sharp knife, butterfly it along one edge, essentially splitting it's thickness in half. Do this patiently, stopping two inches before you cut the steak in two. At this point, you'll be able to open it like a meat book. 

Get your pesto out and spread it evenly across the entire top surface area of the flank. Leave half-an-inch of space around the circumference. 

Then, rotate the flank so that the grain is traveling from left to right, like a set of marble horizons. Slip 5 to 6 sets of string underneath the slab, at even intervals. Once done, begin rolling from the edge closest to you, ensuring it's as tight as possible. Once you're all rolled up, fasten the strings tightly and knot. Wrap it with plastic and refrigerate until your fire is set.

Get the BGE up to about 275/300 F. Some folks might recommend higher, but I didn't want to sear as much heat carefully to the core, ensuring the pesto had a chance to make it's presence known within the fibers of the flank. Throw it on for about 20 minutes, turning until browned on all sides. After that, shift it to the side for about 12 - 14 minutes, away from the direct heat. 

Lastly, slice the rolled flank at inch-long intervals, ensuring your spirals don't unravel. 

My accomplice in this mission had just had dinner. But after one of these guys, all he could say was, "just one more meat puck, just one more." 

Note: I've eaten three of these while writing this, a day after it all went down. It's quality as a left-over speaks volumes. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Deeeaammn Lamb Wraps (with Owney's Rum)

I'm all for a cold winter. But it's posing a few unexpected brick walls. Number one on the 'c'mon, really?' list: the Big Green Egg is frozen shut. The fall-out: having to cook using a normal oven, which induces similar feelings to missing the last train out of Anchorage to Miami on a Friday night. My first idea was to create a seasonally-adjusted Meat Hunx sister site called Soup Slutz. But an avalanche-esque craving for lamb made me think otherwise. So I'm defying my BBQ-negating geo-position with some motherfucking lamb wraps. The Meat is On! Let's do this!
First up, the lamb. Here's what ya need:
- 2 lbs of lamb
- 1 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- S and P to taste
- And Berbere

EEER, educational moment and command 1! You gotta get Berbere mix in the mix. It's a spice combo made up of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, dried basil, kararima, rue, ajwain, nigelia and fenugreek. It's a West-African fundamental. Get on it!

Next up:
- Blend the onion, garlic, cilantro, oil, lemon and spices
- Rub the marinade all over the lamb then wrap with string
- Throw the lamb in an air-tight whatever and refrigerate for two hours
- Remove and let the meat come to room temp
- Sprinkle with Berbere, salt and pepper
- Then crank the ovs to 450F and pop your roasting-pan borne foil-covered lamb in
- Dial back to 325F and cook for 2.5 hours
- The lamb is ready to party when it's falling off the bone

Lay your party-dudes out on the warmed wraps and garnish with cilantro, parsley, green onions, salsa and sour cream. And as a wise man once said: "BANGO!"

Educational alert moment and command 2: A pal of mine has adorned the already-rich history of Brooklyn Rum-runners with a new gem: Owneys. It's not the same old rum the world is used to, and I strongly urge you to check out their operation here, if only to increase your chances of enjoying the shit out of Meathunx-inspired Deeeaammn Lamb Wraps.