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Recipe: 'Man steak' with thyme-zinfandel salt, from 'Charred & Scruffed'

 

Man steak for charred and scruffed cookbook story Credit Simon Wheeler
Photo: Simon Wheeler

Here's a recipe from Adam Perry Lang's Charred & Scruffed, featured in today's Buffalo News.

"Man steak" is a British term for a cut that American butchers are not generally familiar with. A piece of top round sirloin is an acceptable standin - as long as it's at least two inches thick. Have a butcher cut you one.

(Excerpted from Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang with Peter Kaminsky (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012. Photographs by Simon Wheeler.)

Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt

Serves 6 to 8

Nothing says barbecue like a beautifully done steak. This one is a very big steak. I’d seen it in Texas, but it wasn’t until I got to England that I came across the name “man steak,” no doubt because it is big, like an Englishman’s appetite. It’s somewhat haphazardly cut to include a few muscles in and around the rump, and it doesn’t look like any recognizable steak. When you see a T-bone—or a rib eye or a shell steak—you know what it is right away. With the man steak, what I keep visualizing is an oversize hunk of meat on Fred Flintstone’s grill. If you cook it right and baste it lovingly, let it rest, temper, and baste again, the result is an intensely flavorful crust and a juicy, toothsome interior.

One 6-pound “man steak,” or top sirloin at least 2 inches thick 

¼ cup Four Seasons Blend

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

An herb brush

Basic Baste

Board Dressing

Thyme Zinfandel Salt for finishing

1. To make the Four Seasons Blend

Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt

2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the salt, black pepper, garlic salt, and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

 2. To make the Basic Baste

Makes approximately 4 cups

Fat baste

1 ¼ cups extra virgin olive oil

10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter

½ cup rendered fat from the meat being cooked (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons grated garlic (use a Microplane) or garlic mashed to a paste

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion (use a Microplane)

2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

 

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup white wine vinegar

Combine all the ingredients for the fat baste in a 2-quart saucepan and bring just to a simmer; remove from the heat. For the best flavor, refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 1 to 2 days (reheat over low heat to melt the butter before using).

Whisk the lemon juice and vinegar into the fat baste before using, or reserve it to add later.

 

Directions:

Preheat the grill to medium-low.

Season the beef all over with the seasoning blend and black pepper, then lightly moisten your hands with water and rub the seasonings into the meat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes to develop a “meat paste”.

Put the beef on the clean (unoiled) grill grate and cook, without moving it, for 1 minute. Turn, grabbing the bone portion with your tongs, baste with the herb brush, and cook for 1 minute. Turn the steak, baste with the herb brush, and continue to cook, turning the meat every 2 minutes or so and basting each time you flip it, for 17 more minutes. The meat may stick and tear a bit, but this is OK, even desirable—the sticking and tearing is what I call “meat scruffing”. The surface should begin to crust after scruffing. (For newer grills, where less sticking and tearing occurs, or for increased surface area, score with a knife.) Transfer the steak to a large platter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, clean and oil the grill grate.

(*Optional: Use an Herb Basting Brush to tie a bunch of herb sprigs (rosemary, sage or thyme, or a combination, or other herbs, depending on what you are cooking to a dowel, the handle of a wooden spoon, or a long-handled carving fork.  The herb brush flavors the baste, releases oils into the crust as it builds, and eventually becomes a garnish for the Board Dressing.)

Put the steak back on the grill and cook, turning and basting it every 4 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 115°F on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 25 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, make a basic Board Dressing. Combine 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can improvise here, adding grated shallots or garlic (use a Microplane), finely chopped chiles, chopped scallions, and/or other chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage. 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, and sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. You can improvise here, adding grated shallots or garlic (use a Microplane), finely chopped chiles, chopped scallions, and/or other chopped herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and sage.

Mix the herbs into the board dressing, then slice the meat, turning each slice in the dressing to coat. Then pour the resulting board juices over the meat and finely chop the tip of the herb brush and mix the herbs into the dressing.

Season the steak on both sides with the thyme salt, transfer to the cutting board, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

To serve, slice the meat ¼ inch thick, turning each slice in the dressing to coat, and arrange on plates. Pour the board juices over the meat and finish with a sprinkling of the thyme zinfandel salt.

How to make the Thyme Zinfandel Salt

Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt

1/3 cup zinfandel

1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine the salt and wine in a bowl, stirring until slushy.

Spread the salt mixture out in a thin, even layer on a parchment-lined dehydrator tray and dry in a dehydrator at 105°F for 12 hours. Alternatively, spread the mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet, put in a convection oven set at the lowest setting, prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon, and let dry completely, about 12 hours.

Finely grind in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and dry for another 2 hours.

Transfer the salt mixture back to the grinder, add the dried thyme, and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 month. 

 

 

 

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