Monday, May 30, 2011

Steak on the Coals; Meat Marinade: Impressing At The Grill

Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook BookHappy Memorial Day, folks. We had a huge, beautiful meal of pork with cabbage & white beans last night, followed by strawberry shortcake (the strawberries were macerated with sugar, fig balsamic, and fresh thyme), so we've no immediate grilling plans for today, but my mind goes to the grill nonetheless.

I like cooking over a grill. Anything tastes better after some time above the coals. Betty Crocker's Outdoor Cook Book challenges my belief, though, and suggests "above" isn't the way to go.

Steak on the Coals
This method startles those who see it for the first time, but it draws ecstatic praise from those who like an emphatic grilled flavor.

Use a large piece of lean, tender steak, such as sirloin, weighing at least 3 lb., 1 1/2 to 2" thick. Place steak in baking pan and cover with Meat Marinade (recipe below). Refrigerate 3 hr. Turn meat occasionally to thoroughly over with marinade. Drain steak and allow to come to room temperature.

Have a bed of white-hot charcoal briquets about 3" deep. A shallow layer of coals will not serve. Remove the grill. Place the meat directly on the fiery coals. Turn every 10 min. to another white-hot area. Allow 12 to 15 min. per side for the center to become
rare, hot, and juicy. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 lb. per serving. Makes 6 servings.

Ooo, a bonus recipe!
Meat Marinade: Combine in bowl 1/2 cup vinegar; 1/2 cup vegetable oil; 1 small onion, minced; 1 tsp. salt; 1 tsp. dry mustard; 1/4 tsp. each mace, nutmeg, and cloves; 1 clove garlic, crushed; and 1/2 tsp. Tabasco. Pour over meat. Serve meat with remaining hot marinade.
Before we go any further, let's point out one important thing: you can not serve that leftover marinade unless you cook it. Cook it. Yes. Cook it. I've nothing against a good steak tartare, but I value your health and don't want you slopping raw meat juice over your Flintstones-esque slab o' meat. Food safety: It's not just for 4H geeks.

It's for 4H geeks, too -- just not ONLY for 4H geeks. (Go, 4H!)

I have no doubt that this method of steak cookery will yield a cooked piece of meat. I do, however, doubt that this is the best way to treat your 3 pounds of sirloin. The very phrase "emphatic grilled flavor" sends shivers of horror down my spine. In fact, according to my handy dandy Google-fu, I find that there's only one place "emphatic grilled flavor" comes up in this world of ours, and it's right here, in this recipe, in this cookbook. When phrases occur only once? I think it's because they shouldn't occur again... Ban the "emphatic grilled flavor"! Embrace some frickin' subtlety!

And yet... it does have a primitive sort of allure...

Here's my final take on this: If you have absolute faith in your cooking fuel, and know for a fact that there aren't weird waxes and chemicals and flammable liquids going on, then fine. Try this. But if you're using briquets and a can of fire starter and God knows what else, put some distance between the unknown and your beef.


  1. would you cook the marinade? Make a pan sauce with it?

  2. Put it in a pan, bring it up to a boil, and reduce as much (or as little) as you want.