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Jul 25, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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By the Book: Adam Perry Lang’s Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt

June 12th 12:06pm, 2012

I tend to leave grilling for someone else; the whole “getting the coals hot” during an endless St. Louis summer has always sounded like a sweaty pain. But Memorial Day was approaching, barbecue legend Adam Perry Lang was coming to town for Sauce’s Celebrity Chef Series and learning to grill just seemed appropriate. I decided it was now or never.

To me, barbecuing has always had this manly connotation. Of course, my unwillingness to step up to the grill has only helped perpetuate this stereotype. So I figured if I was learning to grill, I might as well go dramatic. Enter: “The Man Steak.”



Note: Do not call your butcher and ask if he has any “man steaks” in stock because you will get laughed at – big time. Per the butcher at Straub’s suggestion, I brought Perry Lang’s new cookbook, Charred & Scruffed: Bold new techniques for explosive flavor on and off the grill, into Straub’s with me. I somewhat redeemed myself, as three butchers puzzled over Perry Lang’s beautiful photos (of an imposing, round, four-inch-thick, six-pound steak he titled the “man steak”). They conceded my confusion; Perry Lang never actually gives the cut of his steak. The butchers decided that Perry Lang intended this Fred Flintstone-esque slab of meat to be the end of sirloin with the round bone attached. Can’t find it? Don’t worry; any large cut of steak will do. Just make sure it’s thick, so the cooking methods and seasonings compute.



I ended up with a 4.22-pound cut of Top sirloin, and my results were incredible. A large steak will be pricey, but mine fed a dinner of four adults with enough for at least three more people – or a weekend of steak and eggs for my husband and me. I loved the basting brush idea, especially because I just planted an herb garden. I tied rosemary and thyme to a wooden spoon and it worked great! Bonus: My guests were very impressed.



As for the Thyme Zinfandel Salt, well, I waited until the last minute to prepare that section of the recipe, figuring, like the Four Seasons Blend, that the small amount of ingredients would be easy to throw together. Oops. No dehydrator or an extra 12 hours to spare. Instead, I threw the mixture on a pan at 450 degrees. It sort of burned, it sort of looked weird, but it tasted great. Since the salt lasts up to a month, I think it’s worth putting the time into making it properly. But if you cheat, it turns out just fine.



It wouldn’t be fair to say this was my most successful grilling moment. After all, it was my only. But after this steak, I might as well retire. I’ve peaked.

Before we get to the recipe, let us tell you how you can meet Adam Perry Lang himself. Join us this Friday, June 15 at Mike Shannon’s Steaks & Seafood as the barbecue legend discusses and signs his new book for the next installment of the Sauce Celebrity Chef Series. Local barbecue king Mike Emerson (the guy behind Pappy’s Smokehouse) will be preparing a finger-lickin’-good barbecue lunch inspired by Perry Lang’s book using local meats. Tickets include food, beer and a copy of Charred & Scruffed ready to be signed by Mr. Perry Lang. For more information and how you can nab tickets, click here.



Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt
6 to 8 Servings

1 6-lb. “man steak” or a large, thick steak
¼ cup Four Seasons Blend (recipe follows)
1 Tbsp. fleshly ground black pepper
An herb brush (directions follow)
Basic Baste made with the acid component (recipe follows)
Board Dressing (recipe follows)
Thyme Zinfandel Salt (recipe follows) for finishing or similar finishing salt

• Preheat the grill to medium-low.
• Season the beef all over with the Four Seasons 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 (The Hot Potato Method*) 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.**
• Put the steak back on the grill and cook, turning and basting it every 4 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 115 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for rare, 25 to 35 minutes.
• Meanwhile, pour the board dressing onto a cutting board (or mix it directly on the board). 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 salt.

* According to Perry Lang: If asked to reduce my approach to grilling to just two words, they would be ‘hot potato.’ I treat meat on the grill as if I were handling a hot potato. When it gets really hot on one side (every couple of minutes), I flip it onto the other side. This is contrary to what many chefs do as they seek to create dark grill marks, but I couldn’t care less about grill marks. I have been served plenty of food with nice grill marks that did nothing to disguise a poor cooking job and a lack of flavor and texture.

** I didn’t do this step.

Four Seasons Blend
Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. 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.

Herb Basting Brush
Rather than using an ordinary basting brush, I prefer to make my own by securing 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. Plus, it looks really cool and makes people think ‘Food!’ when they see you using it.

Basic Baste
Makes approximately 4 cups (if using the acid component)

Fat Baste
1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
10 Tbsp. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup rendered fat from the meat being cooked (optional)
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. grated garlic (use a microplane) or garlic mashed to a paste
1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp. grated Spanish onion (use a microplane)
2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Acid Component (optional)
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.)
• For recipes that use the optional acid component, whisk it into the fat baste before using, or reserve it to add later; as specified in the individual recipe.

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 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. The secret flavorful last ingredient is the tip of the herb basting brush, chopped very fine and mixed into the dressing. After being in contact with the hot meat while it cooked, the rosemary, sage or thyme will have softened a bit and released some aromatic and flavorful oils. I mix the herbs into the board dressing, then slice the meat, turning each slice in the dressing. Then I pour the resulting board juices over the meat when I serve it. 

Thyme Zinfandel Salt
Makes approximately 1 cup

1 cup sea or kosher salt
1/3 cup zinfandel
1 Tbsp. 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 degrees 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.

What’s your rule of thumb when making steak on the grill? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a signed copy of Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column. And don’t forget to buy your ticket to meet Mr. Perry Lang this Friday!

And now, we’d like to congratulate Courtney, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Ripe. Courtney, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

By Julie Cohen

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9 Responses to “By the Book: Adam Perry Lang’s Man Steak with Thyme Zinfandel Salt”

  1. KC Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I think I can handle that! Thanks for the substitution ideas.

  2. Jenny Ingram Says:
    June 12th, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I, too, grew up with notions that grilling is a man’s duty, but if Julie can do it, so can I! I just need a grill to complement my summer wardrobe…
    I’ve never had steak with a thyme-based rub, so I look forward to trying something new this summer.

  3. KtMeyers Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Rule of thumb – don’t overcook it, don’t fiddle with it, don’t smash it down with your spatula. But most importantly, have a cold beverage by your side.

  4. Maribeth Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 10:23 am

    The herb brush is very impressive, but the steak and eggs breakfast picture is what will really convince me to try this. Great photography! I can’t wait to tell my husband one night to meet me at home for some man steak.

  5. Leah Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The steak and eggs looks delicious!

  6. Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} Says:
    June 13th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I leave all the grilling to Hubster, but I’d love to gift this book to him so has a few more recipes in his arsenal.

  7. katie Says:
    June 18th, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Rule of thumb – thick meat high heat!

  8. Zubenal Says:
    July 19th, 2012 at 6:47 am

    I used a standing rib roast. I beat it flat with a huge cast iron skillet.
    It was freekin awsome!
    Word of caution, dont pound your meat in the kitchen. There is a splater factor!

  9. Mario Antinori Says:
    August 31st, 2012 at 6:19 am

    The meat looks so good and juicy. This recipe needs to happens in my kitchen. I just have to try if this really looks good and taste good as well.

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