A Monumental Feast
So, I came up with another idea. My mother was born in
How does that bring me to our pre-game tailgate feast this week? Vanderbilt is 3-0 and moving uptown in the standings. A monumental feast goes hand-in-hand with the new, regal attitude of the typical Vandymaniac. That means no hamburgers or hot dogs for Saturday. No, only the best will do: STEAK!
For me, aside from a delicious, slow-smoked brisket, a juicy rib-eye steak can't be beat. Rib-eyes are more flavorful than most steaks, yet still tender enough to enjoy.
With this steak, we will grill corn in their husks, and enjoy a nice, easy-to-make three bean salad. This dinner fit for a king is apropos for the current King of the Southeastern Conference East Division.
First, let's choose the best rib-eye steaks we can find. Look for meat that is bright red (watch out that it isn't dyed). The outside layer of fat should be light beige; if it's any darker, don't consider it. The interior fat should look like narrow ribbons. If they aren't narrow, the meat will be tough.
Rib-eyes don't require much seasoning. A little pepper and garlic will do just fine. However, since this is a special occasion (Vandy is 3-0 once in a generation), let's fix a dynamite marinade. The following recipe will marinate one pound of steak. Adjust this to meet your proportions.
Pinot Noir Marinade
1 cup pinot noir wine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-6 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
10 black peppercorns, whole
2 large stems fresh parsley, chopped
Marinate your steaks for two to six hours (more than six will begin to break down the meat).
Since we are dealing with a pricey piece of meat, it is essential to grill it to perfection. We don't want shoe leather, and we don't want steak tartare. Grilling a steak to a perfect medium-rare is not difficult if you follow a few basic guidelines.
- You need a single layer of coals on your grill. These coals must be totally white with no flaming fire. Just a red glow is the perfect temperature. If you want to grill with real wood, use mesquite. It is meant for high temperature grilling (and not for low temperature barbecuing).
- Trim the exterior fat to about ¼-inch wide. You can use what you cut away to grease your cooking grate (use heat-resistant gloves or tongs).
- Bring your steaks to room temperature (not outdoor temp) just before placing them on the grill.
- Grease the grill with steak fat or use oil.
- Place the steaks on the grill and cover just long enough to sear one side. Open the lid, turn the steak over, and sear the other side.
- Open the lid, and turn the steak back to the first side. Keep the lid off and cook for four to five minutes.
- Turn the steak and cook for another four to five minutes, testing after three. When your meat thermometer registers 150 degrees, remove the steaks from the grill.
- Let your steaks rest for two minutes to allow the juices to run through the meat. Then, get that fork and knife ready. Dig in and plant your teeth in a most pleasantly palatable feast.
Grilling Corn in Their Husks
Grilling corn inside its own husk allows the kernels to steam and also take on some of the smoky flavor from the coals. Corn takes longer to cook on the grill than steaks, so you will have to start these prior to cooking your steaks. You can then move them to the side of the grill when it comes time to cook the meat.
If your corn has several layers of husk, peel the outer layers. You just need two layers. Place the corn on the grill just after the flames have tamed on your initial lighting. It's okay if the temperature is too high for cooking steak at this point. Keep the husks from igniting; you can allow them to burn a little on the outside without damaging the inside.
Turn the corn frequently until the inner husks are charred all around. The corn should be done in 10-15 minutes if you properly turned it.
Note: Some people soak the husks in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. You can do this, but the smoky taste will not develop. You will have steamed corn.
Three Bean Salad
You can use canned beans for this if you are short on time. Of course, beans prepared from scratch are better. We use fresh-cooked green beans and canned beans for the other two.
1 pound cooked (or 1 can) green beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 small red onion, cut into thin slices
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. sugar (we use a sprinkle of stevia instead)
Combine these ingredients in advance and refrigerate for several hours to let flavors blend. It's a tasty way to get more fiber.