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Labor of Love- Your best Fall Bar-B-Q!

Sep 20, 2013 01:20PM

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A Labor of Love

by C. Chess

The unofficial end of summer is upon us; that means the end of bikinis (sigh) the start of football season (WOOHOO) and for many people the last major barbeque of the year. Anyone can throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill, open up a tub of macaroni salad, cut some melon into a bowl and call it a barbeque but if you’re going to do it right then you need to put a little thought, effort and love into your plans.

The food is super important, of course, but so is the atmosphere. You need to pick the right music, good beat but not so loud that you can’t talk over it. I’m a fan of rock and country so I mix those together, a little Zac Brown Band and Sublime never hurt anyone. You need the right drinks, go beyond the cold beer and make a kickin’ sangria or grain punch. I like to mix grain, vodka and red G2 (sugar free Gatorade) powder in a pitcher with some fresh fruit, let that sit over night and enjoy.

Once you’ve got everyone feeling good – it’s time for the food. How do Grilled Flank Steak with Mango Habanero Relish and Wheat Berry Salad with goat cheese and cherries grab you? 

Here’s what you’ll need for the salad:

Wheat Berries Kosher Salt Goat Cheese Dark cherries (fresh are better but if you can’t get fresh, a bag of frozen defrosted and strained) A Granny Smith apple Pecans

Fill a pot with water and a good pinch of kosher salt and add in the wheat berries. Once the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and let cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Drain the water and set the wheat berries aside to cool.

Chop the pecans and toast them (careful not to let them burn)

Pit the cherries (if they’re fresh) and then chop them and dice the apple.

Once the wheat berries have cooled toss in the fruit, chopped pecans and goat cheese. Mix in some fresh chopped parsley just before serving.

For the relish:

Two mangoes, diced Cilantro Juice from two limes One half of a habanero pepper, seeded and finely diced Diced red onion large pinch of kosher salt tablespoon of cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive glass bowl and refrigerate for at least three hours (overnight is better). Be careful when working with the pepper, I mean…really really careful. No joke, you get some of the juice from one of those things on your hand and then touch yourself in a sensitive spot you’re going to regret it for a week. Touch someone you love in a sensitive spot you’re going to regret it for longer than that. My advice, wear latex gloves.

For the steak:

The flank steak corn starch Kosher salt onion powder garlic powder ground cayenne pepper ground black pepper

Flank steak is very flavorful but also very lean. Treat it right and there’s nothing better, treat it wrong and it will bitch slap you like LiLo on a bender.

In one bowl combine the corn starch with about a tablespoon of kosher salt, rub the steak thoroughly making sure to cover the entire thing. Put the steak on a platter uncovered in your freezer for about 2 hours before grilling. By partially freezing the meat you are able to form a nice crust on it without overcooking.

In a separate bowl combine the other ingredients using more or less of each depending on your tastes (or use your favorite store bought rub).

Once the steak comes out rub it with the seasoning mixture and put on high heat for approximately seven minutes…do not dick around with it, just let it cook. After seven minutes, flip it and let it go for another seven minutes.

Fun trick, to test the readiness all you need is your hand. Feel the fleshy part at the base of your thumb, now touch your thumb to each of the fingers on that same hand, do you feel how that fleshy part gets more firm the farther along your hand you go? When you’re not touching any other fingers, the fleshy part has the consistency of raw meat, touching your index finger is rare, middle finger medium rare, ring finger medium well, pinky…you’re eating a shoe.

So when the meat feels right, take it off the grill and let it sit for another seven minutes so that the juices don’t go running all over your cutting board (the steak will also finish cooking a bit). Slice against the grain of the meat, serve and enjoy.

Now just find one of your grateful guests to do the dishes for you!