Food: Fathers Day Special; Bourbon & Steak!

I can remember as a kid, watching my dad load the charcoal in the hibachi, light it up and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Our little hibachi would glow and smoke until the coals turned white hot – he always said that was when it was perfect for cooking steaks.  I can still see both grills with their wooden handles – you could raise or lower them over the coals on their little levers.He had that hibachi on a metal stand that was so wobbly on the concrete patio, you were sure this was the night it would topple over.  We would take the screen out of the kitchen window so he could pass the steaks through and ask Mom to cut one open to see if it was done (sometimes it would be getting near dusk and it was hard to see).  Now we have a sliding patio door and a large deck built over the poured concrete patio, so we can step out to our big propane grills, complete with side burners and fancy rotisseries.  Did I mention that our little two grill hibachi fed 7 people?  Indeed.  Simple times, but good times. I am so glad for the memory of them.

This weekend we celebrate our Dads near and far on Father’s Day and think of Dads that have passed.  If you are lucky enough to be able to hang out and share the day with your Dad, you are blessed.  He might sit on your deck and recall a time when he was a kid and how he didn’t have a shiny bbq or a direct hook-up to the gas line or how he had a push mower and had to rake the lawn.  Let him reminisce and recall simpler times.  It’s his day.

To celebrate Dad, show him some love and buy him one of your bucketlist bourbons.  If he is anything like my Dad was, he would admire the bottle, say thank you and want to put it away in the cupboard and save it for a “special occasion”.  Remind him that Father’s Day is as special as it gets, grab two glasses and crack that sucker open.  Enjoy it together.

Now what should go with that fantastic pour?  In my opinion, there is only once choice.  A thick juicy steak.  Everyone has their favorite cut.  T-bone, rib eye, strip loin, porterhouse or flat iron.  Now I’m getting hungry.  Whatever your choice, make sure there is some lovely fat marbling that steak.It will provide loads of flavor and tenderness. At this moment in time, lean is something you will do against a post. 

Ingredients:

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Steak – cut of your choice, at least 1 inch thickness (I like a rib eye or strip loin with some fat rippled through it)

Bourbon – your choice.  The marbling of the fat will coat the tongue as you eat it.  A bourbon with a higher proof will cut through that fat and enhance flavors.  A bourbon with a higher rye content is even better.  Big steak flavor, big bourbon flavor. If you want to make things interesting, prepare a flight of three bourbons to enjoy with your steak.  I would use a high rye content, a higher proof and perhaps a wheated bourbon for contrast.

Method:

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I would forgo marinating a nice steak.  I like to brush them lightly with oil and sprinkle them with some steak spice or just salt and pepper on each side prior to grilling.  Make sure thesteaks are at room temperature before they hit the grill.

1. Heat the bbq to high heat.  We want to sear those steaks to seal in all the juicy goodness.

2. Place the steaks on the grill and resist the urge to move them around.  Let them sear for about 4-5 minutes.  The meat will release from the grill when it’s ready to be flipped.  If it doesn’t want to move, leave it for another minute.

3. Once flipped, cook it for another 3-4min on the other side.  Once it is seared and releases, move the steak away from direct heat and cook until it is done to your liking. 

4. Don’t know how to tell?  You can use a thermometer (but that pierces the meat and lets out juices).  Medium doneness is about 145 degrees.  Just use your finger and touch the centre of the steak.  If it is soft or loose, it’s rare.  If it has a some give, it’s medium.  If it is firm, it’s well done. Simple and fool proof.  I use it every time.

5. Now the important part.  Remove them from heat and let them rest!!!  Resist the urge to check if they’re done or slice them right away.  Let them rest for a few minutes so all those lovely juices can sit and develop and prepare themselves for a flavor explosion.

Be sure to take a moment to admire your beautiful steak before you dig in and propose a toast to welcome the arrival of summer and celebrate some true classics –  the delicious and classic bbq’d steak, the beautiful, classic bourbon whiskey in your glass and the ultimate classic, your Dad.  It doesn’t get any better than that!  Happy Father’s Day!

Cheers!

Maureen Linehan

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