Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Texas Broil

I have never before seen the elusive Texas Broil, although, in all honesty, I have never been looking for one. However, after my Chez Piggy fiasco, I spotted a meat market a couple of hours later, and decided to give it a go - as I wanted something to feed my friends. The local store really only had frozen beef and it was also quite spendy. I walked in and perused the counter, checking out the usual suspects: NY strip, Porterhouse, etc. I stumbled across one cut I had never seen - “Texas Broil,” and this intrigued me. I asked the woman behind the counter what it was like; she said it was her husband’s favorite and that they served it at their wedding. Wow. I mean if the lady working at the meat counter served it on the most important day of a girl’s life, then it should certainly be sufficient for me to serve my friends on vacation.

She also suggested a local spice rub to go along with it, and I bit. It was the rub they used on the steaks at said wedding. So I went to the counter and asked for a bag of ice, as the meat would be in the car for a couple of hours while we drank some Canadian microbrews across the street. Just as I paid, I saw something that shocked me. A box of saffron, a HEALTHY sized box of saffron, to boot. Whoa. I flipped it over, $8! Sold! Honestly, the same box of saffron would be $20 here, easy. Not to mention it was organic, and grown in Greece. I haven’t gotten into it yet, but I will be sure to let you know all about it. Or, if you are lucky, you will be eating whatever I cook with it.

So we got home, and I decided to try the spice rub. It was severely overpowering, even after some beers. Good thing I taste-tested. I decided to forgo the rub altogether. The next day, I tasted it again, still too strong. I took a look at the steaks and decided that I should give them a fair evaluation (as I had never cooked them before) and went with the traditional salt, pepper and olive oil rub. They had enough marbling that I was confident that flavor would not be a problem, and I was right.

I got the grill super hot, and gave them a good sear. Since the Broil is actually a cut of shoulder, I didn’t back down from the heat. I cooked it on relatively high heat for about 8 minutes, gave it a spin and allowed another 5. Then I flipped and repeated. These were actually quite thick, for the most part, although a few were thinner and obviously cooked faster. After pulling them off, I let them rest (covered) for about 10-15 minutes. This allowed them to retain their natural juices and, I have to say, they were excellent. For a tough cut of meat, they remained juicy and moist. I could only eat about 2/3 of my 1 lb. steak, but it was delicious. Other people actually ate the WHOLE THING!

Oh, did I mention what it was served with? Sweet Canadian corn (peaches and cream) and the ultimate twice-baked potato. These were big potatoes from the start. They were baked until soft inside, left to cool, and then the inside was scooped out, mixed with ample amounts of butter, yogurt and a variety of leftover locally-made cheeses. We then re-stuffed the shells with all of the thoroughly integrated ingredients. Wait, didn’t I say ultimate? “What he described sounds pretty normal,” you say. But wait, someone had the AMAZING idea to cover the top with fresh squeaky cheese (cheese curd) and strips of sliced sopressata. OH MAN. The cheese on top melted perfectly when they were baked that second time, giving it a string-cheesy outer layer; the cured meat imparted a deliciously salty flavor and a welcomed textural opposition with its cooked–meat-y crunch. Wow. These were seriously the best twice-baked I have ever had. All in all, it was an experimental meal fit for a king.

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