I recently got a grill. I never had one but lately it seems like everyone is touting grilling stuff. Bobby Flay. Mario Batali. Alton Brown. We live in a townhouse and have a very small “yard.” I’ve managed to squeeze in a nice container garden but there’s just not enough room to fit a regular size grill. But Weber came to the rescue. They now make the Q series of grills. I got the Weber Q320. Not only is it very cute but, as it turns out, it’s highly rated in all the places I checked, it can cook enough for 8 people (or so they claim), comes with a stand and is able to take a full-size propane tank. And, it fits quite neatly a little space between my trash cans and a hedge. It’s like it was made for me.
It arrived quickly and I started putting it together. How hard could it be? I had gotten as far as getting the wheels on when my husband came home. He gave me the “there, there, little lady…step aside” look and took over. Who am I to argue with a big, strong manly man? With surprisingly little teeth-gnashing or cursing the grill was assembled and I was in business.
Since then, I’ve been grilling up a storm. I really, really like the taste of food made on the grill. I even make pizza on the grill now (see Pizza on the Grill – SSSmokin’) – it’s great. Part of the fun is not being very experienced with grilling – I can experiment and there’s a good chance it’ll turn out fine. Last night I had a flank steak that had been hanging around with no purpose in life for a week or so. I figured now or never. I had neither the time nor the inclination to braise or stew but, I thought, a marinade would do the trick. The very word sounds so jolly. Something you might read in a book about elves and fairies. “They gleefully marinaded around the ancient tree.”
Anyway, I consulted a few sources on the Internet and my bookshelf but nothing quite seemed right. So I drew from what I saw and threw together the following (measures are approximate):
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
- 2 tbl. cider vinegar
I whisked it together, put the approximately 1 1/2 pound flank steak in a ziploc (I cut some slits in the meat to let the marinade get in), poured in the marinade, sealed it with as little air as possible and put it in the frig to marinate (if it wants to dance a little in there, so be it). I had also read about Bobby Flay’s Perfect Fries and knew my husband would love that so I cut up a couple of potatoes and put them in water to soak (supposedly removes some of the starch).
I left the steak in there about 45 minutes, then turned on the grill to heat. I also started the oil heating on the stove. I figured I could cook the steak and while it rested, I would make the fries. I pulled the steak out (I had turned it a couple of times to make sure it came in contact with the marinade) and liberally salted and peppered both sides. The grill temperature was up to about 450 and I place the steak on. It made that lovely hissing sound. I cooked it about 3-4 minutes per side…it was pretty thin. I checked the internal temperature and it was about 130…a little low but I was going to let it sit, tented, while I cooked the fries so I figured it was ready. Took it into the house and tented it with foil.
The oil was now at 325 (as directed) and I fried the potatoes in two batches until they were limp’ish (as directed) and then took them out and put them on a wire rack inverted over paper towels (an idea from Alton Brown’s book I’m Just Here for the Eats). Then I cranked up the heat under the oil until it reached 375 and fried the potatoes again. I left them in until they were quite brown and crisp-looking. Removed them with the skimmer and put them on the rack again. Crisp “looking” is the operative term. They were actually VERY limp. And I was VERY disappointed. I love my crisp. Crisp. I wanted crisp. Ah well…at least, they tasted pretty good.
While the fries were undergoing their second frying, I quickly picked some lettuce from my garden and whipped up a quick vinagrette:
- 1 tbl. balsamic vinegar
- 1-1 1/2 tsp salt
- couple of grinds of pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3-4 tbl olive oil
I whisked the little puddle of vinegar, salt and sugar while slowly dribbling in the oil so that it emulsified. Quickly chopped a tomato and voila…salad! I sliced the steak on the diagonal into fairly thin slices, plated it all up, added a couple of slices of ciabatta that I had made the day before and dinner was served. The steak was fantastic…really. The marinade really did the trick. The fries were unfortunate in their limpness but they went well with the rest of the meal. And, of course, we finished up with the ever delightful leftover Strawberry Blueberry Magic Cobbler. If you gotta eat leftovers…that’s the way to go!