Beef

NY strip w/ truffled mashed potatoes & green beans almandine

Steak, potatoes and green beans just go together. It’s probably the meat option at any wedding you’d ever attended. I know that it was at our wedding. I also know that they had extra food and that I spent the late hours of the evening in the hotel suite gorging myself in front of an episode of Access Hollywood. That’s just what you do on your wedding night.

This meal comes from Hello Fresh. Steak, potatoes and green beans are a classic combination, but Hello Fresh took it up a notch with the use of truffle oil and an excellent and easy to make pan sauce. Naturally, I took it up a notch by smoking it and generally complicating the entire cooking process!

There’s slivered almonds in the green beans. It’s a side I’ve heard of or seen from time to time, but I still find it to be an odd pairing. I much prefer my green beans with garlic, salt and pepper, not nuts. But I’m also not in charge of all of the green beans dishes in the world, so I can’t be responsible for all of them. Especially the worst offender of them all – green bean casserole.*

Recipe courtesy of Blue Apron
Serves 2

Does It Smoke?: It’s steak. Yes, of course it does. It should ALWAYS be smoked. I don’t care if you’ve got someone at your table that’s constantly asking “Do you have to smoke everything?” For your information, Mom, yes I do.

You just smoke beef because it takes it from being a run of the mill cut of meat to something you have to just grab and eat with your hands. A cow died for this. Honor it.

All told, I do understand that certain cuts might be too thin to really smoke. Smoking something way too thin is a colossal waste of time. But that’s also why I endorse anything that’s thick cut. Leave the thin cuts for…what do people use thin cuts for anyway? I can’t think of a single time when a thin cut would be better in a dish that requires steak. So you know what? Thin cuts are banned. You’ll never see them around here again.

Rant over. Down from the soapbox. I smoked our strips over a combination of hickory and mesquite, largely in part because there were a few scraps I was looking to get rid of. With that said, beef can withstand any of the woods I have used so far on this blog and that I regularly keep large crates of. Hickory and mesquite are strong and compliment the beef. Pecan and oak are a note lighter, but enhance the flavor just enough. I’d avoid anything on the fruiter scale, such as peach, cherry or apple. That’s not to say they don’t go well, but the other woods I’ve mentioned just go with beef like… like steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Look at that! I’ve come full circle or something!

Do you sear what I did there?: Firstly, that’s my favorite headline for any section I will ever have in any post ever. Because puns and plays on words are amazing.

You might be disagreeing with me where the smoking is concerned, and even though you’re wrong (I’m not mad at you, just disappointed), you’re also kind of right to question this (don’t let it go to your head). Why? Because one of the best things about a great steak is the hard sear on the outside of a piece of perfectly cooked (read: rare to medium-rare). That sear tenses up the outside of the meat and, with your rubs or seasoning, forms a crust around the meat that is simply perfection.

Because the sear is so crucial, I recommend and am a loyal devotee of what is known as the reverse sear. Traditionally, you sear the meat first and then let it finish in an oven until the meat reaches its desired doneness. Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated all cook meat this way. The problem for me specifically is that it doesn’t work if you’re going to use any smoke. But even if you’re not adding smoke, it’s very risky and you could wind up with an uneven cook.

The reverse sear is almost foolproof. You slow cook the meat on the grill, smoker or in the oven until it reaches between 15 and 20 degrees below your desired doneness. From there, I usually let it rest for about 5 minutes before putting it in a hot pan or on a hot grill grate to sear each side for about 1 minute per side.

Smoked or not, this method helps you get the internal temperature of your meat to exactly where you want it to be, and still delivers a good sear on the outside. Just look how perfect red that steak in the picture is. I don’t know enough about photography or software to make that any better than it already it is.

Full credit on the reverse sear goes to the source, The Food Lab over at Serious Eats, where I learned about this in the first place. If you’re all about the science and how stuff works, read their article here. Bookmark it until you’ve got a handle on temperatures. I do. No shame in referencing this every time you make meat of almost any kind.

A trifle amount of truffle: I am not a huge fan of truffle oil. It’s incredibly potent and has a strong taste. If you insist on keeping with the original recipe, be extra careful with it. If we were making this again without a delivery though, I’m not sure we’d be picking up the truffle oil at all, nor can I envision a day when it’s just sitting in the pantry, at the ready.

Rating: This is a dish I’d steak my reputation on.

*Let’s see how many people on Wife’s side of the family actually read this blog.

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