What started out almost perfectly, I will sadly tell you at the outset, ended in near disaster. I could lie, show you the pictures displayed below, and tell you that my first barbecued steak ever was absolutely perfect. I could tell you that the potatoes came off without a hitch and that the wine was a perfect pair for a choice cut of well-marbled ribeye steak. But only the last part would be true.
Things started off well. Four, thick, apparently well-marbled ribeye steaks were taken out of the freezer to thaw. Recipes were chosen and ingredients were purchased. As can be seen in the picture, everything looked very promising.
I have now been grilling in below freezing weather since sometime in mid-November. I almost don’t remember what it is like cook in the summer, when the breeze is warm and I can’t touch the side of a fired grill with my bare hand.
Pinot Noir is my favorite grape. I have been working my way through this grape for about 10 years. Considering we only have a bottle of wine 2–3 times per year this does not say much. Pinot Noir pairs wonderfully with red meat. We opened the bottle early and let it breath while we put the finishing touches on the meal.
The picture to the left is of some of the best potatoes I have ever eaten. Forgive me, but they were prepared, seasoned, and grilled to perfection. I couldn’t stop eating them once I had them in the house.
Unfortunately, tossing them in an ill-prepared dressing ruined them. We realized at the last minute that we did not have one key ingredient in stock. Sadly, my culinary talents are not yet such that I can improvise with any form of success; indeed, my improvisation proved my downfall.
After tossing the perfect potatoes in a deceptively false dressing, they were still edible, but not to be desired. Close, in my mind, now counts for more than horse shoes and hand grenades. These potatoes were ohh so close.
I grew up eating steak that was tough, dry, and overcooked, which is the reason that I have never barbecued steak before. Twenty years of grilling and steak has never touched my grilling grate. In fact, I have never desired steak, so bad was my childhood recollection. Good steak has crossed my palate before, in restaurants and such, but I never ventured on my own.
Recently, some friends received half a cow, which they did every year, and wanted to clean out their freezer. They offered us some ribeye steak. I have no idea how old it was, or whether steak frozen for well over a year should still be eaten. I didn’t think of that at all when I started.
We used a rub recipe from a guy named Mike who lives in Woodbury. He used this rub to win the grilling championship in Chicago in 2005. It was fantastic, and possibly the only thing good about the steaks.
The real problem with the steaks was that I overcompensated for the outside temperature and grilled the steaks too long. History repeats itself. I prepared for myself the same steak I grew up with: tough, dry, and overcooked.
The good news is that the potential greatness for this dinner was through the roof. I can learn from my mistakes. I know now that I can grill fantastic potatoes, and I will use the proper ingredients to make a wonderful dressing to toss them in. I will purchase fresh ribeye steak, mere hours before I place it on the grill, carefully rubbed with Mike’s special concoction. And I will yank those babies off the grill well before I think I should.
I can’t wait to try again.