The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

Grill Camp ‘07 - Day 1

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Continuing what is now becoming a bit of a tradition, I have once again taken a weeks vacation in October during which time I plan to experiment with new dishes on the grill and smoker. I also revisit old favorites or items that I have had trouble with in the past. A friend dubbed it “Grill Camp”. It is nice being able to try new things in a low pressure atmosphere. If they work there are lots of good food for friends and family, plus leftovers for the next few weeks. If they don’t turn out so well, I haven’t ruined meal that was some family event or a holiday meal. The keepers will get added to next years rotation of meals.

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The ingredients for the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce

This year has been a strange year for me. Work kept me away from the smoker in the early part of the year. Then I got back to it for a while in April, but then a family medical emergency kept me away. I was back at it for a few months in the late summer. Come the Fall I had taken on a side job that pulled me away for a month. This side job had me a bit burned out going into my October vacation. I wasn’t sure whether I would do a Grill Camp this year. I hadn’t had time to research what I might try this year and I wasn’t really motivated as Saturday dawned. I decided to start off in a small way. I went to Whole Foods to look at their meat counter to help inspire me and give me ideas of things to make.

The flank steak is marinated in BBQ sauce for 2 hours

Several surprising things happened on my Whole Foods visit. On my way to the meat counter I passed by the fish counter and noticed a wealth of fresh fish. It seemed like more variety than I had ever seen there before. Perhaps for this year I would try some fish dishes during grill camp. The second surprise was the meat I left with. There were some very nice rib-eye steaks in the meat case. I went out to my car to check out the rib-eye recipes in a cookbook I brought with me. It is called MASTERING THE GRILL. What I like about this cookbook is the authors feel grilling is an art and a science. There is a lot of science in here, which is right up my alley. I wanted my next meal to be from this book so I brought it along. When I picked a meat I’d pick a recipe and buy the rest of the ingredients. As I was looking at rib-eye recipes, I spotted a recipe for London Broil. I decided this would be a great way to kick off Grill Camp ’07: New recipe, for a new item, from a new cookbook.

I know: No one but me will see the cross hatch grill marks

I’d never made London Broil before even though I love it. I have had some really excellent London Broil and some really awful London Broil. My mother tried it one time when I was in high school. It was inedible-yes that is inedible as in bad not incredible as in good. A dog was looking in the screen door at us while we sat at the table. The London Broil was so tough mother gave it to the dog. The dog tussled with it, shaking it around in it’s mouth for a while and finally gave up and buried it. Needless to say after that episode London Broil scared me quite a bit, so I just never thought to make it myself. The recipe for LONDON BROIL in Mastering the Grill was very specific about the right and wrong cuts to use. They had advice for trying to make the best of the wrong cuts. Whole Foods had flank steak which was the recommended cut in MASTERING THE GRILL.

The meat was sliced at a very shallow angle

Before I began the LONDON BROIL I had a cooking related class at a Williams-Sonoma store near Whole Foods. It was a class on knife skills. It was very informative and I picked up some useful knowledge about what to look for when selecting a knife. Another important aspect was I learned more about maintaining knives. This class also served as a stimulus to get me interested in Grill Camp. First up would be the London Broil.

The prep was straightforward. Two hours in a BBQ sauce style marinade from simple ingredients I had on hand. Then an 8-10 minute per side cook on the gas grill. A 5 minute rest followed by carving it up. Slicing the London Broil was perhaps to be the trickiest part of the whole cook. The reason I say perhaps, is I had never slice meat this way with my electric knife. I was a bit concerned because the butcher at Whole Foods seemed to think that the flank steak was a bit thin for London Broil. Slicing at the diagonal across the grain is one of the things that helps make this cut tender. The trick would be: Could I easily do this with the electric knife and was the butcher right about the piece being too thin?

The medium and medium rare meat each had their own flavor. I didn’t have a favorite-they were both great

I began cutting the meat at an angle somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees. The first couple cuts from the end were easy enough because they were not yet full width pieces. A quick sample of one of these smaller pieces told me I was in for a treat. As I got into the wider slices it was still easy enough to get really thin slices. The only slightly trick part was getting the pieces to slice all the way through at the end. I had to rock the electric knife on the cutting board to separate the pieces. I would flip the pieces over so they were facing away from the meat. After cutting 3 or 4 slices I would move them on to the serving platter. I was able to cut nice and thin slices and at the shallow angle I was using they were the width I associate with London Broil.

Easy prep, short cook time, great taste: It doesn’t get much better

After 10 minutes of slicing it was time to eat. The meat was incredible. The barbecue sauce was sweet and tangy and this was different from much of the London Broil I have had. I really can’t remember one I’ve tried that I liked any better. This meal packs a lot of bang for the buck and is relatively quick to make. A 10 minute prep, 2 hour rest i the refrigerator and 20 minutes to cook. My first attempt from Mastering the Grill was a home run. I am looking forward to more great meals from there.

Grill Camp ’07 was off to a great start and this got me excited about what I would make next: I’d also picked up a bone-in leg of Icelandic lamb for my next cook.

  LONDON BROIL Beef Picture Entry
  MASTERING THE GRILL Cookbook Blog Entry

  GRILL CAMP ’07- DAY 2 Blog Entry
  GRILL CAMP ’07- DAY 3 Blog Entry
  GRILL CAMP ’07- DAY 4 Blog Entry
  GRILL CAMP ’07- DAY 5 Blog Entry
  GRILL CAMP ’07- DAY 6 Blog Entry


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