Beef makes me happy, how you can cook a great steak and be happy too…

 

Happy times are upon me friends, Bob and Michelle Englebrecht, of Englebrecht Polled Herefords, dropped off my quarter of fresh, locally raised beef  from their farm in Central Lake, Michigan the other day and it may very well have been my favorite day this year.  Anyhow, I’m excited to have the freezer stocked with great beef, as well as the fresh, local hog my son raised and the lamb I purchased earlier this year from our local fair, but damn, I love me some beef. And boy oh boy,  when the beef arrives it’s time for steak, rib-eye steak!

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I like getting my steaks packaged individually so I can get exactly what I want out for the size dinner I’m preparing.

Now, lets take a minute to talk about this fresh, local beef.  First of all, it’s really, really good, you can tell the difference immediately.  Second, the cost is just a fraction of buying far lesser quality grocery store meat.  Granted, there is the initial investment, You’ll likely have to buy at least a quarter of beef, with a quarter ranging in the 600-700 dollar range.  Also, you will need a fair amount of freezer space, although a decent size chest freezer isn’t too expensive these days.  I’m a bit of a numbers guy so lets do some simple math.  Let’s say for instance you pay 650 dollars for a quarter of beef, and that quarter yields 125 pounds of meat for the freezer.  5.20 a pound packaged, and probably delivered, that is pretty dang good, keep in mind that maybe a third of that will be burger, but still, you won’t find hamburger for much cheaper than that, and if you do it is, well, gross.  Keep in mind that you are also paying 5.20 a pound for steaks and roasts,  If you can find a price anywhere close to that on beef, I highly recommend not eating meat from that store.  Anyways, if you don’t already have some extra freezer space you’ll have a one time investment for a freezer, probably not more that a few hundred bucks.  Seriously folks, save some money, buy the beef,  be happy, you won’t regret it.

How I cook steak

Okay, here is the magic of cooking a steak…  It is already good, don’t try and hide it!  Seriously, if your steak needs a lot of seasoning or marinading it is not a good steak to start with.

Steak

Butter

Kosher salt

Lay steaks out on a plate or pan, I prefer to let mine get up to room temperature, but don’t leave out too long, I don’t need you getting sick.  Melt a couple tablespoons of butter, brush steak with butter,  lightly sprinkle with Kosher salt, flip steaks and repeat on other side and your ready for the grill.

Melted butter and Kosher salt, nothing else needed!
Doesn’t take much, just a pinch…

Okay, now the controversy, charcoal or gas grill?  The answer is simple, charcoal if you have time, gas if you’re busy like me.  I hope to retire someday and can sit around and nurse my charcoal grill, but with a job and kids, and everything else I’m gonna have to stick with gas for now…

Whichever you decide to use, the process is the same.  Get that sucker hot, really hot, but only on one side.  Once hot, lay those juicy suckers on the hot spot for a minute or two, then turn 90 degrees, cook for another couple minutes, flip and repeat.  Now, move those slabs of love over to the low heat side of your grill and continue cooking slowly, uncovered until you reach your liking.

Putting the sear on my rib-eyes on the hot part of the grill.

Remember, you can always cook them more, but you can’t cook them less, a meat thermometer comes in handy here(you can get this one from amazon for 5 bucks), and I believe the longer and slower the better.   Check out this post back from Thanksgiving which includes my preference on cooking prime rib (that’s where the rib-eye comes from).  Same theory, cook long and slow for the best result.

Need to add some veggies to your steak dinner?  How about some sauteed mushrooms and onions?  I thought so.

1 whole onion, sliced

1 package fresh mushrooms, quartered

Butter

Pinch of Kosher salt

Heat saute pan, add a tablespoon or so of butter and sliced onion, cook until translucent.  Add quartered mushrooms and salt, cook until mushrooms are soft, stirring as needed.  Your welcome.

A perfect accompaniment to your steak dinner.

I sure hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and are making arrangements for getting your freezer stocked up with fresh beef.  As always please contact me with any comments, ideas, criticisms, or suggestions for upcoming posts, I’d love to hear from you!  Remember this is a team effort, without you, the reader, this would be futile.  Don’t forget to share this with your friends and family, there is an easy to use social sharing bar at the top of this post for your convenience.

Cheers, Brian.

10 things I keep in the kitchen…. The basic ingredients to feeding the family…

 

Whether you are an experienced cook or not so much, or maybe you don’t cook at all, this post just might be for you.  I’m going to share some of the food items I keep on hand in my kitchen, why I have them and some ways I utilize them.  Bear in mind that these things won’t necessarily comprise a meal, rather give you options on preparing the other things you are including in your meals, i.e meat, vegetables, sides, etc.

Having three kids with a wheelbarrow full of extra curricular activities, a full time job, a wife with a full time job AND a full time volunteer position, you can only imagine how hard it is to manage wholesome meals with any type of variety on a regular basis.  But wait, I bet you can, most of you probably do experience this in one way or another, or at least have in the past.  Please read on, I’ve compiled a short list of some of the items I keep on hand and some of the ways I use them.  And, If you haven’t already, wont you take a quick moment and sign up for my newsletter?  It helps me out, and you won’t have to worry about missing any  of my wonderful posts in the future!               Thanks, Brian.

10 things I keep on hand, and how I use them…

1. Kosher Salt  There isn’t anything in my kitchen that gets used the way Kosher salt does, goes in just about everything.  Can’t live without it.  Check out this article on how to brine meat, the best way to always have moist juicy chicken, pork, and turkey.

 

2. Butter  I’d say go unsalted, you should have the Kosher salt if you  need to kick your meal up a bit, but hey, do whatever you want.  Leave the margarine at the store.  If  you find a butter sale, freeze it till you need it.

3. Spice Cabinet  The spice section at the grocery can be  a bit overwhelming, really, a lot overwhelming, I mean buying saffron which costs more than cocaine seems crazy, and it doesn’t even smell as good.  I’ve got a few spices and herbs that I use quite often, here you go.  I keep thyme, basil, black pepper, dill, cumin, chili powder, paprika, bay leaf, oregano, and my personal favorite celery salt.  The list is rather long, but you can cover most bases with these and allow yourself many tasty options.

4. Sugar, brown or white  If I had to choose only one for general purpose cooking I’d go with brown, but white will do in a pinch.  Heck it’s only a buck or so for each so maybe just suck it up and keep em both on hand…

I think I mentioned sharing some ideas on how I use these things didn’t I?  Don’t give up on me, I’m getting there.  Patience is a virtue “they” say… Whoever “they” are anyways?  Keep reading…

5. Onion Perishable yes, but they handle time better than most produce and find themselves in most dishes that come to the table at my house, usually without complaint from those hardcore food critics, the kids.

6. Cornstarch Just buy it, costs a buck or so, and will thicken up your sauce, dollar for dollar can’t beat it,  if you got that I guess I can share a recipe…

Sweet and Sour sauce

1 part water

1 part white vinegar

2 parts white sugar

cornstarch

paprika for color

Mix first 3 ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, be careful that stuff will go crazy when it gets to boiling, culinary napalm so to speak, I don’t want anyone maimed. Turn the heat down low, mix a bit of cornstarch mixed with cold water(should be pasty) together and slowly stir into simmering sauce, then stir constantly, if sauce refuses to thicken, add a little more of the cornstarch mixture, slurry to be specific, and continue to stir.  Continue until desired consistency, add paprika a teaspoon at a time until desired color is reached and there you go, sweet and sour to please a crowd, serve with chicken, pork, beef, rice, veggies, you name it, a meal sure to satisfy.

7. Dry Pasta  Cheap, all sorts of different shapes and sizes, easy to cook (remember to toss in a pinch of Kosher salt), and can be used for main entree’s and side dishes.  My kids go crazy for buttered  noodles, and it doesn’t hurt my feelings when I’m running short on time.

8. Vinegar  The variety available today is almost to the point of absurdity.  I usually keep a few on hand, white, apple cider, red wine, balsamic, etc, but all you really need is white.  That’s whats used above for the sweet and sour sauce and what can be used in my BBQ sauce.

BBQ Sauce

2 parts Tomato sauce

1 part vinegar (I usually use white or apple cider)

2 parts sugar, preferably brown (can also use syrup, honey, molasses,etc

chopped garlic to taste

salt and pepper to taste

combine all ingredients, taste and add more of whatever you like to get it how you like it.  You can then pour it over meat and bake, baste on whatever you are grilling, or bring to a boil and add some of that cornstarch slurry we talked about earlier, thicken it up and use it as a dip.

9. Canned Tomato Sauce  This one is pretty inexpensive also, and as  you can see from above, makes a good base for a simple, tasty BBQ, but can be used in soups, pasta sauces, and more.  I always keep some on hand, usually in different size cans.

10. Beer and Wine  Whether or not you are a drinker, having some beer and wine around comes in super handy when cooking, but the cheap stuff is fine in almost all cases.  drop a splash in a pan of meat you have cooking on the stove and simmer for a few minutes for a simple and tasty pan sauce.  Also, when cooking a roast I always add an inch or so of red or white wine, season with salt, pepper and whatever else you like, cover and cook 275 degrees or so for 3 or 4 hours, just make sure all liquid doesn’t evaporate.

Just a splash of beer to make it just right…

 

Simple as it was, I sure hope you found some value in the above.  Please contact me and share your thoughts, opinions, ideas, recipes, and criticisms.  I will work on a post in the near future with some more of the recipes I make utilizing these simple ingredients.  I hope you took a minute to sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t already, and don’t hesitate to share with anyone who may be interested, or may benefit from this post, or my website in general.  There is a social media bar at the top of the article to make sharing easy.  Thanks again.

Face it, turkey pretty much really sucks… Let’s eat steak, and who really follows tradition anymore anyhow….

I want steak for Thanksgiving.  Now that I mentioned it, you probably do too.   The old, boring, usually dry (unless you brine it, see recipe below), traditional turkey pretty much sucks.  Oh, and don’t forget the violent projectile vomit and screaming shits you’ll succumb to if you decide to stuff the big ‘ole bird and don’t get that temperature quite high enough.  It’s real, it happens, and quite a lot they say.  Are you salivating yet? Or maybe thinking back to the steak idea?  I thought so.  Heck, maybe some seafood as well, and drinks, definitely gotta have drinks.  Thanksgiving is coming together now…