Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Epic Meal Time: Porterhouse. Boom.

            Some foods are trendy. Watermelon and feta, polenta, cronuts, bacon marmalade, and yes, even pork belly. They've all had their time in the sun and they will fade away. Some foods, however, are like a silver fox of a chef (ahem, Anthony Bourdain) and they just never go out of style.

Porterhouse. This is a cut of meat that has fascinated me for a long time, mostly because you can hardly ever find it. Certainly, the Loblaws doesn’t carry them. We are talking at least thirty ounces of meat, here. Not even my beloved Farm Boy carries them. But I am obsessed with the porterhouse because I see Anthony Bourdain return to it again and again. Charred on the outside, red in the middle. Sliced and served around the bone. It’s in his food porn episode, if that tells you anything. And because I love Bourdain, I want to love the food that he loves. Time for an epic meal.

To find the porterhouse, I called at least three butchers. When I finally found it, it was just by chance. They happened to have just arrived and were in the process of being sliced. The butcher looks at me – a slight girl by barbecue standards – and says, “You want one?” I think he was skeptical. Then I said, “No. I want three.” Boom. I walked out with forty dollars’ worth of delicious local cow.

(I want to interject here to tell a funny story about eating a lot of meat. When I returned from three months in Costa Rica, after living on the developing nation diet of rice and beans, I was basically starving for trans fat and protein. I decided to take on the “72 ounce steak challenge” at a local restaurant. They give you an hour to eat four and a half pounds of beef plus one side. If you can, it’s free. They make a big show of it. People were coming up to me, looking me up and down, and saying “No way.” I also ordered it rare because I am a heathen. I would love to say at this point that I mowed down all 72 ounces. Sadly, I failed. Halfway through I felt like I was eating a toddler and had to give up. But I had steak sandwiches for an entire week, so that’s not really losing.)

Grilling like a boss.
The important thing to know about the porterhouse is that it is basically an oversized T-bone. So you are getting basically two steaks per cut: a tenderloin and a top loin (strip steak). Please, for the love of God, don’t overcook this meat. You essentially ruin twice as much, twice as fast.

I seasoned mine with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Nothing too fancy because you want the meat to shine. Get your grill smoking hot. Like, way smoking hot. You want a quick char on the outside. I happened to be serving a variety of palates (mild included), so we did five minutes per side. If I was cooking for myself though, I’d probs go more like 2 minutes per side. Put it on the grill and don’t touch it. Don’t think about touching it, don’t fiddle with the tongs, don’t even look at it. Leave it alone or you are shaming Anthony Bourdain.

When the steak it done, let it rest for at least as long as you cooked it – generally, about ten minutes. This is a fine time to toss a Caesar salad together, set out your blue cheese, and maybe decant the wine. I also served the steak with a baked potato, because steak and potato is just a classic. This is super old school, New York mafia stuff. Dig in and revel in how badass you are.
Nothing wrong with a steak bigger than the plate!

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