Friday, June 6, 2008



It was quite a shock to arrive in Delaware yesterday evening to be greeted by early spring-like temperatures after leaving a steaming hot, summery Washington. We had left the city in shorts, tanktops and sandals and had to put on jeans and sweatshirts when we got here. The heat wave now gripping DC isn't due here until tomorrow. The same flash of violent weather Wednesday we experienced at home did occur here, a 45-minute storm during which the strongest wind gust was clocked at 62 mph. The front page of the local paper features a photo of a funnel cloud over Lewes (NOAA says ther was no tornado, however). A couple of local businesses on the Coastal Highway lost their storefronts and an inland trailer park suffered damage. Here, we see small gullies created by swiftly-running rivulets of rainwater towards the Prong, but no wind damage at all. There isn't even the usual mess of twigs to clean up.

With a warming trend upon us, I feel it in my bones that the crabs should be running well this weekend. We put traps out last night. If we get a good catch, I'll post a picture. There may be crabcakes in our future yet!

On to the subject at hand.

Why another grilled beef recipe? What's different about this one is that I use chuck. The piece is a bit large to be considered a steak; at 3 1/2 pounds it would work as a pot roast, but I grill it. I conceived the idea many years ago when I found myself unsatisfied with the bland dryness and uniform texture of London Broil, which is really a round steak cut thick, and with the ridiculous price of flank steak. I knew chuck had good marbling and chewiness to it, so I decided to experiment with grilling a cut meant for the braising pan as if it were a steak. We liked it from the start and I've been using chuck ever since as my standard grilled beef, even for company.

The marinade is also my own evolution of various recipes I'd seen and tried. The molasses and brown sugar are my innovations, giving depth to the Asian sweetness, a contrast to the salt of the soy sauce, and deep carmelization over the coals. Note: try to use Angus beef if it is in your area. The flavor is much better.

1/2 cup dark soy sauce
1/2 cup Chinese rice wine or sherry
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1 TB minced fresh ginger, or to taste
1 TB minced fresh garlic, or to taste
1 3- to 3 1/2-pound Angus chuck roast

Combine marinade ingredients and pour all but 1/4 cup into a ziploc bag. Add beef and turn so it is completely covered with marinade. Marinate at least 4 hours, or, best, overnight.

About an hour before grilling, remove beef from marinade and let rest on a rack to air dry and to bring beef to room temperature. Discard used marinade.

Prepare grill. Directly over coals, sear meat, uncovered, 7 1/2 minutes per side, or until the meat has a brown, crunchy surface. After searing, lift grill, with meat still in place, and rotate so the meat is opposite the heat source. Cover grill and continue cooking over indirect heat for 20 minutes. Turn meat and cook, still covered, another 10 minutes. At this cooking time, the meat will be uniformly pink, as pictured. (If you prefer your beef more well done, you know what to do.)

Remove meat from grill to a rack and let rest 10 minutes. Slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick at an angle. The meat will be chewy, but not tough. Drizzle slices with reserved marinade.


Mim said...

Oh no that storm followed you.. but the cooler temps sound heavenly.
Your recipe looks wonderful. The men in my family are def red meat eaters so I will try this this wknd.
Thanks for the food inspirations every Friday.
And enjoy the cool til the heat gets there. Have a good wknd.

Ralph said...

Thanks, Mim. Let me know how the meat goes over!

At 1 pm it's still cool here, low 70s and sort of overcast.

Kat said...

We have our third day of rain and temps were in the low fifties last night and have now inched to 55. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be high 80's in Boston and mid 70's here.

Anonymous said...

Good one Raff, I will serve it for Sunday dinner. Our closest Angus beef store is down in Melbourne but worth the trip to try a recipe like this. What do you recommend as sides?

Ralph said...

Well, Kat, it sounds like even the Cape is in for a heat wave. All the way to the mid-70s! Break out the bikini top!

Ralph said...

Z&M, I really like cole slaw with it, and also that potato salad I make. I do one or the other. (The slaw is great together with it--a bite of coleslaw and a bite of meat together!)

I make coleslaw using the same recipe as I use for the dressing for the potato salad, but I leave out the mustard and the relish. I shred carrots and onions with the cabbage and chop up some green pepper and parsley and that's it. Let is sit for an hour or two so the flavors meld.

Eclecticity said...

It has the look of total YUM!