Saturday, March 28, 2015

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

My deck is in the southwest corner of my house. It sits in sunlight now from 11am until sunset, which means the snow we got last week has completely melted. And so the rites of spring commence, including one of my favorites, cooking over charcoal.

My Weber Performer looks like it's gone 3 rounds with Brock Lesnar. About 2 years ago, I had surgery in November and forgot to move my grill away from the roof overhang. We had a huge snowfall that winter and when the melting commenced, a giant glacier of snow slid off the copper roof and crushed my poor Weber.

I just did a Rube Goldberg number on it and kept cooking. I thought about replacing it this year but now I am determined to refurbish it. It needs a new grill where the coals burn as the high heat of my fires has warped the steel grates. I'm also thinking about popping for Craycort cast iron cooking grates. Nothing sears a steak better than cast iron.

While a new Performer runs $399, I'm certain that I can refurbish and improve the performance for a Benjamin and change. The beauty of the Weber Performer is that it is so damn simple that even a complete mechanical frigtard like me can easily work on it. And the food that comes off that grill is almost indescribable. Steak infused with the smell of charcoal, oak and mesquite. There's nothing quite like it and so this is what I'm doing for dinner tonight.


For the Marinade 
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon hot chili oil
10 cloves garlic, crushed

For the Wraps
1 flank steak (16-20 ounces)
1 small chunk of mesquite and oak
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon Sriracha (or other hot chili sauce)
2 tablespoons fish sauce (Red Boat recommended)
1 lime, juiced
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 head butter lettuce: washed, dried and leaves separated
1 lime, cut into wedges

  1. Combine the marinade ingredients with the meat in a zip lock bag. Toss to mix and refrigerate for 4 hours.
  2. Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat.
  3. Remove steak from marinade and wipe dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Add mesquite and oak to the white hot coals. Then grill, covered, for 5 minutes per side (for medium rare). Remove steak from grill, tent with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix chili sauce, fish sauce and lime juice in a small bowl.
  5. Slice the steak thinly, cutting against the grain. Drizzle the sauce (from #4) over the slices. Set out the beef, lettuce, jalapeño, onion slices, cilantro, carrots and lime wedges.
  6. Use the lettuce as a wrap and add beef and toppings. Serve with the lime wedges and more Sriracha.

Pairing: If you like white wine, pick a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. If you like red wine, pick a fruity California Zinfandel. But if I had my druthers, I would pick a nice, Thai lager.

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