Monday, July 6, 2009

Mystery Meat 101???

This Independence Day…I had the distinct pleasure celebrating the birthday of the girlfriend, who is affectionately known as my “Texas BFF!” Between the two of us…we could probably come up with quite a few weight loss “DON’Ts”…but I think we’ll save that topic for a future posting.

Be that as it may, during a previous visit, her husband and I caught a glimpse of a cooking show in which the host was preparing, what appeared to be a simple but, mouth watering, lip smacking, flank steak for the grill. After we wiped our saliva off the floor, I extended the offer to prepare this delicious piece of meat and bring it on my next visit. A week before my visit, I research the recipe, make a list of the ingredients I will need, and plan a trip to one of my favorite grocery stores. But as is usually the case, an unexpected work trip comes up and I am dutifully out of town for the majority of the week. Upon my return, I find the need to make the compulsory decision to frequent the local grocery chain that I absolutely loathe.

This particular location isn’t equipped with a butcher’s counter, so I am forced to flounder the meat section for the perfect slab of beef. Wishing I was married to a butcher at this moment, my eyes fixate on a handsomely- thick, marbled hunk of red cow’s flesh ironically labeled “flank steak.” This is the one I decide…and hastily conquer the crowds in the aisles to assemble the rest of my provisions. I brave the long check out lines and I return home after a most cantankerous trip, to quickly begin the round two of saliva testing. The recipe calls for marinating our steak from a minimum of 4 hours, but an optimum 24 hours is preferred. I want my cow’s flesh to be succulent and flavorful…so 24 hours it is.

Well, I suppose that steak is probably not an appropriate choice for a “CRAWFISH BOIL”…but my “TEXAS BFF” being the gracious host that she is…quickly resolves that our steak will be featured in Round Two of her “Independence Day / Birthday” Bash. No on knew there would be a round two…until just that moment, but we were okay with that decision. Round one featured a fabulous firework display, along with twenty pounds of crawfish, probably another twenty pounds of fried catfish, fries, hush puppies, corn on the cob, red potatoes and all the beer and margaritas one could drink. (Probably, not the kind of thing that one would post on a weight loss blog…but I did mention that my friend and I could list a few “DON’Ts”…didn’t I??? This might be one of them!) The party was indeed a HUGE SUCCESS…the next morning…not so much.

The next morning brings with it headaches, hangovers, and a backyard that looks like a frat party was held in it. Beer bottles, cans and hush puppies are tossed around the yard like graffiti, and the decorations are barely tied to the canopy with the loose ends blowing the morning wind. Despite the hangovers and the headaches, the yard is cleaned up and restored to it’s pre-party glory for round two to begin. Our steak which has now been marinating for almost 48 hours, finally hits the grill to bask in its manly, muscular, he machine for then next 1 & ½ hour. Round three of the saliva test has indeed begun. The smells permeating from the he man grill are heavenly. As our red, thickly marbled hunk of cow’s flesh is plated, the beautifully crusted grill marks, and sensuous juices seeping from our beef makes one really want to “Slap Yo Mama”…in a matter of speaking. It’s allowed to rest before we slice into it and see its pink juiciness goodness. Our host and hostess serve it along with hot tortillas, home-made salsa, guacamole, grilled peppers, onions, and marinated portabella mushrooms. I opt to taste our meat alone, in an effort to savor it’s juicy goodness…and with first taste, it’s has really great flavor, as I chew, and chew, and chew and chew some more. As I look across the table I notice more of the same, chewing… and chewing…and more chewing. I brought to this party a tasty, marinated piece of rubber. It’s later that I learn that what I actually purchased wasn’t flank steak at all, but brisket…a much tougher cut that must be slow cooked over several hours to achieve and edible tenderness. And just who tells me about my little faux paus…the master butcher in attendance. With my tail tucked between my legs, my rubber is wrapped in foil, handed back to me, and I am allowed begin my long journey home, hood-winked, bamboozled, embarrassed and led astray by a mislabeled hunk of marbled cow flesh.

The moral of this story...know your beef…or marry a butcher!

In an effort to salvage my now badly damaged reputation as a “foodie”… I came home and quickly inserted my thinly sliced pieces of grill-braised rubber into the oven with a bit of the left over marinade, and allowed it to roast for an additional three hours at 325 degrees…DELISH & FALL APART TENDER…but just a bit too late!!!

For Grilled Tequila Lime Flank Steak Recipe (I just used the marinade)

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