Bon Appétit (April 2015)
When we chose this month's Bon Appétit as our first-ever Magazine Club entrant (this Thursday! More details at the end of this post!!), we didn't have any specific recipes in mind. In fact, we hadn't yet received the issue in our mailbox.
But when we did, and we saw this decadent, delicious-looking steak on the cover -- with an absolutely bonkers method of cooking -- we knew we had to try it.
Normally, here are the steps we take when making a steak:
Here are the steps involved with this Bon Appétit steak:
- Refrigerate overnight
- Freeze for several hours, or overnight again
Needless to say, this steak is a committed endeavor. Freezing? Basting? Frying -- twice?? How good could it possibly be?
We had to find out.
The source of this wacky preparation method is Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot, who write the blog Ideas in Food. We wrote about their first book back in 2011. They swear by this steak prep; we trust them, so we were game.
We made one huge mistake right off the bat: We didn't fully read the directions. (Seriously -- will we ever learn to do this?) If we had, we would have known that, after you refrigerate it overnight and then freeze it for at least 6 hours, there's still more than 2 1/2 hours of cook time.
We spent all of this past weekend luxuriating in the first beautiful spring days of the year. We went to the farmers market for the first time in months, saw the cherry blossoms, took a bike ride, had al fresco brunch with friends, had al fresco drinks with some more friends... It was heavenly.
Sunday evening at 7:30, we came home to cook the steak. Oops! We'd already refrigerated it and frozen it, as the recipe calls for, but we still had a lot of cook time in front of us. We heated the oil, we fried, we roasted, we basted, we roasted, we rested, we fried, we rested. We caught up on the paper. We called Zach's mom to chat. We took a nap.
Finally, we sat down to dinner at 10:00. (Good prep for Spain?)
So how is this steak?
It's phenomenal. Like, otherworldly phenomenal. The crust is perfect -- flavorful and crackly. And the meat is meltingly tender and juicy. It's the closest thing to a steakhouse steak we've ever been able to make at home.
This steak will help you win friends and influence people.
This steak had you at hello.
This steak completes you.
This steak makes you want to be a better man.
This steak is the king of the world! (Why can't we think of any movie lines from the past 15 years??)
In short, this steak is perfect.
But: Is it worth the time?
That's a whole other question. This steak is at the very least a 20-hour endeavor. For us it was closer to about 30 hours. It isn't difficult, per se -- the hardest part for us was actually making space in our freezer:
Still, it's a lot of hands-on time toward the end, frying twice and basting every 30 minutes. Needless to say, this isn't a throw-together-dinner-on-a-Tuesday-night kind of steak.
But if you're looking for something for a special occasion -- and for a steak that just might be the best one to ever come out of your kitchen -- you should consider this porterhouse.
Is it incredible? Absolutely.
Is it worth the trouble? It just might be.
About Magazine Club: Be sure to come back this Thursday, April 16, to participate in our first Magazine Club discussion of the entire April issue of Bon Appétit. For this inaugural "meeting," we're going simple: We'll publish a post that morning with some thought-starters, and will look to you, intrepid readers, to share your impressions of the April issue. We've already given it a thorough read -- we have no doubt it will be a lively discussion. See you Thursday!
1 2-inch-thick bone-in porterhouse steak (about 3 pounds)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Rice bran oil or vegetable oil (for frying; about 4 cups)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vadouvan, masala, or spice mix of choice
A digital probe thermometer or a deep-fry thermometer
Score steak ¼" deep over all surfaces in a crosshatch pattern, making cuts 1" apart (this helps the seasoning penetrate).
Mix salt, brown sugar, and cayenne in a small bowl and rub all over steak, massaging into score marks and crevices.
Upend steak on the flat side of the bone on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill overnight (or a solid 12 hours). This will dry out the meat and intensify the flavor of the rub.
Then freeze (still upright) until solid, at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 200°. Pour rice bran oil or vegetable oil into a 12" skillet, preferably cast iron, to a depth of ¾". Oil should be deep enough to come halfway up side of steak; add a little more oil to skillet if needed.
Heat oil over medium-high until probe thermometer registers 350° (or clip a deep-fry thermometer to the side of your skillet if you prefer). Transfer steak straight from freezer to skillet and cook, turning once, until deeply browned all over and a crisp crust has formed, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer steak back to rack on baking sheet (reserve skillet and oil) and roast in oven until no longer frozen (the interior will still be cold but thawed enough to allow the insertion of the probe thermometer), 30–35 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vadouvan. Let cool, 20–25 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; discard solids.
Remove steak from oven and spoon one-third of spice-infused butter over, making sure to coat both sides. Poke thermometer probe in the center of the strip side and roast steak, basting every 30 minutes or so with remaining butter, until thermometer registers 120°, 1–1½ hours. Alternatively, use an instant-read thermometer to check steak every 15 minutes after the first hour, and every 5 minutes after 1½ hours.
Once thawed, the temperature of the steak will rise about 1 degree a minute.
Remove steak from oven. Reheat reserved oil in skillet back to 350° over medium-high. Fry steak a second time, turning once, until a deeply browned crust forms on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Transfer back to rack and let rest 10 minutes. (Frying again will re-crisp your crust, lock in juices, and develop more flavor.)
Use a thin knife to carve along both sides of the bone to remove strip and filet; cut into ½"-thick slices. Arrange on a platter alongside bone. Pour any butter and juices that have accumulated in baking sheet over top.