Joe Carroll makes stellar barbecue and grilled meats in Brooklyn, New York, at his acclaimed restaurants Fette Sau and St. Anselm. In Feeding the Fire, Carroll gives us his top 20 lessons and more than 75 recipes to make incredible fire-cooked foods at home, proving that you don’t need to have fancy equipment or long-held regional traditions to make succulent barbecue and grilled meats. Feeding the Fire teaches the hows and whys of live-fire cooking: how to create low and slow fires, how to properly grill chicken (leave it on the bone), why American whiskey blends so nicely with barbecued meats (both are flavored with charred wood), and how to make the best sides to serve with meat (keep it simple). Recipes nested within each lesson include Pulled Pork Shoulder, Beef Short Ribs, Bourbon-Brined Center-Cut Pork Chops, Grilled Clams with Garlic Butter, and Charred Long Beans. Anyone can follow these simple and straightforward lessons to become an expert.
Butcher’s Steaks with Garlic Butter
Makes 4 servings
The hanger steak (aka butcher’s steak) is one of the most underrated cuts of beef. It’s silky and fairly tender, thanks to the fact that the muscle, like the tenderloin, does very little work; its primary function is to support the diaphragm. It literally hangs there, from the cow’s last rib, unprotected by the bones and fat that surround other cuts. Once the animal is processed, this extra air exposure helps the hanger develop its extra-beefy, almost liver-y flavor. Each cow yields only one (two halves separated by a vein), which means that butchers—back when every neighborhood had one—wouldn’t have more than one or two of these steaks on hand at a time, so they’d either grind them into hamburger meat or keep these meat orphans for themselves (hence the name). Its working-class status also makes it the best inexpensive steak around, perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.
On the grill, treat this long, irregularly shaped cut like a sausage, turning it frequently to get a good char on all sides. I prefer mine cooked to medium, which makes it a bit more tender than medium-rare while retaining its gamey flavor and silky texture.
Start charcoal and let burn until coals are glowing red and coated in gray ash, about 15 minutes. Spread an even layer of charcoal, about one or two coals deep, over the bottom of the grill.
Four 10-ounce hanger steaks, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons melted Garlic Butter (recipe follows)
Coarse sea salt
1. Prepare a hot single-level fire in a grill (see page 149).
2. Generously season the steaks with kosher salt and pepper. Grill the steaks, turning frequently, for about 8 minutes for medium-rare or 10 minutes for medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
3. Cut the steaks across the grain on the diagonal into 1-inch slices. Divide among four plates, drizzle with the garlic butter, and sprinkle with coarse salt. Serve.
Makes about 1 cup
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes; the butter should simmer gently but not brown. Remove from the heat.
2. Skim the foam from the top of the butter and slowly pour the butter through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Discard the milky solids and garlic. The butter can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Excerpted from Feeding the Fire by Joe Carroll and Nick Fauchald (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by William Hereford.