Excerpted from Serial Griller: Grillmaster Secrets for Flame-Cooked Perfection© 2020 by Matt Moore. Photography © 2020 by Andrea Behrends and Helene Dujardin. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
FLANK STEAK VIGNERON WITH BLACK-GARLIC BOARD SAUCE
Hands-On: 45 minutes | Total: 1 hour 45 minutes
As a wine critic, Meathead traveled to premier areas of the French wine country, enjoying purveyors’ wines paired with fantastic food. Rough gig! One method of cooking in particular—grilling small game birds over dried grapevines—truly captured his attention. So much so, he now grows his own backyard grapes, cutting back the vines after the season to use as fuel and flavor in this incredible recipe. Of course, if you do not have dried grapevines, you can get a similar effect using dried twigs of other woods, preferably apple, peach, or other fruit woods.
As a nod to renowned grillmaster Adam Perry Lang, Meathead put together his own version of Lang’s signature board sauce—a cutting-board technique of mixing the juices from the resting meat with herbs and aromatics to create an incredible accompaniment to the steak. The black garlic here has a sweet, balsamic quality. It can be found online and at specialty retailers.
1 (2-pound) flank steak 1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from the stems
2 black garlic or regular garlic cloves, minced
1⁄2 fresh red jalapeño chile, stemmed and seeded
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 At least 1 hour in advance of cooking, season both sides of the steak evenly with salt, then return the steak to the refrigerator.
2 In the base of a charcoal grill, pile cut dried grapevines on top of twisted newspaper. The vines should completely fill the base and sit just above the top of the grill, so don’t pile them too high. Light the newspaper and allow the vines to burn until they turn gray (the fire will be very hot, 750° to 800°F). Alternatively, for charcoal, open the bottom vent of a charcoal grill com- pletely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with charcoal. When the coals are covered with gray ash, pour them onto the bottom grate of the grill. Adjust the vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 500°F or more. Coat the top grate with oil; place on the grill. (If using a gas grill, preheat to high [500°F or more].)
3 While waiting for the vines to burn down, chop the sage, thyme, black garlic, and jalapeño together on a cutting board until minced. Season with the pepper and add the olive oil to create a sauce.
4 Add the steak to the open grill and cook, flipping every 60 to 90 seconds, until an internal tempera- ture of 130°F, 5 to 7 minutes total cooking time.
5 Remove the steak from the grill and place on the cutting board, topping the sauce. Slice the steak thinly against the grain, allowing the meat juices to combine with the sauce. Portion the steak, adding more residual sauce as necessary, onto serving dishes, spoon board sauce over each portion, and serve immediately.
CRINKLE-CUT FRIES WITH FETA DRESSING
SERVES 4 TO 6
Hands-On: 1 hour | Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
This recipe is inspired by the iconic dish at The Grill, one that was made most popular by the customers. The feta dressing was long a staple on the menu, but customers started to request it as a side for dunking their fries. A new legend was born. Truth be told, the exact recipe for the feta dressing remains a secret, but the team was kind enough to share a version to allow all of us to get our fix at home.
The team cuts the potatoes using a vintage “Coney fry” cutter, forming them into their signature crinkle shape. Mike says this cut, which provides quite a bit of surface area, is why the fries are so delicious, allowing them to cook up crispy using a one-batch frying method. You can buy a fry cutter from specialty cooking stores and online—avoid using frozen fries.
4 russet potatoes (about 3 pounds)
6 ounces crumbled feta
1⁄4 cup buttermilk
1⁄4 cup sour cream
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s brand
11⁄2 teaspoons minced garlic
1⁄4 teaspoon celery seed
1⁄4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (48-ounce) bottle vegetable oil, about 6 cups
1 Cut the potatoes into 1⁄2-inch fries with a crinkle cutter. As you cut the fries, submerge them com- pletely in water and soak while cutting. Drain the cut potatoes and allow to air dry.
2 For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until just emulsified (about 45 seconds); some chunks of feta will remain. Makes 11⁄2 cups. The dressing can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
3 Heat the oil in a Dutch oven on the grill or stove- top to 350°F. Working in batches, add the fries, being careful not to overcrowd, and fry until golden browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, if desired, and serve with the feta dressing on the side.
GRILLED CORN WITH DILL BUTTAH AND FETA
Hands-On: 30 minutes | Total: 30 minutes
Part of the fun of cooking this recipe is just saying buttah. It should roll off your tongue slowly, like a Deep South drawl, emulating the rich smoothness that melting butter adds to deliciously sweet and smoky corn. Gild the lily by finishing the ears with some salty, tangy feta.
1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1⁄2 tablespoon fresh juice (from 1 lemon)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ears fresh yellow corn, shucked
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1⁄4 cup)
1 Open the bottom vent of a charcoal grill com- pletely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with charcoal. When the coals are covered with gray ash, pour them onto the bottom grate of the grill. Adjust the vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 450° to 500°F. Coat the top grate with oil; place on the grill. (If using a gas grill, preheat to high [450° to 500°F].)
2 Stir together the butter, dill, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl until well combined.
(If making ahead, store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days; let come to room temperature 5 minutes before using.)
3 Place the corn on the oiled grates. Grill, uncovered and turning often, until charred on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Brush each corn ear with 11⁄2 tablespoons of the dill butter and sprinkle with 1⁄2 tablespoon of the feta. Garnish with additional dill.
Hands-On: 10 minutes | Total: 10 minutes
The concentrated sweetness and hint of smoke that juicy melon gets from a brief rest on a hot grill adds surprising pizzazz to a refreshing dessert that is big on flavor and short on hassle. Sweeten things up, in a healthy way, by adding a rich, creamy dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt. The best desserts are all about sensory balance—here, hot meets cold, and creamy and juicy counter crunchy and chewy.
8 (1-inch-thick) seedless watermelon wedges with rinds
1⁄2 cup vanilla whole-milk Greek yogurt
1⁄4 cup roasted salted pistachios, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1⁄2 teaspoon grated orange zest (from 1 orange)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Open the bottom and top vents of a charcoal grill completely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal. When the coals are covered with gray ash, pour them onto the bottom grate of the grill. Adjust the vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 450° to 500°F. Coat the top grate with oil; place on the grill. (If using a gas grill, preheat to high [450° to 500°F].)
2 Place the watermelon wedges on the oiled grates; grill, uncovered, until grill marks appear, 1 to 2 minutes per side.
3 Place a grilled watermelon wedge on each of eight serving plates. Top the wedges evenly with the yogurt, pistachios, ginger, and orange zest. Garnish with pepper.