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This delicious southern-style recipe calls for the steaks to be smoked, and if you don't own a home smoker, consider this a call to culinary arms. Or you may prefer to grill the steaks over pecan wood chips using low heat. The steaks should be marinated for ten to twelve hours, so begin the process early in the day. The marinade serves a double purpose, since it's boiled to make a tangy barbecue sauce. Sassafras, one of the ingredients in the marinade, is the herb derived from tree bark used for flavoring root beer. It's also one of the components of file powder, and essential seasoning in Creole cooking.
- For the Marinade and BBQ Sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2/3 cup tomato ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried sassafras
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- For the Steaks:
- 6 boneless strip steaks, 10 to 12 ounces each
- For the Green Tomato Grits:
- 5 green tomatoes, sliced
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 wild onion or scallion, chopped
- 1 cup medium-ground hominy grits or polenta
- Salt and ground pepper
FOR THE STEAKS:
Thoroughly mix together all the marinade ingredients in a large shallow dish or bowl. Add the steaks and turn to cover with the marinade. Cover the dish and refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours, turning every 2 hours or so to marinate evenly.
Prepare the smoker by building a small fire with charcoal and an electric starter element. Soak some pecan shells and/or pecan wood chips in water. Fill the water tray of the smoker with ice cubes, and when the coals are a uniform gray color (after about 30 minutes), place the soaked pecan shells or chips on the coals. Set the grill rack at its highest position and add the marinated steaks (reserving the marinade). Cover the smoker, sealing all but one small vent. Replenish the charcoal and soaked pecan shells or wood chips as necessary and continue to smoke the steaks for 2 to 3 hours, keeping the temperature at around 90 to 100 degrees F.
Prepare the grill (or, alternatively, the steaks can be broiled). If grilling, soak some hickory wood chips in water and add to the charcoal just before you are ready to grill. Add some soaked pecan shells or wood chips to the grill. Remove the steaks from the smoker and finish on the grill to the desired doneness.
FOR THE MARINADE:
Place all of the marinade ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil, stirring occasionally.
FOR THE GRITS:
Grill the tomato slices over the hickory wood chips. Transfer the grilled tomatoes to a blender, add the cream, garli, and wild onion, and puree until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the grits and, stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 18 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
Place the steaks on warm serving plates and pour the barbecue sauce over. Serve with grits.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
955 calories; 60g total fat; 276mg cholesterol; 591mg sodium; 35g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 66g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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