We returned to Central City BBQ last night to watch five barbeque pit masters and their teams face off in the Culinary Fight Club, the winner decided both by a team of judges and by the tasters challenge. It stormed all afternoon, but the rain lifted so there remained a heavy steam in the air—all the better to carry the aroma of delicious bacon grease and pork fat and roasted garlic.
The competitors included:
The real critic:
Some of my favorite plating was from Chef Mattia:
I thought this cabbage in a skillet could have easily passed for a Georgia O’Keefe.
But my absolute favorite was Chef Sean Rivera’s (Pooch) dish, served on cutting boards, with a side of roasted garlic. He made a BBQ sauce with Steen’s syrup and I kid you not, I ate a plantain (which I hate!) because I thought it was a chicken wing. He is the deserving winner.
Honorable mention goes to Chef Gongora who KP thought had the best dish, and who won the popular vote.
We came home last night and chose not to wash the smoke off our bodies right away in favor of letting linger the sauce.
KP and I just got a proper size grill for our 10th wedding anniversary, THANKS Mom and Dad, and we have several months of good grilling left in us this summer. Meanwhile, I give you this steak, while not as good as Rivera’s pork with Steens BBQ sauce, is a fantastic dinner. Easy and quick to make. Hearty. Beginner level easy.
Skirt Steak with Tomato Chimichurri and Potatoes
Adapted from Food and Wine
4 medium tomatoes (1 1/2 pounds), quartered
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup lightly packed and chopped cilantro leaves (parsley in the original recipe, but yuck, I hate parsley)
1 1/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 TB crushed red pepper
POTATOES AND STEAK
1 pound potatoes (small, fingerling or red)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 5-inch-long pieces
MAKE THE CHIMICHURRI Preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the tomatoes with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and browned in spots; let cool slightly. Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor. Add the parsley, vinegar, crushed pepper and the remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Pulse until almost smooth. Season with salt and transfer to a bowl.
MAKE THE POTATOES AND STEAK In a saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool, then halve lengthwise.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes cut side down and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Flip the potatoes and onion and cook, stirring, until well browned, about 4 minutes. Stir in the butter and parsley and season with salt. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Season the steaks with salt and black pepper. Grill over high heat, turning once, until medium-rare, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain and transfer to the platter with the potatoes. Serve with the tomato chimichurri.
Set fire to this week and put some sauce on it.