In a perfect world – I’d own a steakhouse.
Well… that’s a load of crap.
In a perfect world – I’d be perpetually 35, insanely physically fit, and never have to work another day in my life… not to mention riding through town on my lion while eating Walnut Turkish Delight out of a constantly refilling knapsack.
So, it’s probably better that I just say in a different world…
And this would be my steakhouse.
I know.. it doesn’t look like much, yet. About a mile or so towards Dahlonega is this building. Not that it’s any great thing…. but I want it. It is a long abandoned service (slash) grocery (slash) convenience store located approximately on the spot of the original Buckhorn Tavern in the 1800’s. Back when HWY 52 used to be the old “Federal Highway”, and this was the main route to and from the west side of the state and up to Chattanooga.
As far as I’ve been able to research, there aren’t any photos or sketches of how it appeared back then, but I expect it looked something like this:
..maybe. At least, it’s how I see it – and THAT would be my steakhouse. I’ve built it a thousand times in my head. I’ve designed and redesigned the menu; I’ve trained the staff; I’ve set the specifications for the kitchen; I’ve done preliminary sales projections (of a make-believe restaurant in a make-believe world).
Here’s the thing, I’ll never own it, but that doesn’t stop me from knowing what a perfect steakhouse should have:
– Great cuts of beefy cowness (meaning, no made up cuts of beef… and absolutely no sirloin… That isn’t even steak, it’s chunks of roast cut up to look like steak). Dry Cured for a minimum of 8 hours. Dry Curing? Well, that’s going to be our signature thing, but I’ll let you in on the secret.
1 Tablespoon Sugar / 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt / 2 Teaspoons Cracked Black Pepper – rub all that all over the steak and set on a rack to air dry for at least 8 hours. What this does is create a bark on the outer surface of the steak; sealing in the juices. This reduces the actual time of the steak on the fire, allowing for better heat distribution, better crispy fat development, and much much better outer sear. (You’ll kill for those steaks, I swear!)
– Salt baked potatoes
Wash large russet potatoes well and roll in fine salt until the skin is fairly well crusted. Bake at 400 for about 45 minutes until the meat gives when pinched. Wash off the excess salt. Some of the salt will season the potato, but mostly it’s a heat conductor to insure even cookery. Regardless, it’s my steakhouse, and I like the procedure.
– Two types ~ Wedge w/ Blue Cheese, and Caesar… no deviations .. no substitutions.
Okay, Everyone has their own salad kick… I get that. But – you’re at a steakhouse. If you want to eat out of the garden, I’m sure there are plenty of “those” kinds of places to dine. With a salad you want something that’s crisp, cold, and makes a great foil for the steak. These 2 salads do that in spades.
– Loaves / crusty and warm… served with aged butter.
and 5. Killer Sides
Like those mushrooms you used to get at Victoria Station, or the Grilled Spring Onions from the other day, or These:
Steakhouse Brussels Sprouts
Serves 2 to 4
2 Dozen Brussels Sprouts – Trimmed and outer damaged leaves removed
2 Rashers Bacon
1 Large Vidalia Onion
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
!/4 Teaspoon (or so) Smoked Salt [You can buy it at most markets, or go HERE for a quick work-around]
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
Tools of the Trade:
Large Skillet with Lid
Sharp Paring Knife
Cut the onion in half and cut across the grain into thin slices. Peel about 1/2 of the dark green sprout leaves, then thinly slice the remainder of the heads.
Dice the bacon and saute until lightly browned. Add the onions and sprouts and toss in the bacon fat.
Add the stock, cover and allow to steam in the stock for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and toss well. Add the chili flakes just before serving
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