Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Grilled New York Strip Steak with Craig’s Bourbon Rub, Grilled Garden Fresh Vegetables Paired with 2007 Mayo Family Winery Napa Valley Random Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Bourbon Glazed New York Strip Steak with Grilled Vegetables

Labor Day, the official end of summer in the U.S. has come and gone.  Like many people, part of our holiday weekend included well spent time in front of the grill.  Although Labor day marks the official end of summer, it should not mark the end of your grilling season.  Quite the contrary.  With football season underway and the first week of the NFL schedule capped off by a spectacular and record crushing win by my beloved New England Patriots over the Miami Dolphins, we now enter the serious tailgate grilling season.  If you want to take your grilling experience to a new level, my bourbon rub is a tasty way to do so.

I have to admit that “bourbon rub” is a bit of a misnomer.  On the other hand, it is not a barbeque sauce either.  It is somewhere between the two – it is a barbeque paste.  The word paste just doesn’t have the same appeal as a “rub” so I am taking a bit of culinary creative license…because I can.

Vegetable plate

When you look at the seasonings in this concoction, it looks like a rub…until you get to the brown sugar and bourbon.  These two ingredients rule out use as a “rub.”  If you use this as a rub, the bourbon will give you a fun moment of pyrotechnics as the bourbon ignites.  As the bourbon ignites, it caramelizes the sugar, and if left on for the full grilling time, will go beyond caramelization to a full-on char.  For this reason, I am providing specific directions for when and how to use the rub.

But before we get to that, we need to discuss meat.  The best way to buy meat is from a butcher.  Not the butcher at your local grocery store (there are exceptions) who cuts the meat, wraps it up and places it in the display cooler.  I mean a real butcher where you can pick a slab of meat, have the butcher trim it to your specifications then cut the steaks to your favorite thickness.  Personally, I prefer the Barney Rubble size steaks – 1 1/2 inches thick or even a touch more.  Why?  Thickly cut steaks allow you to get a nice sear, grill for an appropriate time, and leave the center a beautiful and tasty medium rare.  Honestly, it should be a criminal offense to cut a thin steak, grill it until uniformly brown throughout, and serve it as a substitute for shoe leather.  I cringe when I hear someone order a steak well done.  Why bother?

Bourbon Glazed New York Strip Steak with Grilled Vegetables-1

With my “well done” rant out of the way, lets talk about the appropriate use of Craig’s Bourbon Rub (paste).  First I will explain my formula for grilling Barney Rubble sized steak.  Heat the grill so when you set your first steak on the grates you hear that wonderful sizzling that lets you know the fun is underway.  I set my timer to two minutes and flip the steaks three times so the steak is on the grill for 10 minutes.  But you say “three flips multiplied by two minutes does not add up to 10 minutes Craig!”  I will prove that it does.  Place your steaks on the grill, close the lid, pick up your glass of wine, take a joyful sip, then turn on your timer.  When the timer runs down, take another sip of your wine, put the glass down, turn off the barking timer, walk over to the grill, lift the lid, flip the steaks and repeat the process.  This leisurely approach to enjoying your wine, fiddling with your timer, and maybe a kiss for your spouse will account for the missing two minutes.

Now the critical part – applying Craig’s Bourbon Rub.  The rub should be applied at the last flip and will be on the grill for just two minutes to avoid going from caramelized to char.  Specifically, when you get to the last flip, take the steaks off the grill.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!  With honest to god real bourbon in the recipe, you do not want to risk a flame-up while you have your hands over the grill.  With the steaks off the grill apply the “rub” to both sides of the steak using the back of a spoon to compress the “rub” onto both surfaces.  Send the steaks back to the grill, and flip after one minute to get good caramelization on both sides.

2007 Mayo Family Winery Napa Valley Random Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

For the pairing, I ventured to the depths of the Corl wine vault and selected a 2007 Mayo Family Winery Napa Valley Random Ridge Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.  Here are some notes from the winemaker:

“Officially this vineyard is in Napa Valley. However, it really sits on the very top of the mountain that divides Sonoma Valley from Napa Valley. The mountain grown grapes give us obscenely rich, intense wine that is stuffed full of dark berry and cassis flavors backed up by a structure that begs for cellaring. Very little is produced in part because yields are so low in the vineyard, but also because fruit from this vineyard is very difficult to come by. Fortunately, our relationship with the owner/grower is quite solid. Enjoy this wine with a medium rare, well seared rib eye.”

Although the winemaker suggests this wine begs for cellaring, we found it silky smooth and ready to drink now.  The dark berry flavors were a wonderful flavor compliment to the bourbon rubbed NY strip steak, and the body was a perfect match.  Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon is a natural pairing – like Tom Brady and Wes Welker – you just can’t lose!

This wine is available online from Mayo Family Winery.  This is a small Sonoma winery that produces spectacular wine.  You will not find it at your local wine store, so give them a visit and enjoy some fantastic wine.


Craig’s Bourbon Rub, errr Paste


This recipe provides enough "rub" for two to three steaks

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Grind fennel seed and dried rosemary leaves in a coffee grinder.
  2. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add bourbon (I used Maker's Mark) and mix into a paste.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
  5. When you are ready to grill your steaks, season with salt and pepper, and begin grilling using my secret timing formula.  Apply the paste (OFF THE GRILL) to both sides for the last two minutes of the grilling time making sure each side gets one minute of flame time.
  6. Happy grilling!

Grilled Vegetables

Grilled Vegetable Pouch

For the gilled vegetables, I selected a variety of vegetables from the local farm stand that included three different colors of eggplant, potatoes, red pepper, and onion.  I cut the vegetables into bite size chunks, placed them in a foil packet with a pad of butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Place the packets to the side of the grill (off direct heat) when you put the steaks on.  Grilling in the tent for 10 minutes makes for nicely al dente veggie morsels that maintain some texture to match nicely with the steak.  If they are too al dente for you, just leave them on the grill for a few extra minutes while you let the steaks rest before serving.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


No comments:

Post a Comment