Rob Firing’s barbecued ribeye steak with service berries and garlic scapes
Rob Firing has changed my life.
I’ll be more specific. There are two pieces of steak info he has shared with me that have made me a happy woman. This occurred before his 2018 book “Steak Revolution” came out in which he shares his enthusiastic, informative, entertaining take on steak. It includes recipes, a detailed, helpful beef chart and amazingly good photos.
The two pieces of new-to-me info are: a) the culotte cut of beef and b) the reverse-sear method of cooking it.
After Rob mentioned the sadly overlooked and under-rated culotte steak in a chat we had last year over coffee near my Kensington Market home in downtown Toronto. I immediately hurried to my trusty local butcher a few blocks away. Sanagan’s Meat Locker on Baldwin St. sells naturally raised meat and is one of the few stores selling culottes. What’s more, my new favourite cut of steak is nearly always available.
The culotte looks somewhat like a flank steak – it’s boneless, about 2 inches thick at the thicker end, thinner at the other – but is less chewy. It has all the flavour of flank but is more like the less chewy sirloin in texture. (By the way, you can substitute a large piece of sirloin if you shop at a supermarket.) Bonus: Culotte is reasonably priced. I usually buy a piece (without the fat cap) weighing between 2 and 3 pounds.
Next I come to the second invaluable take on steak from Rob: the reverse-sear method of cooking that’s particularly well suited to the flavourful, juicy culotte cut. This method has been around for some years but has not been well known because it goes against the conventional belief that searing steak at the beginning “seals in the juices.” Strangely but truly, the opposite is true. Slow and low cooking before you briefly sear on high heat seals in the juices in – I’ve had many delicious steak dinners that prove it!
Rob usually barbecues in summer but reverse-sear is easier to do indoors in the oven. Simply preheat the oven to a low temperature – I do it at 225F, sometimes at 250F – after salting the culotte on both sides and placing on a wire rack in a small roasting pan. (I found a recipe in Rob’s book that smears Marmite – about 1 teaspoon in all – over both sides that makes the steak crisp, crunchy and caramelized. Delish!) Roast a 2 to 3-lb culotte for about 1 hour 10 minutes, turning halfway, until a meat thermometer registers 115F. I usually slice into the middle of the meat with a small, sharp knife – if it’s too rare, cook it a bit more. Then heat a skillet with a little fat or oil on high heat. Sear the culotte briefly on both sides until burnished brown.
Serve with your favourite gravy or sauce or creamed horseradish or steak sauce – or just your favourite veg.
Enjoy – and yer welcome!