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Step aside seafood, it’s time for steak night

8/9/12 | By Paul G. Suplee CEC, PC III

As the excitement mounts over the White Marlin Open, fishermen and onlookers alike are flocking to 14th Street to watch the weigh-ins along the Reel Inn docks.

On the first day of the tournament, only 10 out of 250 (+/- 4 percent for statistical accuracy) boats actually fished on Monday so the event was non-existent. We are just glad that no one told the spectators.

As the kitchen and bar employees crawled their way through the day, the conversation was constantly on how many people there were at the Reel Inn. They were everywhere. Even with such a tiny fleet fishing, the crowds came out to see that one big fish. As such, they’ll have to come back for the rest of the tourney in order to get a good view of one of the trophy fish that will unwittingly find themselves on the scale.

Now, as I wrote last week, the fish that we go through the most during the White Marlin Open is tuna, not marlin. Tuna. And lots of it.

But I can’t always write about seafood so I need to think of something else. Another item we can’t seem to keep on hand is the special order dry aged steak.

I break down my own tenderloins, but I have Doug Jacobs at Minit Market break down ribeyes and porterhouses for us. If you haven’t visited Doug at the Market, make sure you do. He has always done a killer job on the steaks.

My favorite by far is the dry aged cowboy steaks, a commodity I can purchase in small quantities. If I tried to buy a whole loin, I’d lose my job. They are expensive, so be ready for that.

Doug also freshly grinds our chuck burgers, which are killer, but the dry aged steaks are special. The dry aging process is fascinating, and the master of all on-premises dry aging is Gallagher’s in Manhattan. At that steakhouse, the aging walk-in refrigerator is in the front with a window to the street. As such, you can see that gloriously “green” beef as it makes its way through the steps.

Dry aging results in beef that is rich in flavor (think bison or elk) and tender like you’ve never had it.

Whatever you do, shy away from trying to age your own beef. It is a complicated process that encourages the enzymatic breakdown of the meat fibers and tissue. Part of that process entails establishing and maintaining, very carefully, the temperature and moisture levels in the refrigerator.

Just think cigar humidor and you will get the idea.

For tomorrow, I am ordering some dry aged cowboys for some regular customers who are looking for a special treat, and despite the fact that it is White Marlin, i.e. a fishing competition, I am looking forward to grilling up these bad boys.

With the tournament almost over, I frown at the prospect that there won’t be much time until the summer is nothing but a blur from the past.

As soon as this task is done, I begin my position as associate professor at Wor-Wic Community College, a position that I hope will allow me to continue in the field of education for many years to come.

And with that I say good night as I gear up for another day at the Open — the Great Tuna Open that is.

Dry Age Steaks

1 16-ounce dry age cowboy steak per person (porterhouse pictured)

Steak Blend (recipe follows)

Brown butter (recipe follows)

• Prepare the brown butter and have at the ready in liquid form (in other words, just keep it warm)

• Coat both sides with the brown butter and spices

• Preheat a grill and when ready, place the steak on board

• In about 4 minutes, turn the steak about 45 degrees. This will give you that beautiful hash mark on your steak

• When you are ready to turn the steak, do so and repeat the upper two steps, but bear in mind this one very important tip: learn your own grill. All grills cook differently so you will have to learn yours and work accordingly

• Top with garlic butter, chimichurri or any other sauce that you deem fit for the task. The beauty of dry aging is that the flavor is in the steak

Brown Butter

1 stick unsalted butter

• Melt butter in a saucepan

• When melted, the butter will separate into three distinct layers: milk solids on the bottom, clarified oil in the middle and the casein (protein) foam on top

• Skim the foam off of the top and discard

• Continue to heat the butter until the milk solids on the bottom turn brown, but be careful not to scorch the butter

• When the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, it is ready. Pull of the stove until ready to use and keep it warm

Steak Blend

makes enough for more than a few cookouts

1/4 cup Kosher salt

1/4 cup granulated garlic

2 tbs. onion powder

1 tsp. ground thyme

1 tsp. smoked or sweet Spanish paprika

2 tbsp. Freshly ground black pepper

• Combine all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks

Paul G. Suplee CEC, PC III is a culinary instructor, food writer and mercenary chef. He lives in Ocean Pines with his wife and four kids, and is currently the kitchen manager at The Reel Inn in Ocean City.

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