The Main Menu: For the beef eater on Father’s Day

Typically Dads enjoy beef. On Father’s Day (June 19) serve any one of these three recipes to please his inner meat eater. Of course, the premium cuts – strip loin and tenderloin – are delicious but costly. If you decide to splurge, buy the cuts from a reputable butcher and inquire about the length of time the steaks have been aged. Aging, where beef carcasses hang in temperature and humidity controlled rooms, allow the enzymes in the meat to break down the muscle fibres resulting in melt-in-the mouth quality, a must if you are paying a king’s ransom.

Less expensive options are cheaper cuts such as sirloin which you can marinate to tenderize or grind for simply fabulous burgers. Anyone of these three is bound to please. However, all good barbecues require careful timing. It does not work to focus simply on the meat and not the side dishes.  Organize the entire menu: have plates warming because beef cools quickly, prepare salads and vegetables in advance. That way you and the King for the Day can all enjoy the celebration together.

Just Steak
‘Just steak’ is probably the hardest to achieve perfection because it requires so little to be done to it. You do require a tender cut such as beef tenderloin, strip loin, or rib-eye. Here’s the hard part. No barbecue sauces, no salt, no heavy seasoning. Only a clean grill, a pre-heated medium-high barbecue and everything else at the ready. You may brush the steaks with a little olive oil, a few grindings of pepper and a rub of garlic, then place on the grill with tongs – not a fork. you don’t want to loose any of those luscious juices – watch and time.
With a 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick steak for rare, five to seven minutes (total time including flipping), for medium seven to nine minutes, and well-done nine to 11 minutes. For 1 1/2 inches thickness, seven to nine minutes for rare, medium nine to 11 minutes and well-done 15 to 18 minutes. For 2 inch (10 cm) thickness cook 12 to 14 minutes for rare, 15 to 18 minutes for medium and 25 to 30 minutes for well done.
Remove from the barbecue with tongs to the warmed dinner plate, and serve immediately with any of the following favourites: garlic dill pickles, horseradish mixed with sour cream, grilled vegetables and Caesar salad.

Marinated Steak
For this recipe, choose a less tender cut of beef such as sirloin, rib steak or chuck steak. Marinating for at least eight hours or overnight helps achieve tenderness. Use the proceding chart for timing and slice the steak as thinly as possible on the cross-grain before serving.
Good All Purpose Marinade:
1/2 cup (125 mL) olive oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) white wine
2 tsp (10 mL) Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) dried thyme (1 tbsp fresh minced)
In a jar combine olive oil, white wine, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and thyme. Arrange steak in shallow dish; pour over marinade; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, turning several times in marinade. Before barbecuing, remove from marinade and pat dry. Barbecue as described above.

Best Burger
For juicy burgers use lean ground beef – not extra lean – and for food safety, cook the burger all the way through. If you are a lover of blue cheese, a sprinkling of your favourite blue cheese, whether gorgonzola or Stilton, on the inside of the burger adds pizzazz. One pound of beef makes four burgers.
1 lb (500 g) lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely grated
1 egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) freshly made breadcrumbs
1 tbsp (15 mL) horseradish
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) fresh black pepper
1/2 cup (125 mL) crumbled blue cheese (optional)
In a mixing bowl, stir together beef, onion, egg, breadcrumbs, horseradish, salt and pepper. Combine well. Divide into four even portions and pat firmly into circles about 3/4 inch thick. If you wish make two thin patties for each and put the blue cheese in between stacking the two burgers on top of one another. Burgers may be made in advance; covered and refrigerated up to eight hours. Clean grill and preheat barbecue to medium high. Arrange burgers on grill and barbecue about three to four minutes per side turning with tongs as required for a total of about 14 minutes or until beef is cooked through but still juicy. Meanwhile toast buns on barbecue and serve burgers immediately on toasted buns with favourite condiments.

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