Archive for October 10th, 2011

The famous steak from Florence is essentially a grilled porterhouse. What makes it remarkable, however, is the Italian beef itself. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is traditionally made with steaks from Chianina cattle, a giant breed raised in the Val di Chiana near Arezzo. These enormous white oxen produce tender, flavorful steaks of considerable size – each steak can weigh upwards of 5 pounds. If you’re interested in buying some of this extraordinary beef, contact the American Chianina Association, or try to find steaks from another high-quality breed such as Kobe. This simply seasoned and grilled steak is often served with lemon wedges for squeezing. We also put some lemon into the marinade to further flavor the meat.

Prep: 8 minutes
Marinate: 8 to 24 hours
Soak wood chips: 30 minutes
Grill: About 25 minutes.

– 1 cup oak or hickory wood chips or chunks
– Smoker box or foil packet, if using a gas grill
– Long-handled tongs.

– Most supermarkets don’t usually cut steaks this thick. Call the meat department or your butcher ahead of time to order it.
– With these steaks, the T-shaped bone separates the smaller and more tender tenderloin (or filet) from the larger and slightly tougher top loin (strip). To cook both sections evenly, put the smaller, more tender section facing the low-heat area of the grill during the initial searing.
– Make 4 servings by cutting the 2 sections away from the bone and then cutting them into 4 pieces or by cutting all of the meat into ½-inch-thick slices and serving each guest a mix of tenderloin and top loin slices. The T-bone itself is up for grabs.

Gas: Direct heat, high (500°F)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals) with high- and low-heat areas Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, red hot
12-by-12-inch bed with a 4-inch-deep area for high heat and a 2-inch-deep area for low heat
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.

1 large lemon
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 large porterhouse or T-bone steak, 2½ to 3 pounds and at least 2 inches thick
Oil for coating grill grate.

1. Cut the lemon in half lengthwise. Squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into a large zipper-lock bag. Reserve the other half. Add
3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and ½ teaspoon of the pepper to the bag. Add the steak, press the air out of the bag, and seal the top. Massage the marinade into the meat and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
2. When ready to grill, remove the marinating steak from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour. Soak the wood chips in cold water for 30 minutes.
3. Heat the grill as directed, adding wood chips to the low-heat area of the grill until they smolder. If using a gas grill without a smoker box, put the chips in a packet of foil, poke holes in the foil, and put the foil directly over one of the gas burners.
4. Remove the steak from the marinade and discard the marinade. Brush and oil the grill grate, then grill the steak over high heat until darkly crusted, 4 to 6 minutes per side. Sprinkle all over with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper as you turn the steak. Reduce the heat to medium-low (on a gas grill) or move the steaks to the low-heat area (on a charcoal or wood grill), cover, and grill for another 10 to 15 minutes for medium-rare to medium-done (135° to 140°F). Transfer to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 to 8 minutes.
5. While the steak rests, coat the reserved lemon half with a little of the remaining olive oil and grill, cut-side down, over medium-high heat until nicely grill-marked, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool slightly, then cut the lemon into 4 wedges.
6. Serve the steak with the grilled lemon wedges and the remaining olive oil for drizzling.

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