Once, during a particularly bleak period of my young adulthood, I was a vegetarian.
My self-imposed dietary restrictions were for health concerns, not humane ones. After finding relief for my ailment that didn’t include refraining from meat, I ate a steak.
I still remember that steak. If I close my eyes, I’m chewing it. If I concentrate, I can feel that carnal, soul-satisfying feeling of being restored as a meat-eater.
Steak possesses a flavor that is unlike any other food. Steak is primal—issuing drug-like waves of pleasure to the eater as the char, fat, and flesh meld and mingle. It’s hedonism, served medium rare.
You don’t have to enter a period of temporary meat abstinence to make steak taste even better. You can accentuate that unique flavor by adding ingredients that up steak’s unctuousness.
At BRC Gastropub in Houston, TX, chef Lance Fegen does this with bacon, BBQ sauce, and shucked oysters. His steak sauce recipe is rich—as it should be—but not so potent that it overpowers the pleasure of the steak.
This one’s for you, former vegetarians.
Grilled Hanger Steak with BBQ’d Bacon-Oyster Butter
What you’ll need:
1 to 1 ½ lbs. hanger steak, trimmed, or flank steak
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 scallions, minced
2 to 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 to 10 shucked oysters
¼ cup white wine
1/3 cup vinegar-based BBQ sauce
3 Tbsp cold butter
How to make it:
1. In a large zip-top bag, combine the steak, olive oil, water, salt, and pepper. Seal the bag, pushing out any excess air, and turn repeatedly until the steak is well coated. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Preheat your grill to direct high heat or heat coals until white and ashy. Preheat your oven to 450°F. Grill the steak until well-seared, 2 to 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Transfer the steak to the oven to finish, 7 to 9 minutes.
As the steak finishes, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots and scallions and sauté until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the bacon and oysters and sauté until the oysters firm up, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the BBQ sauce and simmer until the mixture thickens slightly. Add the butter, remove from the heat, and swirl until all the butter is melted. Spoon the sauce onto a plate.
Allow the steak to rest for at least 5 minutes. Slice it against the grain on a slight angle and arrange the steak on top of the sauce. Makes 6 to 8 servings.