10 April 2009

Benito vs. the Porterhouse: Vertical Steak

One of the reasons why I've never been attracted to restaurant work is that I get tired of cooking the same ingredient the same way, over and over again. Even when I perfect a technique through practice, I'm generally ready to move on to the next challenge. In this case, I decided to cook the steak vertically. It wasn't thick enough to stand up on its own, so with the addition of a bamboo chopstick I was able to provide some stability. I slow cooked the 2½ lb. monster at the "Warm" setting of the oven (around 175°F) until the probe thermometer read a lovely rare 125°F internal temperature.

I was pleased with the final result. The major benefit of this method is that it slowly renders out some of the fat while providing even cooking all around. Downside? You can really only do it with a thick Porterhouse or T-Bone. I think a ribeye hung from a hook or string might just fall off due to tenderness. The steak carved up nicely, easily feeding three people with leftovers for salads the next day... and one diner gnawed on the bone for some of those hard-to-reach morsels. (No shame in that, I've done it myself many times.) For sides, I steamed broccolini with lemon wedges and roasted my dear golden beets for an hour before slicing them up and further cooking with olive oil and Chinese five-spice powder.

We tried a couple of wines that evening, but the others go along with future themed posts. However, the odd man out was the NV True Earth Red Blend $13, Mendocino, California. 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 5% Petite Sirah. This is a 100% organic offering from the irreverent guys at Three Thieves. Black pepper, cherry, creamy finish, tart raspberry elements. On the old Venn diagram it falls smack dab in the center of bargain, organic, and mass-produced, what some call "corporate organic". But it's a fun little wine that will be great with burgers from the grill later this summer. Whether those burgers are made from cheap ground beef or free-range buffalo is your choice entirely.


Sheila said...

Wow....I don't think it would have ever occured/occurred/neither looks right! where is my brain?...anyway, I would not have thought to cook a steak vertically. This is fascinating, and I applaud your efforts! It's fun to see you having such fun with food.

Benito said...


I wish I could come up with something profound and eloquent about the source of inspiration when it comes to playing around in the kitchen, but every time I try a new ingredient, method, or decide to cook something complicated that I've never even tasted before, one thing runs through my head:

Adam Sandler, in his film Billy Madison, when he's repeating the first grade as a twenty-something slacker. His teacher asks about his drawing, and he says, "I drew the duck blue because I've never seen a blue duck before, and to be honest with you, I wanted to see a blue duck."

Somehow I'm always chasing that blue duck.

TWC said...

You could use a rib rack that is designed for the BBQ

Big Mike said...


Never stop chasing the Blue Duck my friend. I can remember when your Dad and I were the keepers of the Blue Duck!!!
Great post as always my friend

Big Mike

fredric koeppel said...

didn't you miss one of the most important elements of a steak that's seared or grilled, the crusty surface?

Alain Ducasse recommends cooking a ribeye steak by standing it, fat-side down, in a cast-iron skillet and over moderate heat rendering the fat, to which you add a tab of butter, and that what you then cook the steak in. Yum.

Benito said...


Excellent idea...


I haven't even gotten close some of the crazy stuff y'all did. :)


I was going for something different here--think about the surface of a ribeye roast. Though this steak could have easily been finished off in a hot skillet, or through the use of a creme brulee torch.

Allen said...

This is good recovery from the Jacket Potatoes. Trust me, the Blue Duck lives. Great post and photos. Looking forward to a paring for Yak brisket done open fire pit.

Don't laugh, Mike and I cooked or ate some strange stuff in the early '80's down on the river during MIM.