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Grilling from “Cooking on the Road with Celebrity Chefs” cookbook

Grilled Skirt Steak & Mole Barbecued Hanger Steak, Plus cooking tips.

By Anne de Ravel

Nearly everything can go on a grill from fruit and vegetables to fish and meat. But not everything has to taste the same. While researching Cooking on the Road with Celebrity Chefs (Woodall’s, 2006), I collected many unusual recipes for spice rubs and marinades from chefs around the country that are great boosters of flavors and, in some case, efficient tenderizers. With just a few ingredients, minimum chopping, and a few good shakes, you can have meals that span the word from Asia to Europe without ever leaving your campsite.

To choose a favorite recipe from the book would be hard, each has its particular appeal. But, I find myself making the skirt steak in an orange and rosemary marinade frequently. The marinade has an appealing combination of fresh flavors, often found in Mediterranean dishes. Their pungent refreshing tangs play well against each other without overpowering the meat. And it is easy; you just throw everything together in a plastic bag overnight, go off on an adventure and have the perfect summer meal upon your return.

Another one I added to my personal cooking repertoire is the unusual mole barbecued hanger steak. Loosely inspired by the Mexican mole sauce, it is a rich dark concoction made with cocoa and heady spices. It is wonderful rubbed on many cuts of beef, and I have tried it with great success with duck breast.

In the course of the book research, I also gathered many useful grilling tips from all these expert chefs. My three cardinal rules to insure success --- I never use a fork as it punctures the meat and allows the juices to run out. I prefer to use long tongs and spatulas instead. Meat and fish should be turned only once. And, it is not necessary to press down on it. It does not make the food cook faster; it only dries out. Last, and perhaps most important, yet often forgotten, let meat rest for about 10 minutes before carving to ensure juiciness.

Happy grilling!

Grilled Skirt Steak
Patricia Williams
Executive Chef at District in New York, NY

Serves 4

1 16-ounce skirt steak
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Zest of 2 oranges, cut into long strips
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place the steak and all remaining ingredients in a large plastic bag. Seal the bag and shake to evenly distribute the seasonings and thoroughly coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2. When ready to serve, preheat the grill to hot.

3. Remove the steak from the marinade, and discard the garlic and herbs. Whip off as much oil as possible from the steak.

4. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper and grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare. Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest for 4 to 5 minutes.

5. Cut into thin slices and serve with panzanella salad.

Mole Barbecued Hanger Steak
Daniel Bruce
Executive Chef at The Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston, Mass.

Four servings

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tablespoon Chinese Five Spice (see note)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon hot chili paste
¼ cup Malt beer
4 7-ounce hanger or skirt steaks

Combine all the ingredients for the rub in bowl except the steaks; mix well to form a paste. Add the hanger steaks and coat well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the grill to high.

Remove the steaks from the marinade and grill for 6 minutes on each side for medium rare, or until the desired doneness. Remove from the grill and let them rest for 4 to 5 minutes.

Cut each steak into thin slices and serve with the hot vegetable ragout. Garnish with reserved fennel tops.

Note: Chinese Five Spice is a fragrant blend of ground spices that includes equal part of cinnamon, cloves, fennel, Szechuan peppercorns and star anise. It is available in Asian markets.