Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Just Your Basic Birthday Cookout

The Walker girls (Riley, Reese, and Alex – who spent a year with us) are out of school this week, their dad took leave to spend time with them, and one of their activities was a trip down to see Meme and Grandpop (their mom had to work at her new job). From Fort Knox, Ky, it’s about a 4-hour drive and they got here on Sunday afternoon and left Tuesday, so it was a quick visit.

The girls haven’t learned to appreciate good food, still believing a dollar McDonalds double burger is gourmet eats, but Rhett has. However, being a soldier requires him to stay in very good shape and he has to watch what he eats or run more miles of a morning, so we like to fix him some good grub while he’s here for a couple of days. He specifically requested BBQ, which we planned for the second day and decided to go with steak and sweet potatoes on the grill, Spinach Maria (from the freezer), Caesar salad, garlic bread, and key lime pie for his one day belated birthday dinner. Youngest daughter, Wende, and Bev’s sister, Pat, joined us for the meal.

The steaks were some strips we had in the freezer from our last purchase of a whole loin, which we’ve found to be a good way for us to buy beef. We’ve tried a beef half, but it’s just more than we use and we end up with some pretty old meat in the freezer. We just watch the supermarket specials and when they have a sale on the items we eat (mostly ground chuck and steak) we buy in bulk, butcher, if needed, and Foodsaver package to suit our needs. These are the end of our last purchase and we thawed them out and let them set uncovered in the fridge for a few days to dry age a little. Bev, whos taster is more refined than mine, is convinced she can tell a difference in flavor intensity.

As you may recall, I love to do taste tests and decided this was a good opportunity. Bev likes her steak with Tiger Seasoning, salt and pepper, so I decided to cook three, and let her do them with this treatment, and I put Billy Bones Beefmaster on the other three all at 4:30pm when they came out of the fridge for their 6pm date with the grill.

The sweet potatoes were sliced about 3/8”, steamed until a little tender, then brushed with oil and grilled over direct heat until a little caramelized (or a lot in a few cases). I then moved them to indirect heat to finish cooking and added some butter pats when I dished them up.

The steaks were a little bit of a challenge as I needed one cooked medium, two med to med rare, two medium rare and one rare. I found I had a grill hot spot and put the one to be medium over it and worked my way out with the others. When they were almost done, I moved them over indirect and tossed the rare one on the hot spot for a couple of minutes on each side. I’m not sure how, but they all turned out right – I need to practice, practice, practice on my charcoal grill to get consistent.

Here’s my plate – what a feast.

Bev and I sampled the two seasonings and she preferred hers and I couldn’t tell much difference and really liked them both, although mine could have used a little more Beefmaster. I’d have to say the test was inconclusive, so we’ve have to get more steak and try again :-).

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. I'm sure the girls will grow out of their addiction to McD's. I sure did!

    So sweet of you guys to stuff them full of nourishment when they come visit! These steaks look awesome.

  2. It sounds like you had a wonderful, if short, visit. The food looks wonderful. Don't worry about the girls - they will outgrow it. Have a great day, Larry. Blessings...Mary

  3. Hey Dude! Looks like your guests got the royal treatment. I'm loving the way you did the sweet potato. One of my favorite things to eat on the planet. I've tried to grill them w/veggies but with no luck. Why didn't I think of cooking them a little before hand? Great idea. Thanks for popping over to S365. Love seeing you there and love coming here. have a wonderful week. keri

  4. Well, isn't the best part of beef the repeated taste testing?

  5. A feast indeed! That steak looks amazing and so does the spinach Maria and the sweet potatoes. YUM!

  6. Yet another good Larry tip! I love your method for the sweet potatoes. I usually just bake them with a dollop of butter. Can't wait to steam/grill. I will head over and look at that Spinach Maria.

  7. Ah yes, I remember that spinach recipe...I bookmarked it and have never tried it. Sounds fabulous.


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