It was last week where I featured a somewhat exotic dish known as cioppino. It was a dish that I heard my parents get excited about while growing up, and one where I realized why they were excited. Cioppino is a dish full of great flavors, but when it comes to seafood, and my father-in-law, I make every attempt to make a good steak. Surf and turf and its finest. Granted we could have all been satisfied with the cioppino as being the star for dinner, but I was still able to slide in a great mixed salad, and smoked steak.
Yes, you heard it, smoked steak. I cooked some steak not too long ago for another dinner get together, and I recall my father and cousin-in-law, somewhat giggling, and overheard them say ‘oh wow, oh my, wow’. That is always a good sign, and worth the effort of even thinking of smoking the steak in the first place. So with the cioppino party going on, and the beef, I was left with a table full of full folks, and plenty of leftovers, one of them being a great piece of steak.
When I woke up the following day, I thought to myself, ‘what can I do with this steak?’. I immediately turned to a sandwich idea. As I normally do, I scan my counter for fruits and vegetables I have laying around, peak in the fridge, and pantry, and I was able to quickly determine what I was going to make. A smoked steak and cheese sandwich with a cilantro mayonnaise, mixed greens, and sliced avocado.
One word on this one, and I kid you not. Wow.
I was missing great bread and cheese for the sandwich, so I went to the store, and thought of ciabatta for the bread, and muenster cheese. I thought I was on the right road to flavor town.
- 4 tbsp of mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 lb porterhouse steak, about 1 1/2 inches thick, season with salt and pepper, both sides
- 1 cup of hickory chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
- 2 cups of mixed salad greens, cleaned, lightly oiled with olive oil
- 4 slices of muenster cheese (2 per sandwich)
- 1 medium ripe avocado, sliced
- Ciabatta bread, cut into your preferred sandwich size, sliced horizontally
To cook the steak, get your grill out. I use my grill/smoker for this one. Heating the coals to a nice high heat, adding the steak to sear, then adding about 1/2 cup of the soaked wood chips to build the first round of smoked flavor. Keep an eye on the grill, slipping when appropriate, and allowing it to cook another side, just until about a medium. You want a bit of pink in the center as it will take a bit of time to rest. If you mess this part up, it’s fine. It takes a bit of time and experience to determine how you like your steak. When you are ready to take it off the grill, remove, and let it rest for at least ten minutes.
When you are ready to get your sandwich going on, slice your steak against the grain, into quarter inch slices. Make your cilantro mayonnaise by adding the mayo, cilantro, and salt and pepper to a small bowl. Mix well, and place in the refrigerator.
Now is the time to get your grill heated again, and a gas grill is fine for this, or even a broiler, or skillet. Whichever you choose at this time. The goal is to lightly warm the meat, but get the cheese melted.
We are almost there. Take about six or so slices of the smoked beef, and lay them on the grill, lightly overlapping. Place two slices of cheese per ‘square’ of beef if you will, for each sandwich. Cover the grill, and let the cheese melt. During this time, take the sliced ciabatta bread, and place face down on the grill as well, just to lightly char, or toast.
You are done and ready to assemble.
Take the toasted ciabatta bread, and spread the cilantro mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Take the overlapped smoked steak, and place on the bottom portion of the ciabatta bread. Top with sliced avocado, and the lightly dressed mixed greens. Stack the top of bread on it, and get to work.
I am confirming the ‘oohs and ahhs’, and the ‘oh my’ from my in-laws. The steak alone is rock and roll, but placed with these other flavors, including the great mayonnaise mixture, and all of the textures, this really makes it to the top of my list.
This was posted on my Facebook page as maybe the best sandwich I have ever made. I’m standing by that statement, until the next creation I come up with. Give it a shot. Smoked steak is the real deal.