Sometimes culinary adventure is waiting for us right in our own backyard.
When we were at the Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market here in London on the weekend, the Culinary Enthusiast mentioned that he wanted to pick up some steaks to grill over the fire pit out back. I admit, I was skeptical about the possible sacrifice of two quality strip loins to this endeavour. I’m glad I kept my reservations to myself (uncharacteristically, perhaps?), because as it turns out the CE knew exactly what he was doing.
Sunday evening, in unseasonably mild temperatures but with snow still on the ground, he started a fire using the collection of twigs and sticks that serves as kindling. He then added larger pieces of wood from our woodpile, and soon a roaring fire was blazing and we were treated to the unmistakable and somehow stirring smell of woodsmoke. It felt like we were having a wilderness adventure right in our backyard.
As darkness fell so did the flames, until the embers were were hot and glowing. He then built a cooking surface using bricks and one of the stainless steel grills from the barbecue. Once that was hot, he set about about grilling the steaks, which he’d already treated to a spice and herb rub. The CE likes his beef well-done and I like mine medium to medium-well so he started his first, ensuring both would be done to our liking at the same time.
I’m sure the smell of beef sizzling over a fire pit caught the attention of any neighbours who had cracked their windows open, and certainly most of the dogs in the vicinity too.
The result? The meat was cooked to perfection. And that taste! I don’t know why the wonderful hint of smokiness came as such a surprise to me — probably because I’m so used to grilling over gas heat — but the wood smoke added real character to the flavour.
The next time the Culinary Enthusiast says he wants to cook something in the backyard, I will most enthusiastically jump on board. In fact it just might be me suggesting it!