My friend Alison received a cook book for Mother’s Day; it’s not written by any of the well known chef’s like Nigella or Delia and it has a lot of non-typical recipes. One of them involved cooking sirloin of beef wrapped in a dishcloth in a fire pit. WTF? How is this supposed to work? Although as soon as she showed me the recipe, the same thing popped into my head that she had been thinking… we have a fire pit, and both Alison and our husband’s are big beef eaters, so we decided to give it a try.
Saturday night I picked Ali and Dave up (with a multitude of supplies and alcohol). Ali informed me that the recipe called for a lot of salt (both table and rock) which had me concerned as I don’t normally use very much salt at all, often never, even if a recipe calls for it. I told her not to worry about it as I had a few boxes of both on hand. I had no idea that we would need nearly one whole box of table salt and 1 ½ boxes of rock salt. But I’m digressing here… We got back to my house, cracked a few beers and set to following the recipe. I captured it in photos to share with you because I think you have to see it to believe it (sorry in advance to all my vegetarian readers).
The initial prep:
(The limes weren’t part of the recipe they were just garnish for the beer. The beef was the best you could buy, trust me on this, it was not cheap but we went splits.)
We had to use a lot of table salt to boil the dishcloth in for ten minutes. I believe this was key to the dishcloth not catching fire later. We then had to wait for the dishcloth to cool before completely coating it in table salt.
I could feel my arteries hardening just watching all that salt being poured…
We then covered the salt in plenty of roughly chopped garlic and a ton of fresh picked rosemary and thyme before rubbing the beef with pepper:
This is one big hunk of meat... (I think it was over a kilo):
It was time to cover the beef completely before wrapping it and tying it with string that had also been boiled in very salty water. (We also added a few safety pins just in case the rope burned – which some of it did!)
Then we just had to place it in the embers and let it cook for 15 minutes each side (we left it in for 20 minutes each side just to be on the safe side):
The discloth was mostly charred, but the beef was safe:
I missed the unwrapping of it as I was busy getting the grilled vegetables sorted, however it was easy to see (and taste) that it wasn’t infused with salt, as most of it was brushed off after it was unwrapped. Again, we believe that the truckload of salt is vital to the dishtowel not burning.
I don’t eat a lot of red meat so this was definitely a treat. Not only was the meat scrumptious, we had a fantastic time preparing it, and then eating it with grilled veg and fresh bread washed down with wine; later on, after eating by the fire, we chilled out in the hot tub.
Not bad for a Saturday night eh?
It might not be something you want do on a regular basis due to the cost, (and maybe the salt and beef overload) but we did agree that we will have to do it again before the summer is over.