Rain Crow Ranch and Sauce Magazine sponsored on Friday the Celebrity Chef Series featuring Chef Adam Perry Lang. This was an extraordinary grilling lesson taking place at Mike Shannon’s “outfield” patio. At Rain Crow we have sponsored lots of events and it is always our pleasure to have wonderful chefs cook with our beef or pork. It is usually the Cinderella effect as we thrill to the magical transformation of our meat into to a gourmet eating experience. However, we have never been to a demonstration quite like this where the chef starts with one of our gorgeous whole ribeyes, cuts it into thirds then wallops it with a baseball bat. The end result was a mis-shaped (didn’t look like a typical ribeye steak) hunk of beef about 2 inches thick. Mark and I exchanged questioning looks of disbelief.
Yet this represents the unique style of Chef Adam Perry Lang and is a part of his new book Charred and Scruffed. Using tools of wood fire, seasoning and smoke Chef Lang performs his culinary alchemy rooted in classic cuisine to the folkways of barbeque. He takes a lot of time and effort to build up what the pros call bark. Bark is the outside results of cooking over direct heat and the transformation called the Maillard reaction. According to Lang, it describes what happens when a protein transforms under heat producing thousands of flavor compounds and these are what give browned meat the very distinct and appealing flavor (as long as you don’t burn it). Lang’s philosophy is to create, deepen, accent, and enhance flavors at every opportunity. He is keen on utilizing seasoning, basting and aromatizing with wood smoke. I loved the method he showed of mixing the juices from slicing the meat with the basting herbs used during grilling. Laying the sliced meat on this adds another layer of flavor. Deepening flavor one step at a time.
So what was the deal with the baseball bat? Lang refers to scruffing the outer surface to create nooks and crannies for the crust or bark to develop by creating places where a baste; seasoning or sauce can cling for extra flavor.
Lang’s personal style seems to be what he describes as active grilling. He is a constant mover of the meat. He flips, bastes, moves from hotter to cooler parts of the fires. All the time he seems to be thinking about the development or deepening of the flavors and “listens” to the meat.
All I can attest to is that the book, Charred & Scruffed, is good; one I would recommend to anyone who loves to grill. www.adamperrylang.com. It opens new horizons on the traditional ideas of barbeque. The end product was phenomenal; very dark, crispy, full of flavor crust with very moist, perfectly rare beef on the interior.