Chef's Blog

Solage Calistoga's Executive Chef Brandon Sharp shares his passion for cooking, life and all things Napa Valley.

August 9, 2012

There is plenty of granola to go around.  Bluefin tuna is almost gone.  How much longer can beef last?  The way we’re raising cattle these days can’t last, though it won’t be the first thing to go.  All this sunny info brought on by cooking a REALLY BIG COWBOY STEAK or three the other day.    I stared with the last three ribs of a whole 109 export, which is a bone-in ribeye with sawed-down bones.

The iphone can’t do time lapse, but if you scroll down real fast, maybe you’ll get the effect.

The loin end of the rib has the steaks with the largest eye, hence the best for serving rare to medium rare. Ribeye steaks from the shoulder need to be cooked to medium to break down the knot of fat in the middle.


Primped, puffed, and ready for the prom.

Still life with purple drank. Actually agua fresca de sandia.

A common mistake in searing protein is to not add enough fat to the pan. When you grill a steak, the grill rods are the cooking medium, but when you pan-sear a steak, the FAT needs to be the cooking medium. If you don't have enough fat in the pan, your PAN will be the cooking medium, and youwill have a spotty, burned piece of meat. I heated a quarter-inch of vegetable oil to a pretty good white smoke before I added the steaks. Also, a larger amount of hot oil is able to recover its heat faster than a small amount, which helps prevent sticking.

Seared Cowboy Steak With Pickled Chanterelles and Roasted Thyme. I served giant yukon gold duck fat fries on the side for this event in a pool of chimichurri. The pairing was a 2009 Fantesca Cabernet Sauvignon. It SCREAMED for this piece of meat. Great bottle of wine.

I just figured out why I’m so tired.  It’s not the high-season business levels, it’s the d*&n prime-time coverage of the Olympics by Costas & Co.–yes I am apparently on the NBC bashwagon.  Don’t they know that one of the benefits of west-coast life is that SPORTS ARE EARLY?  10AM kickoff for NFC East football coverage?  I didn’t even make it to the prelims of the men’s 200m last night before I crashed.  Where is the Sports Czar on this one?

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