For the benefit of our national readers, I’d like mention that this week marks that most glorious of weeks for drinkers in Our Fair City – Chicago Craft Beer Week. And as such, I’d like to offer my very favorite food accompaniment to beer – a simple, flavorful steak sandwich. There’s a few ingreients and steps, but it comes down to this:
– Rub steak with spices, grill, slice
– Smash avocado with garlic
– Pickle onions
– Heat beans
– Sandwich time
Not so difficult, right? You’ll need that brainpower for strategizing a plan of attack on the hundreds of delicious craft beers on offer all over the city.
Regional note: People use “hoagie,” “grinder,” “hero,” and “sub” interchangeably in different areas of the country. I don’t care what you call it. Get a nice soft oblong roll, split it in half, and go to town. Use a spinach wrap or your two mitts if it makes you feel better. Just nothing that’s going to take your beautifully-cooked steak and make it taste like straight bread.
One 2 lb flank steak
2 tbsp grapeseed or other oil
4 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp freshly-crushed (not fine-ground) black pepper
1 tsp dry mustard powder
3 avocados, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp kosher salt
2 red onions, sliced thick
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp Kosher salt
1/4 c cider vinegar
12 oz refried black beans, heated through and covered
1 lime, cut into wedges
Cotija cheese, to top
4 hoagie rolls, split
1. Pat the steak dry and brush lightly with oil. Cut a cross-hatch of shallow diagonal slash marks in the steak on both sides, taking care not to cut through.
2. Mix the salt, paprika, pepper, and mustard powder. Rub evenly on the steak.
3. Mix the diced avocado with the salt and garlic. Squeeze over a wedge of lime, mix, and cover with plastic until you’re ready to use.
4. Place the sliced onions in a heatproof vessel large enough to fit the onions, packed loosely. Mix the water, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and pour over the onions, enough to cover. Cover and let sit at least 20 min while you prepare everything else.
5. Preheat the grill to high. Scrape and oil the grate.
6. Place the steak on the grill over direct heat. Cook 7 minutes per side, rotating each steak 90 degrees halfway through cooking each side.
7. Remove the steak to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Rest at least five minutes while you spread the bottom of the hoagies with beans and avocado.
8. Slice the steak thinly against the grain and cut slices into bite-sized pieces. Throw the steak on the roll, giveit a squeeze of lime, and top with onions, cotija, and any leftover avocado. Wasting avocado makes California Baby Jesus cry.
9. Slice in half and serve with a cold Chicago craft beer.