Tonight was leftover night in the Smitty household. We had a variety of leftovers from all the weekend cooking and it was getting time to eat ‘em up or toss ‘em out. I am loathe to discard a fine piece of meat like tenderloin, or rib eye or strip loin or – well, you get the idea. The question is: “How do you reheat a leftover piece of steak without turning the meat into shoe leather?” Now, I am under no illusions that a reheated piece of steak – no matter how good it was 5 minutes after it came off of the grill – is going to be as good the second time around. Sure, there are lots of things to do in order to use up the meat – chop or shred for street tacos, enchiladas or omelets, toss into a beef stew – that kind of thing. However, the memory of what the meat tasted like when it was cooked brings me back to trying to restore the meat to as close its original state as possible on the belief that if it was awesome when it was cooked, it could still be pretty good darn good the second time around.
The problem is finding the method of reheating the meat that doesn’t dry it out, toughen it up, turn it gray or otherwise spoil all hope of a credible Act II. I’ve tried microwaving, wrapping in foil and putting it in the oven, reheating it on the stove top in fluid, all to no avail.
I recently was reading about a steak house in Las Vegas – StripSteak – I believe, that poaches its steaks in clarified butter and holds them – sous vide style – at a temperature just below the desired finishing temperature, and then quickly sears the steaks on a screaming hot grill just before serving. That sounded interesting – and I’ve got to try it some time.
I’ve also stumbled upon a pizza reheating technique that involves a black cast iron skillet, a stove burner and the oven broiler.
Tonight, thinking about how to best reheat a nice piece of beef tenderloin, I stumbled upon something of a combination of these two methods and draws upon many restaurants way of cooking steaks in the first place.
I cut two medallions of beef tenderloin – about an inch and a quarter thick or 3 ounces each. The tenderloin originally was cooked to about 125 degrees which, when the carryover cooking effect was taken into account, ended up in medium rare tenderloin roasts, so the meat was nice and red throughout.
I rubbed both sides of each medallion with EVOO, kosher salt and black pepper. I heated a Lodge cast iron grill pan to a medium-high heat on the gas burner of the stove and then put each medallion into the grill pan for about 2 minutes a side. In the meantime, the oven was heated to about 300 degrees. After 4 minutes or so, the cast iron grill pan went into the oven for another 4 minutes. After pulling the grill pan out of the oven, the medallions were removed to a plate and rested for another two minutes.
The result was filet mignon that was medium – only slightly more cooked than originally – well-seasoned from the EVOO, salt and pepper, and – while not quite as delicious as when the roast was originally cooked – still much better than just about anything served in anything but the finest steak houses.
All-in-all, mission accomplished! Leftovers used in a tasty and delicious way; refrigerator cleaned out for the upcoming weekend’s cooking and material for another Smitty’s Que Crew post ready to go!
Next leftover night, we’ll talk about leftover chicken – its a bird of a different feather altogether!
PS – if you’re with me until the end of this post, you may be wondering “Where are the pictures? The videos? The visual aids?” Fair enough. This blogging thing is new to me and I’m still working on getting into the habit. Unfortunately, I don’t have very good lighting where I do most of my evening cooking and evening is when I do most of my cooking. I will try over the next several weeks to include photographs in my posts. After all, as is the slogan on one of the BBQ sites I frequent “if there are no pictures, it didn’t happen.” Rest assured, it all happens and I will try to do a better job of including the visual proof!