I find bavette to be one of the tastiest cuts of beef around. Cut from the animal's strong, well-exercised abdominal muscles, the meat should be sliced against the grain to maximise tenderness; a little brining also helps. Don't expect melt-in-the-mouth fillet here, though. This is beef that needs a little chewing, but the flavour more than makes up for that, and the smoky onions and zingy-crunchy salsa are the perfect accompaniments. Delicious.
- 4 x 100g pieces of beef bavette, onglet or thinly sliced rump
- 1 quantity brine for red meat
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1tsp thyme leaves
- 8 large salad onions or large, bulbous spring onions
- 1 quantity crunchy shallot and garlic salsa cruda
- Olive oil, for cooking
- Sea salt and black pepper
Brine for red meat
Makes about one litre
- 100g coarse sea salt
- 50g demerara (brown) sugar
- 1tbs honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 black peppercorns
- 4 cloves
Place the ingredients in a medium, non-reactive saucepan with one litre of water. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.
Crunchy shallot and garlic salsa cruda
This really simple salsa is an ace accompaniment to grilled meats and fish, adding texture, freshness and a punch of flavour.
Makes 50g-60g (about 4tbs)
- 1 large banana shallot, or 2 medium-sized ones, finely chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2tbs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2tbs olive oil
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Sea salt and black pepper
Just mix all the ingredients together, seasoning to taste and adding the lemon juice at the last minute.
Place the beef in the brine and leave, covered, for one hour. Drain and transfer to a clean bowl. Add the olive oil, garlic, chilli, lemon zest and thyme, then leave to marinate for at least one hour.
Light the barbecue and set for direct/indirect cooking.
Remove the beef from the marinade, season with salt and pepper and place on the grill in the direct heat zone. Keep a close eye on the steaks: bavette cooks quickly as it is quite thin, and it shouldn't be cooked past medium-rare otherwise it'll be tough. Grill for two minutes on each side to char, then move to the cooler edge of the barbecue to rest for a couple of minutes.
Cut the onions in half lengthwise, keeping the stalks intact. Toss them with a little olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place directly on the grill in the direct heat zone and cook for three to four minutes until charred and tender.
Thickly slice the steaks and serve with the grilled onions and salsa cruda.
Recipe from Grill Smoke BBQ by Ben Tish (reviewed here). Photography by Kris Kirkham
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