Southwestern Steak & Grits (with some Eggtoberfest thrown in)

This weekend Anne and I attended the 13th annual Eggtoberfest, a festival where hundreds of Big Green Egg enthusiasts cook their favorite eggceptional meals for thousands of guests to sample.  I’ve been attending these fests since I bought my first Big Green Egg 9 years ago, but this was Anne’s first chance to eggperience the eggcitement (too much?  okay, I’ll stop).

We were accompanied by our good friends Mark and Allison, who are both eggcellent (oops, sorry) cooks and great company.  And thanks to Mark’s brilliant idea to purchase a tent at the last minute, we didn’t fry in the sun all day long.

We started the morning off by cooking some of this pumpkin bread – that’s right, bread cooked on a grill.  I must restrain myself at this point or else this post will become an advertisement for the Big Green Egg.  Suffice it to say: with an Egg, the possibilities are endless, and the quality is unmatched.  Enough said.

And at this point you’re saying, “Um, I clicked on this post because I wanted to read about steak and grits, not the Big Green Egg.”  Well, we’re getting there, because just after Anne sliced up the last bit of pumpkin bread for the Eggtoberfest crowd, Mark and I started on two separate dishes, which we decided at the last minute to throw together as one: steak and grits.  My steak had a bit of a kick to it, and Mark patterned his grits after Pioneer Woman’s “Creamy Cheese Grits with Chiles,” so it just made sense to serve the Eggtoberfest crowd “Southwestern Steak and Grits” (as it turns out, the Pioneer Woman served her grits with steak, too).

Here’s Mark about to pull his grits off the Egg.

They were just perfect in every way.

And here’s Mark and Allison getting ready to serve up the steak and grits to the patrons – somehow Anne and I managed to make them do all the work.

Well, this little dish was a big hit with the Eggtoberfest crowd, and the little bits of it that we were able to sample (I think Mark actually licked the grits spoon) were delicious.  So Anne and I just had to recreate this dish last night, so that we could enjoy more than just a small sample.

Southwestern Steak and Grits (grits recipe from The Pioneer Woman)

For the grits:

  • 1 cup quick grits
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 can Regular Rotel (tomatoes & chilies), DRAINED
  • 2 ounces chopped green chilies (1/2 of one of those small cans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan or, even better, an oven-proof pot, like LeCreuset.  Add the salt, then stir in the grits and continue to stir until the water comes back up to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low.  Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring every minute or so.

After 5 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the two cheeses, Rotel (drained, unless you want to burn your taste buds off), chilis, cayenne pepper, and paprika.  Stir until all cheese is melted and well incorporated.  Add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

Transfer pot to oven (or pour grits into a casserole-type baking dish) and bake uncovered for about 45 minutes.

Let the grits cool for about 10 minutes prior to serving.  The top layer will firm up a bit, and, when stirred into the pot, makes for great texture.

For the steak:

  • 16 ounce steak of your choice (we love flatiron – see below)
  • Olive oil
  • Dry rub of your choice (we swear by Dizzy Pig Cowlick)

In a 1-gallon Ziplock bag, pour about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of your steak rub, mix together well, then drop your steak in the bag.  Get as much air out of the bag as possible and make sure the steak is well coated in the olive oil + rub mixture.  Marinate for at least an hour or overnight.

Remove your steak from the fridge at least an hour before you plan to cook it.  Load your grill up with charcoal and get it as hot as possible.

With the Egg, we go for about 800 degrees.  :-0

Incidentally, for a steak that is at least 1.5 inches thick, we swear by the TRex Method.  You can read TRex’s novella at the previous link, or you can just remember: hot sear, 20 minute rest off the heat, roast at lower temperature until done.

So we started by searing our flat iron steak (our favorite “budget cut” – the 2nd most tender cut after the tenderloin, but with a rich flavor closer to that of a ribeye, and for a fraction of the price) for about 90 seconds a side.

Normally we rest a steak off the heat for 20 minutes, then roast it until done at around 400 degrees.  But we were racing against the sunset for photo lighting last night, so we rested the steak for only about 5 minutes, then finished it off at around 500 degrees for about 4 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature read 135 degrees.

Prior to slicing your steak, always let it rest (again) for at least 5 minutes; during this time the juices, which had been driven to the meat’s surface by the high grilling temperatures, will redistribute themselves into the interior of the meat, leaving you with a much juicier steak.  If you slice into a steak too soon, most of the juices will be sitting in a pool on your plate, instead of moistening and adding flavor to each slice.

This little combination is southwestern heaven in your mouth.

Let’s be honest, you just can’t go wrong with steak, right?  But having said that, we thought the grits were – without question – the star of this duet.  The addition of cream cheese was brilliant, as it brought the creaminess to a level of perfection without having to add bags and bags of grated cheese.  And the Rotel adds just the right southwestern kick without stealing the entire show.

If you’re feeling spicy and have a hankering for comfort food, this dish is sure to satisfy.

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6 Responses to Southwestern Steak & Grits (with some Eggtoberfest thrown in)

  1. Chris says:

    Gah! How in great googly moogly did Alexis and I miss your booth?

    Next year I wish they’d have a map layout with forum names listed so you don’t miss anyone. This looks great and I love me some grits!

  2. Shane says:

    We have only had our Egg for 6 months. The steaks and tri-tip we have turned out using the TRex method have been simply the best we have ever had. Thank you.

  3. Robert says:

    I love the TRex way. Heck that is why I have a small and a large egg. Small for searing and large for baking.

    Now I have been playing with another method for steaks. I vacuum seal them in a bag and put them in 120 deg water for an hour then sear them..

  4. Kim Y (aka vidalia1) says:

    I am an Egghead too. We were serving food not too far from you guys at Eggtoberfest. I have been reading your blog for a while and I had no idea you were and Egger…before next years fest we will have to get together and say hello…we were with the North Georgia Eggers contingent…

    Kim Y (aka vidalia1)

    • Kim Y (aka vidalia1) says:

      My bad…I just realized I already know you…sorry I missed you guys at Eggtoberfest. Maybe next year. :=)

  5. Pingback: Contending Upward

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