I always love the first week of my ButcherBox, when I sort through it, make a rough plan for which meats to thaw first, and start to brainstorm what we’ll do with them.
All this month, the farmers market is just riotous with produce, so I break from my normal routine of a big weekly trip to the grocery store and swing through a farmers market every couple of days, letting the produce dictate our plans, along with the meat I’m thawing for the week. This time around: pork ribs, some chicken thighs, and a package of ranch steaks.
Sunday: Today was a cook-all-the-summer-foods kind of day. We rubbed a rack of St. Louis pork ribs with a rub of dehydrated honey and Aleppo pepper in the morning, and cooked them low-and-slow—on the cool side of a two-zone fire. We didn’t let the heat reach over 350°F, and we kept a little pan of water over the coals to keep things from getting too dry.
I stirred together some harissa, tomato paste, maple syrup, and cider vinegar for a quick sauce for basting the ribs toward the end. They were a hit, even though they felt like a work in progress. It takes some doing to learn the best way to keep your grill’s temperature even, and to create the right conditions inside the grill—but even newbie BBQ is pretty great.
While the coals were hot, I coated the chicken thighs with the same spice rub and a sprinkle of salt and quickly grilled them so I could save myself some effort in the midst of the upcoming week, which I knew would be busy—and hot.
Monday: We had a few ribs left so I diced up the meat and used it as the base for a rice stir-fry with scallions, savoy cabbage, and a heap of cilantro. The pork added a great layer of savory flavor and richness to this simple dish.
Tuesday: Grilled chicken from Sunday got sliced up for one of our favorite DIY dinners: rice noodle bowls. I dressed the cold noodles with rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and put out a ton of toppings: the aforementioned chicken; sliced cucumbers and radishes; shredded carrot and crushed peanuts; and a pile of lettuce, mint, and cilantro leaves. Everyone’s bowl was different. My kids picked noodles, chicken, and cucumbers, while I started with lettuce and herbs, added a few ounces each of noodles and chicken, and topped it off with a pile of veggies, a fistful of peanuts, and plenty of lime juice and hot sauce.
Hit the spot on a muggy night.
Wednesday: A hot summer day. The kids were spent from camp and I was spent from a long day in meetings. Big snacks to the rescue!
Thursday: I packed a picnic to bring to a weekly lawn party in our neighborhood—a fun scene with music, a beer garden, and food trucks (with lines so long it pays to plan ahead). I tossed plain campanelle pasta with olive oil for the kids, and to my own, added leftover corn, shredded zucchini, chopped olives, mint, and feta cheese.
Friday: Our neighbors came over for dinner and a movie; we ordered pizza for the kids and I made the ranch steaks from my Butcher Box.
I’d never encountered ranch steaks before they came in the mail from Butcher Box, and I love how quickly they cook and how well they absorb a marinade while maintaining their own clean, minerally flavor. For the herbiest, punchiest salad, keep the mint, basil, and cilantro leaves whole or barely torn.
- 2 x 8 oz. ButcherBox Ranch Steaks
- salt, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 limes
- 1 small cucumber peeled, seeded, and sliced into ¼-inch-thick pieces
- 4-5 radishes thinly sliced
- ¼ cup chopped scallion greens cut into 1-inch pieces
- Large handful fresh mint
- handful cilantro leaves
- handful basil leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Pat steaks dry and rub liberally with salt. Place in a wide, shallow baking dish and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, fish sauce, and juice and zest of one lime. Stir together, taste and adjust the seasoning, then pour over the steaks, turning to coat the meat in the marinade. Marinate for at least one hour or up to one day.
- Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and light the grill (if using charcoal, wait until the coals are glowing and ashy on top; if using gas, preheat to high).
- Sear the steaks for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until a meat thermometer registers 115°F. Remove to a cutting board, cover with foil, and rest the meat for 10-15 minutes (the meat will keep rising in temp to 125, right on the cusp of rare and medium-rare).
- While the meat rests, toss the cucumber, radishes, scallions, and herbs together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the juice of the remaining lime.
- Slice the meat against the grain and shingle the slices down the center of a large platter. Pile the salad over the meat and serve family-style.