I shouldn’t watch cooking videos. Especially cooking videos that feature barbecuing recipes. However, while idly surfing a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a video of chef Adam Perry Lang making “Man Steak”, the signature recipe from his new cookbook Charred and Scruffed. It was mesmerizing. He took an absolutely huge piece of prime rib, pounded it flat with a baseball bat, rubbed it with a seasoning blend and then moistened the rub into a paste. He then proceeded to cook it over open flame on an unoiled charcoal grill with an elevated grate, basting it frequently using a brush made of fresh herbs tied to a wooden spoon. He also turned the meat frequently, meaning parts stuck to the grill, creating what Lang calls “scruffing”—increasing the surface area of the meat and enhancing flavour. The meat was then moved closer to the flame and cooked until done. After the steak had rested, Lang sliced it and doused it with a tangy sauce flavoured by the herbs from the herb brush.
I had to make it.
My butcher quailed when I told him what I had planned for the gorgeous two-rib roast I bought from him, but I was determined, and I did enjoy the pounding part. The baste and rub are easy to make, as are the herb brush and board sauce. The grilling takes a while, so, from start to finish, you may want to set aside two hours to make this recipe. Was it worth it? Yes and no. The rub, baste, herb brush and board sauce are fabulous, and I will use them again when making regular steak. However, I’m not sure it was worth it to pound the roast – I will use a thick steak next time. Anyway, it was lots of fun to do with friends on the deck and the meat was delicious. If you try this recipe, let me know how it goes! Visit YouTube If you want to see Adam Perry Lang making this recipe with Jimmy Kimmel.
Avoiding Additives and Preservatives
The ingredients to check in this recipe are the butter, soy sauce, lemon juice, wine vinegar and dried spices. Look for an unsalted butter that lists one ingredient: cream. I use Gay Lea brand. Use tamari instead of soy sauce, because it does not contain MSG or sodium benzoate. Use fresh lemon juice and a wine vinegar with no sulphites added, such as Eden Organic brand. Check the labels on your spices to be sure they do not contain colour or anti-caking agents.
You can make the baste ahead of time and refrigerate it.
Grind the spice blend in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle.
Tie herb sprigs to a wooden spoon to create a basting brush.
The roast, pre-pounding.
The roast, post-pounding.
Rub the spice blend into the meat, then moisten it to form a paste.
Use bricks and an extra grill to elevate the grilling surface.
The meat is starting to become "scruffed".
Baste frequently, using the herb brush.
After the meat rests, douse it with a tangy board sauce.
Note – the quantities below make enough baste and rub for two large roasts, so you may wish to halve the recipes.
1 ¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cups rendered fat from meat being cooked (optional, especially if preparing ahead)
2 tablespoons finely grated garlic or garlic mashed to a paste
2 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup white wine vinegar
Four Seasons Blend
1 cup sea or kosher salt
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
A 4 1/4–4 1/2-pound 2–bone rib roast, pounded to flatten it. Cut between the bones and twist them apart; this increased the surface area of the meat.
6 tablespoons Four Seasons Blend
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
Assorted herb sprigs (such as rosemary, sage, and thyme), tied together with kitchen twine, then tied to the end of a wooden spoon.
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated garlic or grated shallot, finely chopped fresh chiles, finely chopped scallions (optional)
Combine first 11 ingredients of baste in a 2-qt. saucepan. Bring just to a simmer; remove from heat. For the best flavor, refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 1–2 days. Reheat over low heat to melt butter before using.
Whisk in lemon juice and vinegar just before using.
For Four Seasons Blend, combine the salt, black pepper, garlic salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and pulse to the consistency of sand. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Makes approximately 1 cup
Set up grill with an elevated grate and preheat grill to high. I used bricks to do this.
Season the beef all over with Four Seasons Blend and pepper, then lightly moisten your hands with water and work seasonings into the meat. Let stand for 10 minutes to develop a “meat paste” coating.
Put beef on the clean (unoiled) grill grate and cook, without moving it, for 1 minute. Turn, making sure to grab “eye” portion of each steak with your tongs, and cook for 1 minute. The meat may stick and tear a bit, but this is fine, as it creates what Adam Perry Lang calls “meat scruffing.”
Put the foil-wrapped brick on the grill grate to be used to steady the meat. Lean meat, cut side down, up against brick and cook for 4 minutes. Turn meat and repeat until all 4 sides have cooked for 4 minutes each.
Move brick to one side and continue cooking meat, turning every 3–4 minutes and basting with the herb brush and the basic baste each time meat is moved, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 105°, 25–30 minutes.
Transfer meat to a platter, brush lightly with the basic baste, and let rest for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes.
Remove brick from grate and carefully remove elevated grill grate.
Put meat on hot grill and cook, turning every 3–4 minutes and basting lightly each time meat is moved, until instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120°. Transfer meat to cutting board and let rest for 5–10 minutes.
Combine oil and parsley in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garlic or shallot, chiles, and scallions, if desired. Set aside.
Finely chop herbs at the end of herb brush. Mix herbs into dressing. Cut meat from bones, then cut bones into individual ribs. Cut meat into 1/4-inch slices. Turn each slice in dressing to coat; place on a platter. Pour juices from cutting board over meat. Serve with bones alongside. Serves 6.
Adapted from the “Charred and Scruffed” by Adam Perry Lang