A Story for Father's Day
Now, not every Dad’s day culminates with the perfect cross-hatched grill marks on that perfect Porterhouse you bought. I know it’s hard to believe but not everyone at VBS has been a grill master their whole life. We, fortunately for you, have “real world” experience in all the mistakes we warn against. Father’s Day, with all the pressure of perfection, led to my personal worst.
Long before working on the farm and knowing how good food and meat should be raised and taste, I thought the peak of decadence was Omaha Steaks. Having now tried all the competition in the shipped meats category, I can say most are overpriced and underwhelming.
Consider that I bought four 12 oz. prime NY strips for $175. Buy them from us, better quality, personal service, and more like $50.
Nonetheless, the purchase was made. I bought what I thought would make the most unbelievable dinner for my Dad, Mom, little sister, and I.
The day was beautiful, spent laying in the sun on the beach and enjoying the ocean on Martha’s Vineyard. Picture Perfect. We arrive back to the house to the box from Omaha Steaks. I think to myself “the surprise is ruined but at least he looks excited”. We carry the ENOURMOUS box inside and start opening the many layers. The top has grilling and safe handling instructions and under is a custom made Styrofoam box with their label on it. Again, picture perfect. I remember clearly, looking at the cooking instructions and thinking, “Who needs these?”
Then we opened the box. Admittedly, they looked impressive, well marbled with good color and size. I go to reach for one and pick it up, frozen solid. To be honest, I didn’t think it was possible to ship something overnight and have them arrive not in the slightest bit thawed. Mind you, it’s now 4:30 in the afternoon. I scramble and fill a salad bowl with steaming hot water and throw the steaks in. I leave to go to the store to get sides, wine, and some other essentials. When I come back the steaks are grey as stone on the outside and I can tell the inside is still frozen solid. It is now 5:45. The pressure is on big time at this point because I made the date. Dinner at 6:30 sharp!
My only option, seemingly, is to move forward as if everything is fine. Preheat the grill, mix the salad and get the potatoes in the oven. Open the wine, hoping that may take some of the expectation away by the time the food is served. I find a moment alone to take the steaks out of vacuum sealed packs, hit them with EVOO, salt and pepper and run them out to the grill. Again I can tell they are still frozen but I proceed anyway. Four minutes a side and I take them off. On the surface they look amazing. I let them rest hoping it may help the frozen center situation while I set the table, complete with a flower arrangement and homemade table cloth made by my little sister. Everyone sits and I serve what I think is going to be A+ work.
Dad goes for the initial cut. It’s raw as the day it was slaughtered. My dreams come crashing like the waves on the beach in the distance. So, I spring into action. Taking everyone’s meat without asking I run them to the kitchen and cut them into cubes. My saving grace was the peppers and onions that were for the salad. I have a moment of clarity, cube the steaks and make them into kabobs and throw them back on the grill. Slight hiccup but the day was saved and a cautionary tale was lived. After a couple of laughs and a first-course salad, the dinner was a relative success.
The advice we give on how to prepare your food is to prevent things exactly like this. We want you to enjoy the things you take home as much as possible. There are three huge points we always make when people ask for tips. Always let your meat, EVEN CHICKEN, come to room temp before you cook it. Always let it rest. Always use more salt than you think. Follow those simple points that very few people do and you will have success. Oh, and never forget the wine, it has saved many disappointing dinners for me.
Good luck this Father’s Day, friends. We know you will knock his socks off! – J.D.