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Barbecue University™

Eight Delectable Side Dishes For Grilled Steak

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When the pandemic-sponsored dust settles, I truly hope America’s archetypical steakhouses, those beloved palaces of gluttony, will be left standing. I would truly miss New York City’s clubby Delmonico’s, the oldest restaurant in the country. The Palm (multiple locations), with its cartoonish portraits (painted directly on the walls) of celebrities and politicians. The Cut in Los Angeles. Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse in Chicago, where the martinis are as memorable as the Prime Angus. And all the unassuming family-owned steakhouses in the Heartland with their signature steaks, salad bars, and chatty waitstaffs.

I wouldn’t just miss the steaks, always cooked to sanguine perfection. I’d miss the cocktails, the appetizers and side dishes, the rich desserts—professionally-rendered Manhattans (preferably with Luxardo cherries), deftly dressed Caesar or wedge salads, tiered towers of iced shellfish, loaded baked potatoes, decadent bowls of creamed spinach, sautéed mushrooms, New York-style cheesecake.

But, just as you can cook spectacular steaks on your grill—especially now since Prime meats are often available online—you can replicate some of steakhouses’ most popular accompaniments at home, too. Here are some of our nominees.

Smoky Manhattan: As our friend Dave Stolte says, “A properly made Manhattan is truly a thing of beauty, capturing balance, excitement, and depth in four quick sips while priming your appetite for the evening ahead.” (Dave is the author of the just-released Home Bar Basics. Find more of his inspired grilled and smoked cocktails here.

Smoke-Roasted Oysters and Clams: Bacon, butter, jalapenos, and white wine combine to seduce even people who don’t think they like oysters and clams. Alternatively, serve a grilled shrimp cocktail.

Grilled Caesar Salad: Steven claims a Caesar salad was one of the first recipes he ever learned to make, and his expertise shines through in this recipe, first published in BBQ USA. Romaine lettuce is exposed to live fire just long enough to give it a hauntingly good smoke flavor while leaving it raw and crisp. It’s been a favorite at Barbecue University™ for years.

Grilled Breadsticks: Serve with the Caesar Salad above, but be sure to make extra as these batons of grilled bread are sure to be a hit.

Anchovy Cream: In the spirit of American steakhouses, long known for their heavy handedness with cream and butter, comes this umami-rich flavor bomb. Drizzle it over your steak (Steven recommends dry-brined rib-eyes) for a truly transcendent experience. Think you don’t like anchovies? We beg you—just try this recipe.

Hasselback Potatoes: Steakhouse potatoes are often large enough to challenge the passing skills of Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes. Hasselbacks, named for the Swedish hotel and restaurant where they were invented, can be—if you want—smaller, but just as sexy. A series of parallel cuts are made through the side of the potato before smoke-roasting with butter and Parm. The outside of the potato is crusty while the inside is creamy. You’ll make these again and again.

Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Feta, Capers, and Pine Nuts: Even if you served a Caesar salad (see above) as one of the first courses in a steakhouse-style meal, this combination looks absolutely stunning on the plate. Especially if your garden, farmers’ market, or supermarket yields an array of colorful bell peppers. Steven first discovered it in Italy, where it’s called“Peperoni ai Ferri con Capperi e Pinoli.”

Smoked Cheesecake with Burnt Sugar Cream Sauce: This swoon-worthy dessert was the crown jewel in a sumptuous dinner we put together on the set of Project Smoke several years ago to celebrate Steven’s March birthday. Cheesecake is usually bake din a pan of simmering water, which cooks the filling while preventing it from cracking or curdling. In other words, low, slow, and moist. So naturally, we baked it in a smoker. The smoke gives the cheesecake an intriguing flavor—familiar, yet exotic.


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