Sunday, June 18, 2006

Inter-LUG BBQ

Last night we had a BBQ with a few of the Linux Users Groups (LUG) in the area. It was potluck style, so we were well-stocked with a variety of chips, pasta salads and drinks. For my part, I brought a fine selelection of Tabasco sauces (regular, jalapeno, garlic, chipotle, habanero and of course, Tabasco soy sauce.

I also brought a couple of flank steaks, because it's not very often one has enough people in attendance to help eat a whole flank steak, much less the second one that usually comes with it. And you know, I just love flank steak. It's my absolute favorite cut of beef. I love the flavor, and I also really like the cut itself. It's a flat piece of meat with all of the grains running in the same direction. This means that if you cut it one way, you get nothing but shoe leather. But if you cut it in another direction, it's tender, juicy and almost just falls apart in your mouth.

When we cooked flank steak in school, our teachers taught us the following words: big smile, small slice. The idea is that when a customer wants a big old slice of flank steak (and who wouldn't?), we engage them in conversation and distract them while we cut a little thin slice, on the bias so that it looks bigger. Yeah, I didn't do that. I dispensed with the big smile, small slice and just made sure to cut against the grain and encourage everyone to take some. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me get you some recipes first, since I promised everyone there that I would post them.

Pineaple Soy Flank Steak Marinade

20oz pineapple chunks
1/4 c lite soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp chipotle
splash Worcestershire
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Curry Flank Steak Marinade

2 (5.6oz) cans coconut milk
2 Tbsp curry paste
1 tsp curry powder
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Same thing with both, just mix 'em up and toss 'em in a zip top bag with a flank steak. Let marinate overnight. Now, you may have noticed a serious lack of salt here. There's two reasons for this. First of all, soy sauce has a lot of sodium. Even lite soy sauce, which has significantly less, still has a lot of sodium. The curry paste had a little too. Second reason: I have high blood pressure. I have to go easy on the salt. Plus, spices like curry are a good way to add seasoning without needing to add salt too. If you like, you can add a tablespoon or two of salt to either marinade.

When the time comes, toss the steaks on a hot grill and get some grill marks on 'em. Now, the nice thing about flank steak is, it actually tastes better rare or medium rare. Even to me! But I wasn't sure how these people would take to that much red, so I went almost medium. This was easy, because the grill wasn't as hot as we'd hoped, so it took longer to cook. No crust, but it was also cooked pretty evenly. It went over pretty well too. My favorite was the pineapple soy, but my wife loved the curry one.

We had some other killer foods too. Gabe brought some chicken kebabs that were pretty awesome. I forget who brought the hand-rolled sausages, but I would love a copy of the recipe. In addition to the burgers (which I had one of) and hot dogs, there were also things like chicken burgers and turkey burgers. Jayce brought a macaroni salad that was pretty good, though I think I liked the previous version of it that we had at another function. I'm kicking myself for forgetting to get a rice krispy treat. Somebody brought a lot of terra chips. I love terra chips. And somebody brought a lot of habanero chips too. And a kid tried one, and suffered greatly for his efforts.

I spent most of the night hanging out with Lars and his wife. Lars reminded me of a joke, about a guy who died and went to heaven. A guy in front of him was refused passage to heaven because he loved money so much, he married a girl named Penny. The next guy was refused because he loved wine so much, he married a girl named Sherry. That was when the guy turned to his wife and said, "we'd better get out of here, Vanna." Okay, so that was kind of lame. But it does bring me to a point. After all my years of computer networking, I married a girl named Nat. You geeks out there are either laughing or groaning, or both.

Speaking of geeks, you know you're at a geek BBQ when the music provided is coming off of a notebook running Ubuntu Linux. Download it, install it, be happy like me. Yeah, that was my notebook. But the sound system wasn't mine. It was provided courtesy my good friend Troy, who is a killer DJ. You should call him and hire him for your next event. He's also a killer web designer, and runs a web hosting company. His number's on the site.

All in all, it was a good time. I met a lot of geeks that I'd only known previously from the Utah Open Source Planet. Hey all! It was good to meet you all.

Update: It was Andrew that did the sausages. I was thinking it might be, but I wasn't sure. I have a horrible memory. I'm hoping he'll forgive my forgetfulness and let me see a copy of the recipe.

5 comments:

  1. Your wife was right, the Curry Flank Steak Marinade was the goods.

    Troy, if you read this, thanks for the tunes. We had a great time. We'll keep you in mind when we need DJ services.

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  2. My sweetie & I loved the curry steak as well - any chance I could get a copy of last night's playlist?

    And where did you find tabasco shoyu?

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  3. I'm still trying to figure out how I reminded you of that joke. One of our other fellow BBQ attendees married a gal named Cat.

    Let's see... the ascii difference between Nat and Cat is 11 - a prime number! What was really in that flank steak?

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  4. Lars: Most of not all of those flavors are available at Pirate O's in Draper. And yes, that really is what I put in the flank steak. And you reminded me of the joke when you asked what my wife's name was, I told you it was Nat, and you immediately thought network address translation. You nerd. I'll go ahead and email you the playlist.

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  5. The sausages ("leskovachki chevapchichi" in Americanized Serbian) are really easy to make. The recipe I had in a book calls for half a pound of ground beef and half a pound of ground pork, into which a chopped onion, a chopped hot pepper, salt, black pepper, and parsley are mixed in. The amounts aren't given, so you kind of have to do it to taste. It's better to add too much than too little. The peppers I found were pretty weak, so I ended up using about three (it should be pretty hot). As an experiment, I added some garlic and a few tablespoons of paprika for fun.

    Once everything's mixed, you pretend you're in kindergarten and make little snakes out of the mixture. They'll shrink a little bit, but when they're cooked, they should be a little more than half an inch thick and and three or four inches long.

    You can eat them alone or put several of them in a bun and add condiments.

    -- Andrew McNabb

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