Gamers' Guide to Grub - Sublime Steak Sandwiches
Sublime Steak Sandwiches
By Greg Spyridis
Every gamer needs power for those long gaming sessions, so how about a tasty treat that will reset the health meter and satisfy cravings
We've all been there: you're just about to sit down with the usual crew for a couple hours of fragging, when suddenly the whole house is rocked by a spine-shaking, window-rattling baritone roar that sounds like a Wookie in heat. An enraged, steroid-using Wookie with an over-active pituitary gland that's strung out on PCP. A Wookie who would pull your arms out of their sockets even if you let him win.
Everyone freezes, nervous glances are exchanged, and you all hold your breath - waiting for what, inevitably, comes next. The howl is first answered by a staccato rumble from somewhere on the far side of the room, then by a high-pitched whine immediately to your right. Finally, in that same inexplicable way that yawns are contagious, your own empty stomach joins the call, and you resign yourself to the fact that no gaming will get done until everyone gets something to eat.
But what do you do about it?
Sure, you could order out for pizza - but you still have three slices left from when you did that last Wednesday. Besides, without even bothering to ask, you know that neither Tom or Mark have any cash ... and they still owe you for last week. And the week before that.
Which pretty much only leaves the drive-thru .. but even if you could get everyone to come to an agreement on where, by the time you pile into cars, hit a cash machine, get food, and get back, your game-time will be cut in half.
It's a no-win situation - your own culinary Kobayashi Maru - unless you can dive into your fridge and come up with a meal that's cheap, easy, ready in 10 minutes, and blows the pants off anything you'd find at a fast food restaurant.
Enter the Sublime Steak Sandwich
Of all the legions of recipes in my arsenal, this simple little sub is unquestionably one of my favorites. It's as easy to make as boxed mac n' cheese, it costs about the same as a single dinner at a cheap diner, and it's so good that I have actually had people ask me to make it for them as birthday presents.
2 Pounds, Steak (See The Install, Step 2 for more info)
Bread, in the form of either a good quality rustic peasant-loaf or hoagie rolls
1/2 Pound of Havarti, Gouda, Blue, or Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp dried Rosemary, or 4 large sprigs of fresh Rosemary, chopped fine
1 1/2 Tsp Pepper
1 1/2 Tsp Italian Seasoning *
1 Tbsp Granulated Garlic *
1 Large Onion and/or Bell Pepper (optional)
* Make sure to check the ingredients on your spices to ensure that no additional Salt has been added. If your Italian Seasoning or Garlic includes Salt, do not add any more without tasting the seasoning first.
1) Begin by preheating your grill, broiler, or a large skillet with high heat. I'll be honest with you and say that cooking your meat on the grill is unquestionably the best way to go, but if you either don't have one, or are too lazy to go outside in the wet and cold to cook on it, you can make do with the stove or broiler easily enough.
2) While the cooker is heating, it's time to assess your meat. As I'm sure you noticed, I didn't tell you what type of meat to buy - and for good reason. One of the best things about this recipe is that you can make it with pretty much any kind of steak you want (or can afford). That means that anything from flank steak to flat-irons, skirt steaks to tri-tips, or even the venerated (but pricey) strips and ribeyes can be made into tasty, tasty sandwiches.
The only two rules when buying meat are that it has to be well marbled (meaning that there are small veins of fat that run throughout the steak) and within your budget. So what I like to do is wait for a good sale at the grocery store, buy a ton of whatever it is, and then toss the rest into the freezer - so that I'm always just a defrost away from beefy heaven any time of day or night. Oh and, as a bonus, if your friends aren't the moneyless chumps mine are, you can always charge them something reasonable - say, five bucks a piece - when you cook it and turn a tidy profit on the money you saved.
Regardless of what you buy, however, the one thing you have to be concerned about is its thickness. To make a good sandwich you're going to need to start with meat that's no more than a half-inch thick. If your meat is thicker than that, proceed to Step 3. Otherwise, jump ahead to Step 4.
3) If your meat is thicker than a half-inch or so, you'll have to pound it down before throwing it on the grill. To do that, we're going to employ what I call the Short Muscle Applied Swift Hammer method (Get it? SMASH. It's a joke, see? With the acronym. It's funny because I ... I ... ahem ... never mind).
Anyways, start by putting a few drops of Olive Oil into a large aluminum roasting pan and spreading it around so that you get a really light coating across the bottom. Put your meat into the center, toss a few more drops on the steak, and then cover it with some plastic wrap. Now find something heavy and smooth, like the flat side of a meat-mallet, the bottom of a sturdy pot, or - if you're a passive-aggressive guy like me - even your fist, and pound the meat until it's flat. There is really no such thing as too thin, though your target is that afore-mentioned half-inch.
4) Combine the salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, rosemary, and garlic, and apply it to the meat liberally. Once it's all on there, give the steak a couple of good pats to make sure the seasoning is adhering, then coat it in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
5) Now it's time to let the meat meet the heat. Toss it on the grill, in the skillet, or in the oven as close to the broiler as you can and cook it hot and fast. For most steaks, and using most methods, the meat won't need more than 2 minutes per side--though if your fire lacks power or you only like your beef well done, you may need to go as long as three. It's done when it has a nice brown char on both sides and it's ever-so-slightly firm to the touch.
6) Pull the meat off the grill, cover it lightly with aluminum foil, and let it rest for at least two minutes. If you opted for the onions or peppers, now is the time to slice them thin and toss 'em on the heat right after your steak gets pulled off (do note, however, that if you're cooking in a pan on the stove you'll need to toss in a little bit of oil first to keep them from sticking). Cook the veggies until they're tender and semi-translucent.
7) Once the meat has rested, put it onto a cutting board so that the grain (the fiber of the meat) is going from left to right. Then grab the biggest knife you've got and slice it as thin as you can using long, slow strokes that go against the grain. Oh and, whatever you do, don't throw out the juice that will come pouring out of the steak as you cut it. Instead drizzle that back over the top of the strips and spoon it into the finished sandwiches.
Like all great grub, these steak sandwiches are as easy to serve as they are to cook. Just pile the meat up on the table next to the bread, cheese, a jar of mayo, and some premium potato chips ... then sit back and be washed in endless waves of adoration.
Of course, if you wanted to go from folk-hero to superstar, you could always put your broiler on high and let people toss their open-faced sandwiches under it so that the cheese melts and bubbles and turns a heavenly golden-brown. Though, if you go that far you may want to demand a five-kill head-start and add some serious interest to that money that Tom and Mark owe you.