Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Smoked New York Strip streak with smoked buttery shrimp is a recipe for Valentine’s success!

Note: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

When Valentine’s Day comes up, Mrs. Learning to Smoke and I like to stay home for dinner and avoid the crowds. You best believe I work the grill for these occasions! I tend to do some sort of surf n’ turf and it is a hit every year. With that “special occasion” feeling in mind, I share with you this dinner idea for two that is certain to be a winner for you and special someone (or if you are alone on Valentine’s and are very hungry for two full plates. I don’t judge). For this post I have teamed up with Certified Angus Beef to make this reverse seared New York Strip steak and smoked buttery shrimp (which is a recipe that is also on my website).

What is reverse searing?

Reverse searing is slow cooking the meat first and then searing to finish it off.

For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you will see that I frequently preach the gospel of reverse searing steaks. With a traditional sear, you crank up the high heat on the grill/skillet and cook both sides of the steak on the outside, then throw it in the oven to let it finish cooking on the inside. When you reverse sear, you slow cook the steak first and THEN sear to finish. Since this is a barbecue page, you best believe I love to smoke the steak using indirect heat on the grill. Doing this lets me infuse that wood smoke flavor into the steak before searing to lock in those juices and create that tasty, savory crust on the outside.

If the traditional sear is how you have always done it and don’t want to change, that’s fine. But if you’re willing to try new things and enhance the flavor of your steak, then give reverse sear a try!

Choosing the right New York strip steak

Seasoned New York Strip steaks. They have some decent marbling, too.

The New York strip steak comes from the short loin of the cow and is a tender, leaner cut. When looking for a flavorful New York strip steak (or any steak for that matter), make sure to pick the one (or two in this case) that have the most fat interwoven into the meat. Unlike the hard fats on the outside of the steak, these intramuscular fats render into the meat and add some juicy flavor. Also, the thicker the steak the better. Don’t settle for anything less than one inch because that’s just an appetizer.

Reverse sear the New York strip steak

Now that we’ve covered what it means to reverse sear (for more info on the subject check out my Reverse Searing 101 post) and you have your New York strip steak picked out, let’s get started!

Before prepping the steaks, I like to get my grill/smoker going with indirect heat so it can get up to the desired temps in the interim. I usually go 225F for steaks, but since I’m using my grill for both the steak and the shrimp, I aim for 250F.

For this steak, I’m combining three seasonings: 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. I put them in a small container and mix. Then I grab some with my fingertips and sprinkle on the New York strip steak. I flip the steak over and repeat the process.

When the grill is up to temps (or at least close), I open it up and lay the steaks on the grill grates and let the smoke and low heat do their magic. For smoking wood flavor on steak, I like oak, pecan, or hickory. The length of time to cook varies on size and thickness. Since these were one inch at 250F, they took about 40 to 45 minutes to get to around 130F.

Reverse seared and resting before slicing.

Now that this part is done, it’s time for the sear! I love searing in the cast iron skillet because the the entire surface of the steak will get touched and develop that crust, which adds flavor. Speaking of crust and flavor, another reason I like searing in a cast iron skillet is that adding extra ingredients into the skillet will enhance the flavor of your steak even more! I’m going with a Tablespoon of butter, a clove of garlic, a sprig of rosemary, and a sprig of thyme. Give the steak about two minutes on both sides and that should do the trick!

Rest then serve

An underrated part of cooking steaks is letting the meat rest before serving. This gives the meat time to relax and let juices settle in. Wait about 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. It will be worth it I promise.

The smoked buttery shrimp!

Smoked buttery shrimp will rock your world!

We can’t forget the other half of this dynamic duo: the smoked buttery shrimp! This shrimp recipe has been my most popular recipe on my website for a while now. Combining the shrimp with five other ingredients, and a little smoke from the pecan wood, these turn the shrimp from Clark Kent into Superman!

Six ingredients, starting with the shrimp

The shrimp I buy in the fresh seafood section of my local grocery store comes with the vein removed along the back (shell split along the back to remove vein). When getting it ready for this recipe, I like to leave the tail on. It’s like a little shrimp handle for me and I think provides a nice aesthetic, as well. With that said, get an 8×8 foil pan and start lining the de-shelled (and de-veined) shrimp in the pan. Since we hare doing 15 shrimp, I do three rows of five.

The five remaining ingredients

Ready to hit the grill for some low n’ slow action! (After the Rosemary gets put in there, of course).

I melt a stick of butter in a separate bowl and mix a clove of minced garlic with it, then pour the mixture into the foil pan, covering the shrimp. Next I sprinkle some of my favorite rub on the shrimp (feel free to use your favorite rub for these, too. Or a simple salt and pepper mix will do) and then I squeeze a quarter of a lemon all over the pan. I finish with taking two sprigs of rosemary and laying them in between the rows of shrimp laid out.

Smoking that good stuff

Smoked shrimp on the grill at 250F for 25 minutes.

With the grill at 250F using indirect heat, I place the tray in and check it after 25 minutes. You will know when they are done when they turn from gray to orange. Keep in mind that if they overcook, they will be rubbery to the bite. If you want to get technical, use your digital thermometer and aim for about 120F internal for the best bite.

NOTE: you can smoke both the steak and the shrimp in the same grill at the same time as needed.

The video!

The recipe!

Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Reverse Seared New York Strip Steak and Smoked Buttery Shrimp

A twist on a classic surf and turf recipe by smoking the steak before searing and smoking the shrimp will rock your world and that of your special someone!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Additional Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the steak:
  • 2 New York strip steaks, at least an inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • For shrimp:
  • 15 large shrimp, uncooked
  • 1/2 Cup butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 lemon, squuezed
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning
  • 2 sprigs rosemary

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill/smoker to 250F with indirect heat using pecan wood. While that is happening, combine mix of kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder into small bowl to mix. Sprinkle over both sides of New York strip steaks.
  2. Place steaks in grill and let cook for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove when internal temps reach 130F.
  3. In a cast iron skillet (up to searing temps), place butter, garlic clove, rosemary and thyme. Mix and place steaks in skillet, allowing two minutes of searing on each side. Remove, rest 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.
  4. For shrimp, rinse, de-shell and de-vein as needed. In a small bowl, melt stick of butter and mix in clove of minced garlic. Set aside.
  5. Place shrimp in three rows of five in an 8x8 pan. Pour butter and garlic mixture in pan. Sprinkle rub on shrimp, then squeeze lemon and add sprigs of rosemary in between rows of shrimp.
  6. Put pan of shrimp in grill at 250F for 25 minutes or until shrimp turn orange. Remove, rest for a few minutes, then serve.

Notes

You can cook the shrimp and steak in the grill/smoker at the same time. The recipe has been adjusted to help the process go quicker.

If you have extra time, let the seasoned steaks rest about 20 minutes before putting in grill. This helps the meat absorb the seasonings before cooking, enhancing flavor.

Feel free to substitute pecan wood for smoking wood of your choice.

Look for good marbling on New York strip steak. It is a leaner cut, so the more marbling you can get the better.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

6 oz (3 oz steak, 3 oz shrimp)

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400 Total Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 11g Cholesterol: 256mg Sodium: 850mg Carbohydrates: 1g Sugar: 0g Protein: 41g

Bacon Candy!

A fistful of dollars…or bacon candy. Same diff.

Did that heading capture your attention? Good. This post is about bacon candy. That’s right: bacon candy. Two words that can bring the world together. This is a recipe that is so simple, even a child can do it!

One recipe, four ingredients

All you need is four ingredients: maple syrup, brown sugar, rub, and the glue that brings the meat-loving world together: bacon.

The ingredients for bacon candy (not pictured: bacon).

 

The step-by-step

First, lay the bacon out on a sheet of parchment paper (foil will work, too). Second, drizzle maple syrup over the bacon strips. Next, shake some of your favorite pork rub on, then finally sprinkle brown sugar on top. Flip the bacon slices over and repeat on the other side.

Rub, brown sugar, and then maple syrup applied. Flip bacon over and repeat.

Now that this is done, take them out to your smoker. For easy transfer to and from grill, I recommend a Bradley rack or cooling rack. Simply put in the grill to get some pecan smoke love at 275F for 45 minutes. It should look just the right amount of crispy: a little on the ends, but still soft enough to sink your teeth into.

People have their own idea of when bacon is done, but this is how I like it.

These are super addicting and will make you a hit with your family and friends…if you don’t eat all of the bacon first.

The video!

The recipe!


Bacon Candy

INGREDIENTS

  • Eight strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons rub
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 Cup maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat smoker/grill to 275F. Use pecan wood (or whichever would you prefer)
  2. Lay out eight strips of bacon on either parchment paper or aluminum foil. Apply half of rub, brown sugar, and then maple syrup. Turn over bacon strips and repeat.
  3. Place bacon on cooling rack/Bradley rack and put in smoker for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to best gauge when they are done to your liking.
  4. Remove from smoker, carefully pulling off the cooling rack.

Eat what you want and share the rest. If you share first, you may end up empty handed!

Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Smoked buttery shrimp will rock your world!
Smoked buttery shrimp will rock your world!

This smoked shrimp recipe is one I have been longing to post ever since I first made it. I usually like to try the recipe out a few times to make sure I’ve got the best taste possible. I love this smoked shrimp recipe so much, as well as the folks I made it for did too, that I decided to share it now. Pair this with my smoked prime rib recipe for an epic feast!

Six ingredients, starting with the shrimp

Large shrimp. Ready to be prepped.

I bought these large shrimp at Costco from their Seafood Road Show they were doing. They came deveined (as well as without the heads), so all I had to do was remove the shells. When removing the shells, I make sure to leave the tip by the tail on. It makes them easier for me to hold while eating and I think provides a better aesthetic.

Since I had never prepped shrimp before, I called a friend of mine who is experienced with this to make sure that gray stuff that was on the shrimp was supposed to be there (the pic below will help you know what I’m talking about).

Rinsed and seasoned with Q-nami Rub.
Rinsed and seasoned with Q-nami Rub.

The five remaining ingredients

Yep, it’s common for that gray stuff to be on there. It will turn orange when it is finished cooking. Now that it’s been peeled, rinsed, and patted dry with a paper towel, I rub it with the Q-nami Rub from Lane’s BBQ.

Next up, I grab a small bowl and melt a stick of butter (you can do more to make it extra buttery if desired, but I thought one stick was good enough for 15 shrimp). After it has melted, I mixed in the minced garlic in the bowl and stirred.

Ready to hit the grill for some low n' slow action! (After the Rosemary gets out in there, of course).
Ready to hit the grill for some low n’ slow action! (After the Rosemary gets out in there, of course).

After I have laid the shrimp in the 8×8 foil pan, I pour that liquid gold (the melted butter and garlic, that is) over the shrimp and into the pan. I then cut and quarter a lemon and squeeze a slice all over. And finally, as far as ingredients go, I place two sticks of rosemary in, one inbetween each row. Now this smoked shrimp recipe is ready for cooking!

The smoking/braising process

Now that my grill is up to 275F with my pecan wood in there, I place the tray in and check it after 20 minutes. Your ideal finish temp is 120F internal. If you overlook, it will be rubbery. Using my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks has been my handy guide with checking food temps. It’s the best around!

Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks.

As mentioned earlier, you will know when the smoked shrimp are done by the orange color they have. Be careful not to leave them in too long or they won’t have as firm of a bite, but instead be slimy and squishy. If this happens, the flavor will still be good, so no worries there. But the texture won’t.

This shrimp is done!
This shrimp is done!

I have a confession to make: I don’t like seafood much. I originally tried this smoked shrimp recipe as an experiment to help me grow as a BBQ’er. And you know what? It did! I sure did LOVE using this smoked shrimp recipe and am now willing to try other smoking other types of seafood!

The video!

The recipe!

Yield: 5 servings

Smoked Buttery Shrimp

Smoked Buttery Shrimp

This smoked shrimp recipe is super easy to make and super tasty too! Only six ingredients and less than one hour for prep and cooking!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 15 large shrimp
  • 1/2 Cup (aka- 1 stick) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks Rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon seasoning of your choice
  • 1/4 lemon, squeezed

Instructions

  1. Rinse shrimp, devein, de-shell as needed
  2. Apply seasoning
  3. In a bowl, melt one stick of butter. Once melted, add minced garlic
  4. Grab an 8x8 foil pan, place shrimp in three rows (see pic above)
  5. Pour butter and garlic mix onto shrimp. Squeeze 1/4 of a lemon into pan and place the two sticks of rosemary inbetween the three rows of shrimp (again, see pic above)
  6. Get smoker up to 275F with pecan wood. Once ready, place pan in grill over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes. Shrimp will turn an orangish color when finished.

Notes

The prime internal temp for shrimp to be done is 120 degrees fahrenheit. It will have a firm bite and will be orange. Going too much over that temp can turn them rubbery to the bite.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

5

Serving Size:

3 shrimp

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 130 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 189mg Sodium: 835mg Carbohydrates: 1g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 19g

Rack of Lamb, Easter Edition

IMG_20160326_213046

Last weekend, I was looking for something unique to make for dinner. My family and I were headed over to the in-laws house for ham on Easter Sunday, so I was off the hook didn’t get to make anything for Easter dinner. We did have some friends come visit for dinner on Saturday night and that gave me an opportunity to smoke something this weekend. Hooray for friends! I decided to go out on a limb and try something new. What better time to experiment with cooking than with dinner guests? On my Instagram account (link in the IG icon at the top of the page) I have been seeing people from Australia post about smoking lamb, which I guess is more common down there than here in North America. If you’ve never had it before, lamb is a unique meat: it cooks to various levels of doneness like beef, is a bit gamey in flavor, and smells awful like fish when raw out of the package. I like that rack of lamb is a fairly quick smoke, lasting two hours. Here’s what I did for my maiden voyage with rack of lamb:

Meat: Rack of Lamb: two racks, 2.25 lbs. total

Ingredients (dry brine): 1 T kosher salt, 1/2 T rosemary

Ingredients: 2 T olive oil, 2 teaspoon Santa Maria seasoning

Wood: Apple

Smoke Temperature: 240°F/115.6°C

Time: 2 hours

Finish Temp.: 140°F/60°C

Lamb isn’t as abundant as other meats, so make sure to keep an eye out for grocery stores around that sell it. With it being not as abundant, it can be more costly than other cuts of meat. The racks of lamb I found were at Costco, which is known for being lower in price for quality meats, and cost $10.99/lb.

Costco comes through with the rack of lamb!
Costco comes through with the rack of lamb!

You may notice on the package it says the rack of lamb is “Frenched.” In culinary terms, this means the meat, fat, and cartilage between the tips of the bones are cleaned, making the bone exposed for a neater presentation. I remember in high school, “Frenched” meant something totally different.

WARNING: When opening the package, be ready to be slapped in the face with an awful stench coming forth out of the bag. I mentioned that lamb has a bit of a gamey taste, it also has a smell that will remind you of fish…if you dropped your fish in a sewer. Make sure to rinse the meat and dab dry with a paper towel.

Like pork ribs, they have a membrane on the bone side. It’s not mandatory to have it removed, but provides more of a clean bite through if you do. To peel off the membrane, use a knife to get between the film of the membrane and the meat. Once you have dug your knife under a little ways, grab a paper towel for a tight grip on the membrane and pull it off. It is supposed to be a clean rip off, but that has never happened to me. I’m still bad at it. If any of you have pointers, please let me know.

Insane in the membrane...
Insane in the membrane…

I decided to do a dry brine on the meat. The dry brine involves no water, but sprinkling the kosher salt and other ingredients and thrown into the fridge for some time. I did kosher salt and rosemary and had it in the fridge for about two hours. The salt penetrates the meat well and helps bring out the flavor.

Lamb, kosher salt, and rosemary
Lamb, kosher salt, and rosemary

As you may see in the picture, I scored the fat on the top part of the lamb. To score the fat means to cut through it, usually in a criss-cross pattern. I did this to help the brine, and later the seasonings, get to the meat better. After just under two hours, I pulled it out and put the olive oil, Santa Maria seasoning, and a wee bit more of rosemary on top.

Santa Maria seasoning and rosemary. (Not pictured: olive oil)
Santa Maria seasoning and rosemary. (Not pictured: olive oil)

Now that the smoker is up to temp with a mix of coals and apple wood in the firebox, I put the racks of lamb in the main chamber, bone side down, and let them stay there for two hours.

Racks on.
Racks on (chicken drumsticks in the background in case I screw these up).

Lamb can be finished to similar temps like beef. I looked at some various recipes and the concensus was they are good at 135-140°F, which is medium rare to medium. Even though they were in for two hours, I recommend using a digital meat thermometer to more accurately tell the temp on the meat. Adjust smoking time accordingly. Once you have reached that desired temp, you can either pull it out and let it rest or sear it and let it rest. Either way, let the lamb rest for about 10 minutes to let the meat get more juices in, which means more flavor.

Flame seared for 20-30 seconds on each side.
Flame seared for 20-30 seconds on each side.

And then this picture…

Nice rack.
Nice rack.

After resting, I cut it between the bones and we feasted in the juicy, medium rare goodness. Since the four of us never had rack of lamb before, we learned that 3 out of 4 adults prefer the taste of rack of lamb over…um, something else that might be almost as good.

The finished product.
The finished product.

I’m glad I tried something new here. I discovered I like lamb. I hope you give it a shot sometime!