Remember that book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)? Well, Austin barbecue savant Aaron Franklin and wine and food writer (and Texas Monthly alum) Jordan Mackay, the James Beard Award winners who wrote 2015’s Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto, have done for steak what David Reuben did for the boudoir. Their Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef, out Tuesday on Ten Speed Press, is enormously entertaining, beautifully shot by longtime Texas Monthly contributor Wyatt McSpadden, and chock-full of tips. When you finish reading it, not only will you know how to choose a steak, dry-age it at home, and enhance its flavor with sauces such as Perky Red Wine (see recipe, below), but you will find your head delightfully stuffed with trivia. Did you know that all modern cattle might be descended from about eighty individuals? Or that people have been trying to “back-breed” the aurochs, a giant extinct European bovine? If they succeed, that will be some steak. And Franklin will be able to tell you the best way to cook it. [Want more on the cookbook? Read our interview with Mackay here.]
Perky Red Wine Sauce
Makes enough for 2 grilled steaks
2 cups red wine
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (not whole-grain)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted
butter, cut into a few pieces
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)
In a small saucepan, combine the wine, onion, garlic, and thyme, and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the wine has reduced by half. Turn off the heat, and when the wine has stopped bubbling, remove and discard the thyme sprigs. Add the lemon juice and mustard, and whisk until blended. Whisk in the butter until it melts and the sauce thickens slightly, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Plate the steaks and spoon the sauce over the top, or spoon the sauce onto individual plates and lay the steaks on top. Sprinkle with the parsley, if using, and serve.
Adapted from Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press.
This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “A Cut Above.” Subscribe today.