Trail RecipesBy Akira Suzuki
Whole cut steak
Rosemary or other herbs and spices
Although we usually introduce practical “trail recipes” suited for backpacking, this month we stray from the beaten path and gear up to grill some whole cuts of beef. The smoky aroma, dripping fat and mouthfuls of tender morsels raise the bar of any campfire cuisine.
While packing “wire grating” is certainly lighter than hauling around iron cookware, one can't always be assured of finding the rocks necessary to build a base on which to set it. So we’re using the hanging chain method, which allows the outdoor chef to adjust the length of chain by using a simple "S" hook.
Rather than adjusting the cooking flame by adding or pulling off coals or kindling, moving the cooking surface closer to or father away from the flame is easier and more efficient. It also gives the trail gourmet the ability to make ever-so-slight variations in the cooking temperature.
Today, we’re all used to adjusting the stove-top flame with a simple turn of the dial. Grilling with a chain is the old-school equivalent and hearkens back to the free hanging hooks found over traditional Japanese hearths.
The method is only reserved for grilling; stews and teapots can just as easily be strung up. Note: there is no need to grill the meat too thoroughly. While a half-done steak may seem raw at first glance, it's cooking through just fine – just like a good roast beef. I enjoy letting the beef cool, carving it into slices and using the cuts for sandwiches the next day.