Fathers’ Day, Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Bistecca alla Fiorentina on the Wood Grill

Bistecca alla Fiorentina on the Wood Grill

I don’t have a formal bucket list, but if I did, at the top would be a visit to Panzano, so I could experience eating the beef of Dario Cecchini, arguably the world’s greatest butcher.

I first read about Dario in the Bill Buford book Heat, and later saw segments of a couple of different cooking shows (Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and David Rocco’s Dolce Vita) that featured his butcher shop and restaurant.

Traditionally, Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a thick, bone-in porterhouse made from an Italian cattle breed, the Chianina, which is the largest breed of cattle in the world. Due to a lack of supply of Chianina beef in Italy, Dario imports beef from a similarly large breed of cattle that is raised in Spain. His instructions for cooking Bistecca alla Fiorentina are simple: The cut of steak needs to be four fingers thick. On the hearth of a wood-fired oven, sear each side for five minutes, and then finish cooking the meat standing on end, on its bone, typically for another 15 minutes.

I don’t have access to Chianina beef, but I do have a wood-fired Grill (thanks, Elisa!). Our butcher at the local Market Basket was more than happy to slice us off a ‘four-finger’ thick Porterhouse, so on father’s day, we gave Bistecca alla Fiorentina a shot. Matt, my older son, arrived at the house a bit before 2:00 pm, and we fired up the grill. My method is to use a charcoal chimney starter to quickly get 8-10 pounds of charcoal going well, and then dump it onto the charcoal grate of my grill. I then cover the charcoal with four or five small pieces of oak (16 inches long and 2-3 inches thick).

Sliced and Ready to Serve

Once the oak has burned down to the point where the flames are no longer reaching up through the grill, I cook the porterhouse per Dario’s instructions, although I find that the meat needs to spend longer than 15 minutes cooking on its bone in order to get the internal temperature up to about 120 degrees fahrenheit (the medium-rare that I prefer).

Once it has been removed from the grill, let it rest for at least 20 minutes and then slice it for serving … to multiple peope … do not eat this four-pounder alone. Trust me, it’s not a good idea.

All that’s left is sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, and we also use an emulsion made with a crushed clove of garlic, some rosemary, some fruttato olive oil and a splash of lemon juice. The lemon juice isn’t traditional, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Our side dishes were roasted potatoes and a Caesar salad. All that was left for us was to work our way through the meal and retire to the couch in a beef-induced stupor.

Another successful fathers’ day! Grazie mille a tutti!

This entry was posted in Essays, Main Courses. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Fathers’ Day, Bistecca alla Fiorentina

  1. MarryT says:

    Hello admin, i see that http://www.davidlister.com needs fresh posts. Daily updates will rank your page in google higher, content is king nowadays. If you are to lazy to write unique articles everyday you should search in google for:
    Ightsero’s Essential Tool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.