Recipes from BikeMaine part 2
Camp Wekeela Flank Steak
My first experience cooking with the MFSC crew for BikeMaine was in 2017 for the Pathway to the Peaks ride. I came up in the middle of the ride on Wednesday. My role was to be fresh blood joining in the middle of the week to help everyone else who is running on fumes. That first day in Rangely was relatively easy, figuring out how everything worked, what I needed to do, how to feed 500 people in an hour…you know simple stuff.
After a long evening of cooking and cleaning, we woke up before the sun, made breakfast for the BikeMaine participants, cleaned and packed up our cooking gear, and moved onto Camp Wekeela in Hartford, Maine for that day’s activities. I think I had a two-hour break in there somewhere, but I am not positive. Maybe I slept, maybe I walked around in a haze.
The kitchen at the camp was nice, big, and we got straight to work setting up for the night. The work was fairly steady, and we were a little behind, but everything was ready to go when the volunteer crew showed up.
The pool of volunteers was decently sized, but almost all of them were under 18, which meant no sharps, no fire. Ok. I guess I will be grilling the 200lbs of flank steak instead of coordinating beverages and running throughout the dinner like I thought. Glad I found out that little piece of info with a whole hour before service.
The good news was that the grill was huge and after testing it I discovered that all the burners worked. Sweet. This will be simple.
The thought was, get that grill going wicked hot, sear the meat quickly to a nice medium rare (takes about 8-10 minutes on my home grill), serve it up, and repeat until all 200 lbs are done. The grill was big enough that it would take about 10 rounds of grilling, so if I started about 40 minutes before service, the meat would keep coming out about an hour into service, and everyone would get their fill of hot, juicy flank steak. Ali would help me out slicing and getting the meat to the table so I could make sure there was always something on the grill. I assumed that the job would be hot, but easy-peasy.
You know what they say about assumptions.
About five minutes into my first round of meat, I realized three things: 1. The left half of the grill was not hot in the slightest; 2. Ten rounds of grilling had now turned into twenty and that meant that I would be grilling an hour past when service was supposed to end; and 3. The marinade, while delicious, burns into your skin, eyes, and nose when you are cooking it. Undaunted (ok sort of daunted, but I am not sure of the right wording and undaunted sounds so much better, so I will stick with it) Ali and I kept the grill going until about 30 minutes past when service was over, getting approximately 190 lbs done.
I won’t lie and say that service went spectacularly. I will say that we made it through, people got fed, and the kids who volunteered were AMAZING at bussing and dishwashing. There were definitely steaks that went out rare, but all in all, I think everyone who had it enjoyed the entrée.
Anyway, here is the recipe* for the flank steak rub and marinade that has been burned into my memory and skin:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chili powder
4-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons Tequila
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 beef flank steak (1-1/2 pounds)
*Multiply by 135 for 200 lbs of beef!
by Tom Reeve, MFSC Public Relations Consultant