Celebrity chef, best-selling author and World Barbecue Champion Melissa Cookston always brings the heat to her grilling artistry. This year, her wish for all the dads out there is a “Smokin’ Hot” Father’s Day spent grillin’ and chillin’ (the latter presumably between plates of perfectly-cooked meat as it comes fresh from the flames.) Bearing that in mind, the only better way to celebrate the occasion than firing up the grill and having Dad cook some juicy steaks would have to be letting him take a load off while Mom and the kids do the honors.
Regardless of who does the cooking, Chef Cookston shares below a steak recipe from her recent best-selling cookbook, “Smokin’ Hot in the South.” Her Rotisserie Southwest Spiced Flank Steak with Chimichurri and Grilled Lime-Cilantro Slaw will do Dad proud this Father’s Day, and provide a celebratory meal that everyone can sink their teeth into.
In the chef’s own words: “I love steak so much I use everyday events as a justification to ‘reward’ myself with one. Got dressed? Good job, have a steak. Picked up dry cleaning? Awesome! Have a steak. See, it’s not hard when you put your mind to it.”
Rotisserie Southwest Spiced Flank Steak
with Chimichurri and Grilled Lime-Cilantro Slaw
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 (2-pound) piece flank steak, 1 inch thick if possible
- 2 tablespoons Southwest Spice Blend (recipe below)
- Chimichurri Sauce (recipe below)
- Tenderize the flank steak on both sides using a meat maximizer. Season each side with the spice blend, applying the spice thickly and then patting the spices into the meat. Cover with a paper towel and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes while you heat the grill.
- Preheat a grill to cook at 500°F, using a back burner for rotisseries if possible. Thread the flank steak over the spit by rounding the flank steak and piercing it twice with the spit, secure with spit holders, and turn on the rotisserie. Place on the grill and roast for 15 to 18 minutes (depending on thickness) for medium-rare and 20 to 23 minutes for medium. I have seen a lot of inconsistency in the size and thickness of flank steak, so adjust the times depending on the size you get.
- Test the meat with an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part. Remove from the spit, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain approximately ¼ inch thick.
- Plate 2 to 3 slices (depending on length) per person and spoon some chimichurri sauce over the middle. Serve with more chimichurri on the side and grilled lime-cilantro slaw (recipe below).
Southwest Spice Blend
Makes about 1½ cups
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons granulated onion
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir by hand until well incorporated. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Note: You’ll get absolutely the best results by using lightly toasted whole cumin, fennel, allspice, and cloves and grinding in a spice grinder, but pre-ground is plenty good as well.
Makes about 3 cups
- ¼ cup minced sweet onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon diced fresh jalapeno chile
- ½ red bell pepper, roasted, seeded, and finely chopped
- In a food processor, pulse the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, and oregano to puree. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and add the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pulse again.
- With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Remove from the processor and stir in the jalapeno and red bell pepper, then taste to adjust the salt and pepper. Let sit for at least an hour to let the flavors meld and then whisk again before serving. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Grilled Lime-Cilantro Slaw
Serves 4 to 6
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup olive oil
Ingredients for the slaw
- 1 small to medium head green cabbage
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To make the vinaigrette, whisk all the ingredients except the olive oil in a mixing bowl. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Set aside.
Remove the tough outer leaves of the cabbage head, then quarter, leaving the core. Brush each cut side of the cabbage with olive oil, then place on a hot grill. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per cut side, or until you get a nice grill mark. Remove from the grill and let cool.
Cut out the core and slice down the cut side into very thin strips. Place in a large bowl with the carrot and cilantro. Whisk the dressing one more time and then pour over the slaw and toss to coat evenly.
About Melissa Cookston:
Melissa Cookston was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta and is a trailblazing female food entrepreneur smoking the competition.
Cookston is an 8-time world barbecue champion; owner of restaurants Steak by Melissa, a successful steak house in Southaven, Mississippi and Memphis BBQ Company, a successful barbecue restaurant with locations in Horn Lake, Mississippi, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Dunwoody, Georgia; an author of two cookbooks, “Smokin in the Boy’s Room” and “Smokin’ Hot in the South;” and a celebrated southern Delta chef.
Recognized nationally from many appearances on national news and talks shows as well as cooking shows and Food Network, Cookston served as a judge on season 4 of Destination America’s “BBQ Pitmasters,” and was named one of America’s most influential BBQ Pitmasters and personalities by Fox News in 2015. Cookston is a Smithfield Brand Ambassador and is a frequent contributor to Smithfield communications and marketing efforts.