The Gulch Chef - Lomo al Trapo: Colombian Beef Technique

Posted by freedomforall 4 years, 7 months ago to Going Galt
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Another article on this technique-

Every week -- often with your help -- FOOD52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that are nothing short of genius.

Today: Filet mignon has a midlife crisis, and stops being so boring.

This recipe calls for 3 (edible) ingredients and has more in common with a crafting project than cooking. It will make your family and your dinner guests think you've finally gone too far, until they taste it.

It's called Lomo al Trapo (literally "beef tenderloin in cloth") and it goes a little something like this: Wrap a big hunky piece of filet mignon in two cups of salt sprinkled with dried oregano, tie it in an old rag and throw it in flaming coals. Exactly 19 minutes later you will have dinner. It sounds like a prank, but Steven Raichlen said it was genius, so I tried it. And he's right.

Steven Raichlen has been writing about barbecue for 20+ years, chasing it all over the world. In researching Planet Barbecue, Raichlen traveled to 60 countries, collecting obscure grilling techniques like smoking mussels over pine needles in France, and cooking fish saucy eggs in their shells in Cambodia. (Having accomplished basically everything on the world grilling beat, these days he's writing romance novels).

He'd be the first to tell you that this recipe isn't his alone -- the method is traditional to several countries in South America, particularly Colombia. But Raichlen translated it for and popularized it among English-speaking barbecue enthusiasts, so we're going with his version.

As Raichlen teaches us, Lomo al Trapo combines two genius techniques, to great effect: grilling in the coals and salt-crusting. Read on below for what each one can do for beef tenderloin, which Raichlen admits is "normally a pretty boring piece of meat."

Grilling in -- not over -- the coals

Cooking bare pieces of meat directly on live coals has something of an underground following in grilling circles.

It was Dwight D. Eisenhower's preferred steak-cooking method; a brief but colorful recipe from 1949 is reprinted in The Essential New York Times Cookbook."

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  • Posted by Eudaimonia 4 years, 7 months ago
    FFA, I like the idea of "Gulch Chef" featured articles. Not that this is a food or cooking site, but I do like to cook. I especially like different or challenging recipes.

    That said, I'm a fan of the char! When prepared this way, the meat might be cooked perfectly and the flavor seared inside, but... but... but... the char!!!

    One thing to note in the pic: that bowl of what looks like pico de gallo might actually be what is called vinagrette in Brazilian cuisine. Vinagrette is a veggie and vinegar based dipping sauce for whatever meat is being served. Whenever my wife and I sharpen our canines and go for Brazilian food, I go through bowls of the stuff.
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  • Posted by Lucky 4 years, 7 months ago
    Reminds me of the NW Indian salmon bake.
    I agree with the comment that said sirloin may be better as well as cheaper than Chateaubriand which is best kept for more sophisticated recipes.
    I wonder how much salt remains? If I get to try it I will soak the cloth in flagon quality red and use salt sparingly.
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