Monday, October 29, 2012

Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Reduction

Johnny Garlic's Grilled Peppered Steak with Cabernet Balsamic Reduction

I belong to a networking group on facebook called Food Bloggers Network which was founded by Jessica of Oh Cake. If you write a food blog and are not aware of it, I highly suggest joining it. Keep in mind that self promotion is strictly prohibited. In other words, behavior such as here's my most recent dish I published this morning isn't allowed. Instead, members discuss issues common to all food bloggers such as SEO, managing photosharing sites, helpful plug-ins, best practices when negotiating with publishers, etc. If you would like to join, Jessica can be reached here.

A perfect example of this group working for the benefit of all its members is a recent question that was asked by one blogger who wanted to discuss the ethics of updating old posts with new photographs of the same dish. Other members jumped in with varying opinions of the pros and cons, intent of the updates, and affects on traffic. I suggested what I thought was a reasonable compromise: Update the old post with the new pictures but leave the old ones intact. Then write a new post bringing attention to the updates.

From this topic, I was reminded of a dish I prepared two years ago. It was a failure on several levels. I didn't use the correct cut of beef; I overseasoned; I incorrectly prepared the sauce and the picture composition was especially poor. The original post isn't available, but I still have the pictures.

If I remember correctly, I found this dish originally via foodbuzz from Krista Kooks. Recreating a restaurant dish at home was a novelty at the time, so I thought it might be fun. Johnny Garlic's is a restaurant chain owned by Food Network personality Guy Fieri.

The Challenge

This dish isn't something that I would normally put here, but the challenge isn't food preparation; it's to use it as a measuring stick for my food photography and presentation.

The Source

I was able to find the recipe on


2 pounds tri-tip steaks, cut into 8-ounce pieces
4 tablespoons black peppercorns, lightly cracked
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar


1. Lightly tenderize flank steak with mallet. Season the steaks with peppercorns and kosher salt, pressing seasonings into the beef with the palm of your hand. Refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours to marinate.

2. Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onions are caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Deglaze with wine and balsamic vinegar, loosening any fond (browned bits) stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add brown sugar and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes or until mixture reduces to 3/4 cup.

3. Preheat grill to high heat. Grill the steaks on a 45 degree angle to mark the steaks, moving once the opposite direction, cooking for 5 minutes total. Then flip, again only moving once to mark steak, cook for 4 minutes. When desired doneness is achieved, remove steaks from grill and let rest 5 minutes.

4. Strain the reduction and return to heat to reduce for 5 more minutes or until thick syrup is created. Spoon the sauce over the steaks.


On a side note, this dish is still on the restaurant menu, which leads me to ask the obvious question: What's different about this version from the restaurant version?

One of the things I did not take with me when I moved was my grill, so I used my new grill pan that Mrs. Stuntman purchased to fill the void temporarily instead. I executed the dish better, but I also think my photography and presentation, while still not perfect, is definitely better than the picture I originally published:


  1. I love the idea of recreating restaurant dishes at home. Home cooked meals are wonderful, but sometimes you want the complexity and presentation of a restaurant meal. Well done!

  2. this is an interesting discussion, sounds like a great network to be a part of!

  3. Excellent plate of food! The cabernet reduction is making my mouth water!

  4. That is a delicious looking steak and that cabernet reduction is making my mouth water!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.