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Vines & Vittles: Confessions of a red-meat eater

By John Brown
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I am flawed human being. I know this because I am married to a brutally candid woman who reminds me daily of my myriad imperfections.Hey, I'm not complaining. If she were not critical of some of my more my aberrant idiosyncrasies, I would probably be living in a cave, wearing an animal skin and reduced to yodeling -- u-da-lay-ee-o!However, the older I get, the more I have come to the conclusion that some of these imperfections are acceptable. No, let me rephrase that: They are essential!I'm not endorsing really obnoxious behavior like gossiping, profanity or -- heaven forbid -- rooting for Pitt. And while I may have (once or twice) lapsed with regard to the first two infractions mentioned above, I would rather go streaking through St. Peter's Square than root for Pitt.No, the oft-criticized behavior I am endorsing involves eating red meat on a regular basis. I know it's not politically correct to admit this, but I am addicted to red meat, particularly steak. I must consume the roasted flesh of a steer or cow at least once a week or I turn into my alter ego -- the ogre just waiting to emerge.OK, so maybe I've engaged in a little hyperbole here, but I really do love a good steak, preferably one grilled over blazing charcoal. So while too much of a good thing like beef can be a health risk, I mitigate that problem by flushing my arteries regularly with a steady stream of red wine.Today, I'm going to share my mouthwatering recipe for Grilled Steak Nirvana and provide you with a few nice red wine recommendations that will please your palate and transform the meal into an other worldly experience. I prefer to use rib-eye, but strip or porterhouse steak work just as well.You might call the nice folks at Sandy Creek Farms in Ravenswood, 800-487-2569, and order one of their chemical- and antibiotic-free steaks. In Charleston, Johnnie's at the Capitol Market, 304-342-0224, has a great selection of both grass- and corn-fed beef. Any full-bodied red wine will go well with the steak, but I prefer cabernet sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend (cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc, etc.). Here are some of my favorite labels priced between $15 and $30 a bottle: Franciscan, Sebastiani, Alamos, Alexander Valley Vineyards, St. Supery, B-Side, Robert Mondavi, BV Rutherford, William Hill, Clos Du Val and Newton Claret.So go ahead and give it up for a little grilled nirvana and release your inner ogre.Grilled Steak Nirvana     1    1 1/2-inch thick bone-in rib-eye steak
     1     teaspoon olive oil     1     tablespoon Kosher or sea salt     1     tablespoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
     1     small clove garlic, finely mincedCOVER steak all over with the olive oil.RUB the steak with salt, pepper and garlic. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.PREPARE a hot charcoal fire or turn one side of a gas grill up to the highest setting.PLACE steak on grill, close lid and cook for two minutes a side.MOVE steak off direct coals (or direct heat on grill).
COOK indirectly for 8 minutes for medium rare.REMOVE from grill and allow to sit for 10 minutes and then serve.For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown's Vines & Vittles blog at
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