The first bite of this marinated KC strip steak served with a bacon imperial stout sauce confirms my faith that good food and good beer, when paired together well, results in greatness. Chef Andrew Parker of Martin City Brewing Company (500 E 135th St, Kansas City), the man that bolsters this faith one dish at a time at the restaurant and brewery, knows how to coax superior flavor out of a classic strip steak; and, no surprise, it begins with the beef.
Parker grew up eating all-natural beef raised on his father Scott’s ranch in Olathe, Kansas. “We don’t use hormones on the cattle,” Parker says.
While he doesn’t use beef from the family ranch for his menu at MCBC, Parker does order and prepare premium grade steak for specials like this dish. He complements the steak with a rich sauce made from Boulevard Imperial Stout.
Traditionally, imperial stout, also known as Russian Imperial Stout, was brewed with substantial amounts of alcohol and hops to withstand the journey to Imperial Russia and the Baltic States, similar to the prevalent use of hops in India Pale Ale to deter spoilage during long sea voyages. Imperial stouts are intensely dark brown to black with concentrated malt flavor. Boulevard’s version combines malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt; in Parker’s sauce, the flavor profile of grain registers more than hops. When drinking the beer, hearty grain and coffee flavors are followed by dark, fruity date and plum notes.
Chef Parker uses Boulevard’s stout as a base layer in the flavor profile of the sauce. He says, “The smokiness of the beer adds additional flavor since I’m pan-searing the meat instead of grilling it. Dark beer makes a good sauce for beef.”
Rosemary and thyme add an herbal top note that accents the caramel, coffee and malt elements of the sauce. Triple-smoked apple bacon subtly reinforces the smokiness and sweetness, plus it introduces a pleasant chewy texture to each mouthful of the medium-rare steak.
A pint of Boulevard’s Imperial Stout, which tops out at 11.8% alcohol by volume, or MCBC’s brand when available on tap – the wood-fired pizza restaurant and brewing operation next door is due to open and pour its house-made craft beers by early February – is a fine way to wash down this great strip steak in royal style.
Marinated KC Strip Steak in a Bacon Imperial Stout Sauce
(2) – 8-oz. KC strip steaks
8 oz or 1 Cup – Imperial Stout (I am using Boulevard’s Smokestack Series.)
½ cup – cooked bacon, small diced
1 tablespoon – Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon – garlic, minced
½ tablespoon – fresh rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon – fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon – brown sugar
½ cup – water
1/2 teaspoon – sea salt
1 tablespoon – crushed black pepper
Place steaks in a large zip lock bag. In a mixing bowl, add all other ingredients. Mix well until sugar is dissolved. Add marinade into the zip lock bag with the steaks and let marinate overnight or up to 24 hours.
Remove steaks from marinade and pat dry. Pour marinade into medium saucepan, bring to a boil and let reduce to one-quarter of original volume. Turn off heat and set sauce aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place steaks into hot skillet. Cook approximately 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove steaks from heat and let rest for 5 minutes. Pour reduced sauce over steaks and serve.
Serve with french fries or side dish of choice.