When you think of the origins of that great steak or beef roast you had the other night, where does your mind wander? To the grazing lands in the shadows of the Rockies? The stockyards of the mid-west? Exotic locales like the Matsusaka region of Japan or the Margaret River region of Western Australia? If it did, no one would blame you. Because these areas are noted for their beef production.
But did you know Florida was right up there with them? Me neither. Until a couple of years ago.
Who would've guessed that Florida is home to four of our country's 10 largest cow/calf ranches? Or that we rank #12 in the nation in the number of beef cows? Heck, nearly half of all of Florida's agricultural land is devoted to beef production. Oh, and these ranchers are excellent caretakers of their land, providing thousands of acres important green space for both wildlife and native plant habitat.
So next time you're heading to Disney, Tampa Bay or Miami, and you find yourself cruising along the interstate or some back road and pass a herd of cattle grazing on a vast expanse of pastureland, remember the important part these ranchers play in both our environment and our diet.
And when you get home, fire up the grill and prepare this Florida feast.
• FLORIDA BARBEQUE CHUCK ROAST •
Who would’ve thought that this inexpensive cut of meat could turn into a deliciously tender meal? I guess it was up to the early Florida cattlemen. And I’m glad they did. This is similar to barbequed beef brisket but in smaller portions and half the price. The important thing is to slice this very thin - it will make a big difference. Oh, and this will make more than enough for two, so feel free to use the thin slices for sandwiches. Simply reheat slices in a little broth or water so they wont dry out. Feel free to double this recipe for company.
PREP: 15 minutes
MARINATE: 6 - 8 hours
COOK: 2 hours
2 pounds chuck roast
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mild or spicy prepared salsa
1. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, oregano and garlic. Pierce the meat at intervals with a fork then rub the chili mixture all over. In the same bowl combine the red wine, vinegar, oil, and pepper. Put the meat in a zip lock bag and add the red wine marinade to coat. Refrigerate for 6 - 8 hours.
2. Prepare a grill for indirect heat. Place a drip pan next to the coals. Lightly oil the grate. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the grate above the drip pan. Brush the meat with the marinade. Cover the grill and cook the roast slowly, turning from time to time, brushing with reserved marinade, for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the roast registers 120° with an instant read thermometer for medium-rare.
3. Remove meat from grill to a platter and cover loosely with tin foil for 15 minutes. Slice very thin and serve with salsa.
Serve with Grilled Corn and Spicy Oven Fries