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Cardiff Crack tested

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    Cardiff Crack tested

    A couple of weeks ago a fellow forum member wrote about Cardiff Crack, an allegedly addictive flavoring to a trip tip steak made by a place in California named Seaside Market in Cardiff.
    With a name like that, I just had to try. The exact recipe is not known, but here’s an approximation. I decided to do two steaks, one ”regular”, and one with crack.
    Another approximation is me using sirloin steak instead of a tri tip. Different countries/cultures have different ways of butchering an animal, and we just don’t have tri tip in Sweden. So, I opted for two sirloin steaks instead, figuring they were close enough.
    So, here’s what I did. I dry brined the steaks overnight. In the morning I mixed the ”crack”, and left one of the steaks in the wine/pepper solution for about 8 hours. I then cooked them low n’ slow, and did the reverse sear.

    The sirloin steaks, with the burgundy pepper Click image for larger version

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    In addition to that, I whipped up a Béarnaise sauce. This is one of the true greats among sauces. Invented by the French (who else), I honestly believe it is one of the best sauces ever to go with a steak. I would rank it right up there with Meathead’s ”change your life rich red wine sauce”. If you’re having steak night, and don’t feel like red wine sauce, this is a must-try.

    The melted butter and the egg yolk/herb mix:
    Click image for larger version

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    Bearnaise sauce ingredients
    200 g (7 oz) butter
    4 egg yolks
    1 tsp dijon mustard
    1 tsp sherry or rice vinegar
    1 tsp calf or beef stock
    1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    1 tbsp dried tarragon

    Making the sauce
    Heat the butter slowly in a pan. Keep it warm. You will see that the butter kind of separates, you get a clear part and some white stuff at the bottom. Leave the white stuff there, only use the clear butter.

    Mix the egg yolks over very gentle heat (never go above 60 deg C / 140 deg F) with the mustard, vinegar, stock, parsley and tarragon in another pan. Whisk/mix until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove it from the stove at once. Now the hard part begins. Start by dripping the butter into the yolk mix, constantly whisking. After a while, pour the butter in a very thin stream into the yolks, constantly whisking. You want the egg yolks to bind/hold the butter in suspension. Two things are of utter importance to the success of this sauce:

    1. Make sure the butter and yolk mix have the same temp before mixing. Use your Thermapen! I started mixing when they were both at 40 deg C / 104 deg F.
    2. Don’t add too much butter at a time. You really should mix the butter very little at a time.

    The finished sauce, divine goodness (this is half a recipe in the picture, as we were only two people):
    Click image for larger version

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    The steaks, untreated to the left, cardiff crack version to the right:
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    Home made fries:
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    The plate:
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    Now to the comparison!
    I knew beforehand that the wine would tenderize the meat. I was unsure of exactly how much of the wine and pepper flavor would be absorbed by the steaks though. Both steaks were just fine overall. The cracked one looked slightly better, but the plain one tasted better.

    My verdict
    To be honest I preferred the untreated steak. It tasted more like the original meat. The ”cracked” steak was definitely tender, because of the wine, but I felt a bit of the meat flavor was lost. No crack effect for me.

    In all fairness this recipe isn’t the exact same concoction as the one used in Cali, and I used sirloin steak instead of tri tip. Also, I didn't inject the wine, I only marinated.

    If any other forum members have tried this I would love to hear what you thoughts are of the whole thing.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Henrik; November 26, 2014, 09:35 AM.

    Neat. To me a great steak only needs some salt and black pepper.

    I will allow some Heinz 57 at times to those who share a table with me and are bigger than me (read- my dad).


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree, salt and pepper is all you need.

    Looks good, thanks for trying this, and for the Bearnaise sauce. At the recommendation of the chef at a great steakhouse in San Antonio I had a steak with a roquefort sauce, and is right up there with the best things i've ever eaten.


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Yup, roquefort sauce goes exceptionally well with a steak.

    Thanks, Henrik, for trying this out. I haven't been able to locate tri-tip here in Indiana and probably won't be too successful except that on a rare occasion Costco will carry it at a reasonable price. So it's about as hard to find here as Sweden! Steaks look fantastic and perfectly cooked. At some point I may also try steak but I'll inject the crack rather than marinade it. I'm right there with you regarding Bearnaise sauce; thanks for the recipe!


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Cool, would be very interesting to see what difference injection makes. Seaside market says their tritip is "infused". Don't know exactly what that means, but injection is a good bet.

    I haven't tried the "crack" but am very like minded in the fact that the flavor of the meat must be dominant. Seasonings just help it along to make it amazing.
    I will be making your Béarnaise sauce this weekend! Thank you!


      Tried the Bearnaise sauce today...twice...and it still isn't as thick as yours. The first time I don't think the yolks got thick enough so I tried it again, this time they got very thick, it wanted to clump into a big ball in the whisk. As I added butter it got a lot better, but after about 4 ounces it just got runny again. I kept testing temp throughout, but maybe I went too slow because the butter was almost 10 degrees warmer by the end.

      Still tastes great, just a little runny.


      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        I'll make a batch today following my recipe to the dot, to verify. I'll be back.

      I tested making two batches today, to verify the receipt and description is accurate. This morning I printed out the recipe, and followed it to the letter. The sauce came out well. I then ran out of eggs, so I went and bought some, and around lunch today I made the second batch.

      It has to be some minor detail on how the two mixtures (egg and butter) are whisked together. I realise that in my description the wording "...the mixture thickens" is open to interpretation. I will rewrite it to "begins to thicken". To show you how, I filmed it the second time around, and uploaded to youtube. Here's the link:

      Thickness of the yolk/spice mix

      I put the pan on the stove (when the egg yolk/spice mix has been added) on very gentle heat. That means I can still put my hand on the outside of the pan. I whisk slowly, until it begins to thicken. Then I immediately remove it from the stove.

      Secondly, when adding butter I add it very little at a time at first. That means pouring the butter in a superthin stream (1/16"), and whisking constantly. You will almost "see" when the eggs hold the butter in suspension, i.e. know when you can add more. From the very first drip of butter to when it was finished took no more than a few minutes, if that helps you know at what speed to add butter.

      Here's another youtube video that shows what the sauce looks like when 80% of the butter has been added.

      And finally, the end product, with tarragon added.

      Let me know if this helps, and if you're doing anything differently.


      • Henrik
        Henrik commented
        Editing a comment
        I made one change: reduced the amount of tarragon, as there is a big difference when using fresh vs dried tarragon.

      You are awesome, I really appreciate the effort! I am in Turkey mode now, but as soon as I get back home I will give this another try.



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