Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bison Steak and Potatoes with Green Beans on the Grill by Tom

Grilled Bison Steak and Potatoes with Green Beans by Tom

The other night I decided I would experiment cooking potatoes and green beans on the grill.  I have made whole potatoes on the grill for many years, and I always figure on a minimum of 45 minutes of cooking time to insure that the potato is thoroughly cooked.  I also realized that if I cooked green beans for that long, they would either come out as shriveled pieces of dried beans or worse yet just mush.  Not very appetizing to say the least.  So the question I posed to myself was how could I cook both potatoes and green beans together so that they both came out well cooked, but not overcooked.

Additionally I wanted to cook bison steaks, which we had had before and liked very much.  Bison is very lean, lower fat than a beef steak, and a bit chewier.  But if prepared and cooked right, very tasty!

But first the potatoes and green beans.

Green Bean and Red Potato Ingredients (serves two)

8 or 9  1" diameter red potatoes
Handful of green beans, ends sliced off
a dash of olive oil
aluminum foil

Can it get any easier than that?

Off to Wegman's (where else!) to shop for the potatoes and beans.  Being a chemical engineer by training, ahem, I thought about my heat, mass and momentum transfer course.  I knew that I needed to transfer heat into the potatoes potentially greater mass quickly to get them cooked, while not overcooking the smaller, less mass, green beans.  Too technical for you???  Okay, let me simplify.  I knew I needed the smallest potatoes I could find.  Fortunately I found very small red potatoes in the mix of potatoes.  In this case I bought about 8-9 roughly 1" diameter potatoes.

Once I got home I scrubbed the potatoes with water using a vegetable brush to get any dirt off and to rough up the skin just a little bit.  I also trimmed the green beans at both ends and washed them as well.  I did not dry either as I assembled the two as I thought the moisture would help with the cooking.

Part of the key to success is the arrangement of both.  As you can see from the picture above, I made a circle of the potatoes and then filled the inside with the green beans on a sheet of aluminum foil.  Give the whole thing a dash of salt and a little dribble of olive oil before you start to wrap it up.

I double wrapped the potatoes and green beans to make sure that I kept the steam inside the packet.

Bison Steak Ingredients (serves two)

2 6oz bison steaks
seasoning salt or meat tenderizer
ground black pepper
splash of olive oil

I prepped the bison steaks about 30 minutes before I started grilling by drying the excess moisture from the steaks, rubbing with olive oil, and then sprinkling both sides of each steak with the meat tenderizer and pepper.

Back to the potatoes and green beans.

Put the aluminum foil package on a hot grill.  Cook for a total of 20 minutes turning over the foil package every 5 minutes.

The bison steaks we had were particularly thin, so I grilled them for just 2 minutes a side, which made them medium rare.

Remove from the grill...duh!... after the requisite cooking times. 

Here is what it looked like.  The potatoes were well cooked and the green beans were just starting to caramelize a little bit.  Plenty of moisture in both.

Plate and enjoy the meal.  We served with water to drink, but a good Cabernet or Zinfandel would work just as well.

I have now used this technique a couple of times with excellent results.  The keys are small potatoes arranged in a circle; mounded green beans in the center; a tightly wrapped package; and cooking no more than 20 minutes on the grill.

So, that heat, mass and momentum transfer course finally did have some useful application!


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