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Red meat appetite balanced by big red wines

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John Brown is president of Brown Communications in Charleston. He writes about wine each month for The State Journal.

I am a flawed human being. I know this because I am married to a very candid woman who reminds me daily of my myriad imperfections. 

Hey, I'm not complaining. If she was 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.

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! To be sure, I'm not suggesting anything criminal or morally reprehensible here. 

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 a serious carnivore, particularly when it comes to beef. 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.

Okay, so maybe I've engaged in a little hyperbole here, but I do really love a good steak, preferably a bone-in ribeye 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 mouth-watering recipe for grilled steak 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 a strip, porterhouse or filet work just as well.

  • Go to your favorite butcher or grocer and purchase a 1 1/2-inch thick bone-in ribeye. You will need to make a dry rub of Kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper and one finely chopped garlic clove. Pat the steak with the dry rub and then massage in about a half teaspoon of olive oil on the meat.
  • Allow the steak to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes while you prepare a charcoal fire. If you're using a gas grill, turn one side of the grill up to the highest setting. Now, place the steak on the grill, close the lid and cook for two minutes a side. Then move the steak off the direct heat and allow it to cook indirectly for another eight minutes (for medium rare).
  • Remove the steak from the grill, allow it to sit for 10 minutes and then dig in. I usually accompany the steak with grilled vegetables that have been brushed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with a twice-baked potato.  While any full-bodied red wine will work with the steak, I prefer rich and fully–flavored new world cabernet sauvignon or a red blend (cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc).  

Here are some of my favorite labels priced between $15 and $30 a bottle that will work well: Franciscan, Sebastiani, Alamos, Alexander Valley Vineyards, St. Supery, B-Side, Robert Mondavi, Louis Martini, BV Rutherford, William Hill, Clos Du Val and Newton Claret.

So go ahead, exercise your inner ogre and enjoy that scrumptious steak with a lovely, artery-clearing big red wine.