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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seasoning a Cutting Board

Cooking is really about enhancing the natural flavors of whatever ingredients we are cooking as well as creating layers of flavors in a dish that complement each other.  An interesting technique that I have come to use when preparing sliced meats is to season the cutting board. By this, I do not mean adding finish to the board, but, adding a seasoning element prior to cutting the meat.

As I am sure we all have experienced, when slicing a nicely done roast, the juices and outside seasonings of the meat end up on the board. , this is just another tool to add that layer of finishing flavor back into the meat or vegetables we are using. Above, the example shown is a board seasoned for a roasted cap of sirloin (Picanha Roast). The elements, in this case, are olive oil, celery, onion and shallots with a splash of rice wine vinegar. These elements actually mimic the giardinere commonly used on Chicago Beef sandwiches.
As you can see in this image, the meats have seeped into the seasoning blend on the board, leaving a mixture of meat juices, board seasoning and spices from the outside of the roast. The trick here is to slide the meat through the board seasoning to create a 'jus' for the finishing layer on the meat.
In the last shot, I sliced the meat a little thinner and mixed the board seasoning into the meat prior to adding the sauce. This really added to the sandwich. I also use a little dip of the bread into the board seasoning prior to toasting on the flat top to enhance the bread as well. A little bit of Big Butz Hot BBQ sauce and this sandwich was done and gone!

A footnote: The Picanha, or Sirloin Cap, it the cut of meat most famously associated with Argentinian and Brazilian BBQ, it is the meat often seen in images folded and impaled on swords and cooked over an open fire. This cut of meat in incredibly tender, as tender as any cut of meat off of a steer. The flavor is equal to, or better than tri-tip, and it takes cooking even to medium with no ill effects to tenderness. I highly recommend seeking out this cut. Just look at the color of this raw hunk, which was cryo-aged, trimmed and readied for being a little overcooked.


  1. Great tip. Adam Perry Lang calls it a board dressing but that kind of sounds like you're pouring salad dressing on it, ha ha.

  2. Did not know that Big Butz was made in Wisconsin -- just picked up a bottle at the West Allis Cheese and Sausage shop. Also Nueske's bacon, and various cheeses, but I hope not to be eaten at the same time.

  3. Go for it Ken, although I suspect they will be better on their own.