WARNING: Attempting this recipe without due caution could be harmful to your fingers. No, really…
HICKORY SMOKED Fillet of BEEF; Pommes de terre et salade
Today’s recipe takes a posh piece of meat (The Beef Fillet) and makes it deliciously available to us commoners. It’s also for those fans of the Weber or “closed in” type of braais (barbeques for the millions of my non-South African readers).
Those unfortunate enough to be closely acquainted with me, will know that I prefer an open wood fire to the modern, almost clinical, Webers or Weber wannabes. However, since we invested in a Cobb some while back, it seemed senseless to leave it lying in the cupboard until the next expedition.
Essentially, having acquired your piece of fillet (about 700g will feed 2 adults), you cover it in herbs ‘n spices all under a layer of butter or oil; shove it in the Weber/Cobb until done and serve with chips, gravy, salad and (if you’re feeling energetic) pumpkin fritters.
But if you would like some additional details:
- 700g Beef Fillet
- 3 or 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 1/2 large onion – finely chopped
- 1/4 red bell pepper – finely chopped
- 1 heaped teaspoon mixed herbs
- Ground black pepper – to taste
- Salt – to taste
- 1 heaped teaspoon coriander
- 2 Tablespoons olive or sunflower oil (optionally you can use same qty of butter)
- 2/3 of a cup of Hickory wood chips – soaked for 15 minutes before adding to fire.
We like our meat cooked on the medium side of medium rare so the cooking times you see here are to achieve that level of ‘done’. When we cook for guests we use a meat thermometer to avoid overdoing the meat.
- Mix all the herbs and spices, and massage into the fillet.
- Cover the fillet with the oil or butter.
- Wrap the fillet in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Light the fire and wait until flames die down.
Place fillet in the Cobb, spread about a 2 teaspoon knob of butter onto the fillet and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, place the soaked wood chips on the coals and replace the lid. Continue cooking/smoking for another 10 to 15 minutes. This provides a more subtle smoky flavour than if you let the meat steep in the smoke for the full duration
At this time you can prepare your potato chips, salad and pumpkin fritters. Oh yes, don’t forget to make a gravy. A nice easy way is to take 1 beef stock cube and 1 vegetable stock cube. Add 2 cups of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of Worcester Sauce, onion and garlic flakes to taste, mixed herbs and a bouquet garni. Simmer for a few minutes before thickening with corn flour in the normal fashion.
If you’re measuring the internal temperature of the meat, here’s a guideline for the various stages:
- 140°F or 60°C – Rare
- 150°F or 66°C – Medium Rare
- 160°F or 71°C – Medium
- 170°F or 77 °C – Well done
When the meat is done to satisfaction, remove from the fire and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve the meat into 10mm thick slices and serve.