Beef in rags, aka “lomo al trapo”, is a Columbian dish that is a bit, well, unconventional. You take a beef tenderloin, rub it in spices and salt, wrap it in a dish towel (yes, dish towel), and throw it onto a hot bed of coals to cook. The salt and dish towel prevent the cut of meat from burning and also seal in the juices making for a very flavorful (albeit dramatic) cut of filet mignon when all is said and done.
I, too, was a little confused about the dish towel concept when Charlie Marshall, owner of The Marshal in Hell’s Kitchen Manhattan, first told me about it a couple of weeks ago. He must have been able to sense my intrigue through the phone as he immediately followed up the explanation on how it’s done with, “Want to see it?”. A week later, and I’m standing with him and executive chef Gregg Berk in the kitchen of The Marshal, video camera in hand, excited to learn about a unique way to cook a steak. Here’s how it went:
1. Clean the filet. Remove excess silver skin, fat, and “the chain” (fat-covered portion of meat at the bottom of the tenderloin).
2. In a container large enough to hold the tenderloin (but small enough to fit in your fridge), add the beef tenderloin.
3. Cover the tenderloin in a generous portion of garlic, parsley, rosemary, and thyme.
4. Pour on 2 cups of red wine.
5. Cover in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12 hours or overnight.
6. Lay out dish towel on a table and lay the tenderloin on top.
7. Add a generous amount of salt to the tenderloin (don’t worry we’re removing it later so no worries about it being “too salty”).
8. Wrap the tenderloin up tight in the dish towel and tie it together with the string (no need to be fancy about it just wrap it up and tie it tight).
9. Throw it on to your BBQ and close the lid (or into your wood burning oven) and let it cook for 15 minutes to achieve a medium rare temp depending on your grill/oven (you can always peak inside and if it needs more time throw it back in for another 5 minutes).
10. After it’s done, take it out and use a wet dish towel to put out any embers.
11. Unwrap the tenderloin (and get excited like it’s Christmas) and throw away the dish towel.
12. Brush off the salt.
13. Slice into desired cuts.
After all is said and done, it was delicious (not terribly surprised, though, as most of the things I’ve tasted at The Marshal rarely disappoint). And the fact that it was from an organic farm that they could name that was nearby never hurts.
What do you guys think? Would you give it a try?
Want to see other videos by The Marshal? Check out the ramp videos they did for us!