Forget the tie and the socks this Father's Day. Give the Big D what he really hungers for. Go primal with our three B's: beef, bacon and bourbon.
Unlike mom, who usually finds herself corsaged and cosseted at some cutesy Sunday brunch, dad has one basic, if often unspoken, wish for his day: "Leave me the heck alone." Do just that. Let him groove on his solitude, be it on the golf course or the running trail or even on the La-Z-Boy in his man cave.
"They say, 'Let me do what I want to do without the fun police checking in,'" says Kathleen Purvis, author of "Bourbon" (University of North Carolina Press, $18), coming in September as part of the "Savor the South" cookbook series.
But when the day is nearly done, lure dad back to civilization and to family by dishing up flavors as bold as he is. Let beef, bacon and bourbon be the theme, if his health allows.
"They are all indulgence goods," explains Purvis, who is food editor of the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. "Men are more comfortable having an indulgence. Women are more uncomfortable with that; we have to be the family disciplinarian."
Our three B's menu gives plenty of opportunity for dad to let loose. Kick things off with a bourbon cocktail freshened with ginger beer. Pass around some zippy deviled bacon as a nibble while lighting the grill, then finish with a bourbon-rubbed flank steak. Purvis suggests serving beefy slices of fresh tomato and a summer pasta salad alongside the steak.
If dad — can't wait for that winning trifecta of flavors with dinner, consider an all-in-one lunch treat from chef Edward Lee's "Smoke & Pickles" cookbook: bourbon-and-coke meatloaf sandwich.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 27 minutes
Note: It's dad's day, and he can have bacon if he wants to. Try this twist from "Salty Snacks." Author Cynthia Nims writes that the mustard and hot sauce offer a "nice zing" to the bacon's richness.
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3/4 pound thick-cut bacon, each slice halved crosswise
1. Stir together the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth.
2. Arrange bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon about half of the mustard mixture over the bacon, spreading with the back of the spoon. Bake in a 400-degree oven until lightly browned on top, 12-15 minutes. Turn the bacon over; spoon remaining mustard mixture over the bacon slices. Bake until the bacon is nicely glazed, moderately browned, and crisp, about 15 minutes. If some pieces around the outer edge of the pan are browning more quickly, remove them earlier.
3. Transfer the bacon pieces to a piece of paper towel to drain for a few minutes; transfer to a plate or platter for serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving (for 7 servings): 93 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 457 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
Bourbon-marinated flank steak
Prep: 15 minutes
Marinate: 2 hours or more
Cook: 20 minutes
Rest: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: From "Bourbon," by Kathleen Purvis.
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 flank steak, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
1. Whisk together the hoisin sauce, honey, cayenne, garlic and bourbon in a small bowl. Place the flank steak in a glass baking dish large enough to hold it in a single layer or in a large, resealable freezer bag. Add the marinade; turn the steak over several times to coat it.
2. Cover if using a glass dish; refrigerate at least 2 hours, or marinate at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.
3. Heat a gas grill or prepare a charcoal fire for direct grilling. Remove the flank steak from the marinade; grill, 10-15 minutes per side, depending on thickness. (When you poke the thickest part with your finger, it should feel like it's beginning to get firm.)
4. Remove from the grill; let stand, 10 minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain; season with salt to taste.
Per serving: 174 calories, 8 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 68 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 62 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
Jeffrey Wondrely, mixologist at Wood Restaurant in Chicago, originally created this drink using Irish whiskey, but he says any quality bourbon (Maker's Mark, Buffalo Trace, Michter's) would work well too. He also prefers Barritt's Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer in the recipe.
Combine 2 ounces tea-infused bourbon (see note), 1/2 ounce Koval Rose Hip liqueur and 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice in a tall, ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer; stir. Serve garnished with a lemon twist. Makes: 1 cocktail
Note: For tea-infused bourbon, steep 4 bags Earl Grey tea in a 750-milliliter bottle of bourbon for 3 hours. Carefully remove the bags; strain out any remaining tea particles.
Bourbon-and-Coke meatloaf sandwich with fried egg and black pepper gravy
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 32 minutes
Note: Chef Edward Lee created this open-face sandwich for Southern Living and included it in his new cookbook, "Smoke & Pickles" (Artisan, $29.95). Inspiration came from a glass of bourbon and Coke he drank, Lee writes, while trying to come up with a meatloaf recipe he liked. The sandwich contains the three B's of primal flavor — beef, bacon, bourbon — and he suggests pairing it with a fourth, beer, especially a "badass wheat ale" like Gumballhead from Three Floyds Brewing Co. Lee is chef-owner of 610 Magnolia restaurant in Louisville, Ky. We found that the meatloaf held together better when the vegetables are finely chopped in a food processor after cooking.
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 ounces bacon, diced
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 pound ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
Black pepper gravy:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup reserved meatloaf drippings
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
A few drops fresh lemon juice
8 slices Texas toast or other white bread
1/2 cup mayonnaise
8 thick slices tomato
3 tablespoons butter
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. For the meatloaf, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery and garlic; cook, until softened, 8 minutes. Add the bacon and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms give up their liquid, 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer vegetables to a food processor; pulse until finely chopped, but not a puree.
2. Add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg and extra yolk, ketchup, cola, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to the bacon-vegetable mixture. Mix with your hands until evenly blended. Form into a loaf; transfer to an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan.
3. For the glaze, mix the ketchup, brown sugar and soy sauce together. Brush it over the top of the meatloaf. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 145 degrees, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the meatloaf from the oven; carefully pour the drippings into a small bowl by holding the meatloaf in the pan and tipping it slightly. You should get about 1 cup drippings; save this for your gravy. (Add broth to equal 1 cup, if needed.) Let the meatloaf cool, about 20 minutes. Leave the oven on.
4. While the meatloaf is cooling, make the gravy: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until smooth; whisk in the drippings and chicken stock. Heat to a simmer, whisking; simmer, 2 minutes. Add salt to taste, the black pepper and a few drops of lemon juice to brighten the gravy. Turn off the heat; keep the gravy warm until ready to use. (The gravy keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a day. Rewarm it in a small saucepan and add a few drops of water to help smooth it out.)
5. For the sandwiches, arrange the bread slices on a baking pan and toast in the oven until nicely browned, 6-12 minutes. Let cool. (Or toast in your toaster.)
6. Unmold the meatloaf; cut into eight 3/4-inch-thick slices. Smear a tablespoon of mayo on each toast; top with a slice of meatloaf and tomato.
7. Melt a little butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the eggs sunny side up, 2 eggs at a time, about 3 minutes. Lay a fried egg over each slice of meatloaf. Drizzle the gravy over the eggs; top with chopped parsley.
Per serving: 762 calories, 60 g fat, 24 g saturated fat, 322 mg cholesterol, 32 g carbohydrates, 23 g protein, 1,146 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.