On the most typical of sultry summer nights, for dinner, I happily make due with a half-cooked Lean Cuisine and a lukewarm Diet Coke. But, as this virus seems to rage on so do my spurts of culinary creativity; lately, I’m finding myself wanting to cook something more substantial than just a dumb microwavable meal.
Looking over many of the homegrown eats available in our state, I put out an open call to various Made in Oklahoma businesses and, fortunately for my stomach, a few local businesses actually responded—enough for a damn good Okie dinner, I’d say.
With eager messages from BF Farms Beef & Lamb, JR Okie Smokie Gourmet BBQ Sauce, and the new kid on the block, OKC Soda Company, using the small grill I recently bought for my ladyfriend’s smaller backyard, I set out for a mouthwatering night of high-quality steaks, sauce and soda.
While my aforementioned ladyfriend prepared her top-notch fingerling potatoes purchased on an afternoon trip to Whole Foods, I seasoned the BF Farms award-winning steaks lightly, wanting to taste every inch of this thick-cut meat. Located in Breckinridge Flats, the Benkendorf family’s beeves and lambs are wholly raised on local grasses with no hormones, GMOs or anything else you don’t want in a steak. At least I don’t.
As a sweaty cloud of white smoke wafted away from the grill, I cracked open a cold one from the OKC Soda Company, one that I’d been quietly waiting for, the decadent Strawberry Milkshake. With flavors like Root Beer, Blueberry Acai, Cherry Limeade and Orange Cream, lightly filtered and sweetened with pure cane sugar, this provocative soda went down well as I relaxed in the evening shade.
Pulling the girthy steaks off the now-darkened grill, as I prepared the dinner plates, I lined up the various sauces from JR Okie Smokie, notably original, hot and chipotle. A top contender and ultimately champion in the Okie sauce scene, these tomato-based flavors have even won awards at the American Royal World Series of Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City and, man alive, it sure does taste like it.
Plates filled with tiny potatoes and sauce-infused beans, I grabbed the heftiest slab of top-choice steak, generously browned on the outside but still pink enough in the middle to retain its vibrant juices. My knife effortlessly sliced a wonderfully bitable chunk out; I couldn’t remember the last time I had meat that was so tender and true.
I swabbed a forkful of meat into a large portion of the hot BBQ sauce resting beside it. The BBQ sauces, by the way, seemed to mix well with just about everything—a bit of hot for the meat, some original in the beans and, best of all, the chipotle giving the potatoes a little kick in the bum. Steak rapidly engulfed, I used a fresh bolillo roll to sop up the additional sauce, very little of it going to waste.
Pushing my empty plate away, I heartily swigged the rest of my second soda of the day—the Root Beer—and calmly enjoyed the sweet and sassy elixir as it worked its magic, acting as both a meal refresher and a liquidic dessert that night—I’ve got to remember to head over to their new store in Chisholm Creek sometime for another six-pack.
For me and my hunger, it was the perfect Made in Oklahoma dinner for a perfect made in Oklahoma night; while I knew I probably wouldn’t have another meal this undeniably good for a long time, I sat back in my wooden chair and absolutely savored what I had, because tomorrow night it’s probably a Lean Cuisine Herb Roasted Chicken dinner, always frozen in the middle.