onlookers alike are flocking to 14th Street to watch the weigh-ins along
the Reel Inn docks.
On the first day of the tournament, only 10 out of 250 (+/- 4 percent
for statistical accuracy) boats actually fished on Monday so the event
was non-existent. We are just glad that no one told the spectators.
As the kitchen and bar employees crawled their way through the day, the
conversation was constantly on how many people there were at the Reel
Inn. They were everywhere. Even with such a tiny fleet fishing, the
crowds came out to see that one big fish. As such, they’ll have to come
back for the rest of the tourney in order to get a good view of one of
the trophy fish that will unwittingly find themselves on the scale.
Now, as I wrote last week, the fish that we go through the most during
the White Marlin Open is tuna, not marlin. Tuna. And lots of it.
But I can’t always write about seafood so I need to think of something
else. Another item we can’t seem to keep on hand is the special order
dry aged steak.
I break down my own tenderloins, but I have Doug Jacobs at Minit Market
break down ribeyes and porterhouses for us. If you haven’t visited Doug
at the Market, make sure you do. He has always done a killer job on the
My favorite by far is the dry aged cowboy steaks, a commodity I can
purchase in small quantities. If I tried to buy a whole loin, I’d lose
my job. They are expensive, so be ready for that.
Doug also freshly grinds our chuck burgers, which are killer, but the
dry aged steaks are special. The dry aging process is fascinating, and
the master of all on-premises dry aging is Gallagher’s in Manhattan. At
that steakhouse, the aging walk-in refrigerator is in the front with a
window to the street. As such, you can see that gloriously “green” beef
as it makes its way through the steps.
Dry aging results in beef that is rich in flavor (think bison or elk) and tender like you’ve never had it.
Whatever you do, shy away from trying to age your own beef. It is a
complicated process that encourages the enzymatic breakdown of the meat
fibers and tissue. Part of that process entails establishing and
maintaining, very carefully, the temperature and moisture levels in the
Just think cigar humidor and you will get the idea.
For tomorrow, I am ordering some dry aged cowboys for some regular
customers who are looking for a special treat, and despite the fact that
it is White Marlin, i.e. a fishing competition, I am looking forward to
grilling up these bad boys.
With the tournament almost over, I frown at the prospect that there
won’t be much time until the summer is nothing but a blur from the past.
As soon as this task is done, I begin my position as associate professor
at Wor-Wic Community College, a position that I hope will allow me to
continue in the field of education for many years to come.
And with that I say good night as I gear up for another day at the Open — the Great Tuna Open that is.
Dry Age Steaks
1 16-ounce dry age cowboy steak per person (porterhouse pictured)
Steak Blend (recipe follows)
Brown butter (recipe follows)
• Prepare the brown butter and have at the ready in liquid form (in other words, just keep it warm)
• Coat both sides with the brown butter and spices
• Preheat a grill and when ready, place the steak on board
• In about 4 minutes, turn the steak about 45 degrees. This will give you that beautiful hash mark on your steak
• When you are ready to turn the steak, do so and repeat the upper two
steps, but bear in mind this one very important tip: learn your own
grill. All grills cook differently so you will have to learn yours and
• Top with garlic butter, chimichurri or any other sauce that you deem
fit for the task. The beauty of dry aging is that the flavor is in the
1 stick unsalted butter
• Melt butter in a saucepan
• When melted, the butter will separate into three distinct layers: milk
solids on the bottom, clarified oil in the middle and the casein
(protein) foam on top
• Skim the foam off of the top and discard
• Continue to heat the butter until the milk solids on the bottom turn brown, but be careful not to scorch the butter
• When the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma, it is ready. Pull of the stove until ready to use and keep it warm
makes enough for more than a few cookouts
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tbs. onion powder
1 tsp. ground thyme
1 tsp. smoked or sweet Spanish paprika
2 tbsp. Freshly ground black pepper
• Combine all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks
mercenary chef. He lives in Ocean Pines with his wife and four kids, and
is currently the kitchen manager at The Reel Inn in Ocean City.