BBQ Steak and Pineapple Tacos

I rarely get around to sharing the off-the-cuff recipes I cook day to day. Look, writing a blog is a lot of hard work; I know it might seem like I just sit down and bash out a few hundred words and take a quick snap and, yeah, ok, that’s sort of what happens but let me tell you that doing it for a solid ten years takes a fair bit of organisation.

Making things look appetising is a concern, of course, because no-one wants to see a photo of brown stew taken with flash at 9 pm on a Formica countertop, so that means pictures are off limits once natural daylight has waned. If you want to share a recipe, then you need to write down exactly what you used and what you did, either at the time or very shortly afterwards because trust me, you definitely won’t remember. All this before you’ve even considered whether or not the end result is worth sharing.

Grilled Pineapple

Nowadays, most recipes I cook work the first time around (that’s a benefit of years of messing stuff up, so I’ve earned my stripes) but for all the necessary elements to come together without any planning, well, it just doesn’t happen too often. Sometimes my camera is out of battery, or I have people round and don’t want to be in food blogger mode. Perhaps I just can’t be bothered (I KNOW).

Anyway, the point is I’m going to try and share more of these ‘everyday’ recipes and before you say, ‘OMG no-one eats like this every day’ let me say that, yeah, sometimes I just make a sandwich or a boiled egg but actually, quite often we do bash out a batch of tacos of a lunchtime and what of it? I’m not trying to show off here – I eat for a living. This is just what I do.

So. This lunch was completely unexpected – I was on my way home when I got a call from the BBQ Hotline which went something along the lines of, ‘I have a few hours I didn’t expect to have – let’s grill’ to which I replied, ‘pass dem tongs’ and the result was these tacos.

BBQ Rump Steak

We rushed up to Flock and Herd butchers in Peckham, bought a fine hunk o’ rump and rubbed it down with ground Pasilla and chilli de Arbol, blitzed cumin and coriander seeds. We grilled fat wedges of pineapple until blackened, chopped them up to reveal their juiciness and dusted them with Tajin – an excellent dried lime and chilli dust that is everywhere on tables in California and Mexico (do not fret – you can buy it online). We oiled and blistered spring onions, purchased scary-red Mexican Habanero hot sauce (mucho authentico), then stamped out some corn tacos, cooking them on a hot plate on the grill.

BBQ Steak and Pineapple Taco

It’s the grilled pineapple that makes these so good – the sweet fruit alongside the lime, grilled steak and searing bite of the Habanero is a killer combination (see also: grapefruit and mango). We ate the lot between us, alongside several cold beers and afterwards, snoozed on the sofa. The perfect, impromptu Saturday lunch.

BBQ Steak and Pineapple Tacos

1 x 600g rump steak
1 Pasilla chilli
2 Chilli de Arbol
1 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon sea salt

6 spring onions
1 pineapple
Tajin seasoning
Coriander, to serve
Habanero hot sauce, to serve
Shredded white cabbage dressed with a splash of good white wine vinegar and salt and scrunched with your hands, to serve (totally optional and just for a bit of crunch)

10 tacos – you can either buy these – corn tacos are available now online and in shops, or you can make them. We made them but we didn’t write down quantities and it’s not helpful to say ‘add water until the mixture feels right’. Recipes are abundant online – here is one on Kitchn and another on BBC Food.

Light your BBQ.

Grind the chillies and spices and mix with the salt. Rub all over the steak.

Peel the pineapple and cut into quarters lengthways. Remove the core then cut each quarter into long wedges. Grill this on the BBQ (as it is), then chop.

Trim the spring onions then rub them with a little oil. Season with salt and grill whole until charred. Chop.

Dust any excess rub off the steak then grill it to your liking on the BBQ. We like it medium rare as you can see. This is going to take around 8 minutes on the BBQ, flipping every minute or so.

Pile it all into tacos. This isn’t rocket science. Ice cold beers on the side work very nicely.

Steak sandwiches with pimento cheese

On Thursday, I went to the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards, because I was nominated for online food and drink writer of the year. I was sure I didn’t have a hope in hell of winning with Felicity Cloake and Sue Quinn as my competition and you know what? I was right. Sue won and I think deservedly so. Congratulations again, Sue.

Was I disappointed I didn’t win? Yeah, of course. As I stood there in my fancy blouse and disco shoes, sweating profusely (for it was the hottest room in London, filled with too many people), my stomach was like a butterfly circus. I knew I wasn’t the one, though, and consequently had bugger all to say if required to go on stage. Cue more sweating. By the end I resembled a floppy poodle clutching a glass of champagne, hungry eyes strobing the corners of the room in search of canapes.

I did get to stand in a room with some properly famous food people though. Imagine me nudging my boyfriend in the ribs and mouthing, “it’s Nigella! It’s ACTUALLY NIGELLA!” and then doing the same for Rick Stein before finishing with my usual, “Marcus Wareing really does look a lot like a Border Terrier, amiright?” He does, though. Check it out.

Marcus Wareing Border Terrier

What has all this got to do with steak sandwiches, you’re thinking? The answer, my friends, is not a lot. This is just a story about me losing an award and then cooking some steak sandwiches as a consolation prize. I think that’s okay.

Now you all know that steak sandwiches are brilliant, but do you also know about pimento cheese? If you’re American, then you will, but the Brits, not so much. It’s a Southern American thang and if you’re interested then there’s a lovely little history on the website Serious Eats. Basically, it’s a mixture of cheddar (crappy stuff – remember, this is American cheese), mayo and seasonings, including of course pimento peppers. It’s traditionally eaten on little crackers but I find that kind of boring, preferring it instead on burgers or in sandwiches.

Rib Eye Steak

I love creamy cheese in a steak sandwich (see also: Boursin) and this is fantastic with its zippy grit of pimentos and jalapenos. I also mixed up some chives with olive oil and brushed it on the baguette before toasting on the BBQ. Excellent allium twang.

Who needs awards when you’ve got steak sandwiches? (Me. I need awards).

Steak Sandwich with Pimento Cheese

BBQ Steak Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese Recipe

Serves 4

1 good quality baguette (I used sourdough)
2 thick rib eye steaks
225g Cheddar cheese, grated (this is the time for Cathedral City, not Keen’s)
50g mayonnaise
50g cream cheese
50g jarred pimento peppers, diced (those Peppadew ones but not stuffed)
30g jarred jalapenos, diced
1 teaspoon Chohula hot sauce (or similar)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Light your BBQ.

To make the pimento cheese, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, and Cheddar together in a bowl. It will look a bit stiff but don’t worry. Add the pimentos, jalapenos, hot sauce and cayenne. Mix and adjust seasonings if you like, adding more of any ingredient.

Cook your steaks by seasoning highly with salt and pepper. Cook on a BBQ for about 2.5 mins each side (depending on thickness), flipping every 30 seconds (or cook to your liking).Allow to rest, then slice.

Brush the baguette with chive oil, then toast lightly. Spread with pimento cheese, then add the steak. Close, slice and serve.

You will have lots of lovely pimento cheese leftover. Try it in burgers, on other sandwiches, or as a dip.