Cherries are popping up in orchards all over the country, which means they’re also popping up in produce sections and farmers’ markets all across the country. And when we think cherries, our booze-centric minds instantly go to the flavor combination in a traditional Manhattan cocktail: the spice of a rye whiskey balanced by the sweetness of a cherry. So, this week, we created a Manhattan-inspired steak sauce.
In addition to just being fun, the whiskey serves a very important function in the sauce: Because the first step is cooking bacon, you will inevitably have some bits of browned bacon in the pan, and the whiskey will help loosen those little morsels of flavor so they’re incorporated into the sauce. When you deglaze with the whiskey, remember to really scrape the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon so you’ll have a flavorful sauce and a much easier dish to wash. While you’re at it, you might as well take a swig.
2 Ribeye steaks
Manhattan Steak Sauce:
3 slices of bacon, cut into lardons
1 onion, sliced
12 cherries, pitted and cut in half
1 healthy shot rye whiskey
1 cup sweet barbecue sauce
To make the steaks, rub each one thoroughly with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Remove the steaks about an hour before cooking and allow them to come to room temperature.
Prepare your grill for direct grilling. Sear the steak directly over the fire. Cook for 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove the steaks from the grill and tent with tin foil. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
To make the sauce, cook the bacon in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Once it’s browned and crunchy, remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the onions and allow to cook for 12-15 minutes, until translucent.
Carefully add the shot of whiskey to the pan and deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the barbecue sauce and the cherries, stir and bring to a low simmer. Allow the sauce to cook for about 10 more minutes, then taste it and adjust seasoning as needed. Stir the crispy bacon back in and set aside until ready to serve.