Sufferin’ Succotash No More

If it’s been a while since you’ve had succotash, give this Grilled Vegetable Succotash recipe by Liz Pearson a try. You may harbor some scarred childhood memories of the frozen stuff with mushy lima beans, but believe me, this version will alter your opinion in a good way. The sweet and smoky grilled green beans (yes, you can grill them!) stand in for lima beans in this update—and ours were fresh picked off the vines in our raised garden bed.

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And this time of year is also ripe for fresh corn on the cob and tomatoes which we bought at our local farm stand. Edible at room temperature, this dish is perfect for an outside picnic or potluck.

Besides being straight up delicious, flat-iron steak is nearly as tender as filet mignon, it cooks quickly, and it’s an affordable cut. Smoking steaks can lend them complexity, but most recipes overwhelm the meat’s delicate flavor with too much smoke. We found that the key to Grill-Smoked Herb-Rubbed Flat-Iron Steaks was using a small amount of wood chips and cooking the steaks quickly over direct heat so that they were just kissed with smoke.

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Since wood chips pack differently, we weighed the chips for more control over the smoke quantity. Salting the steaks for an hour before cooking ensured that the seasoning penetrated below the meat’s surface, and coating them with an herb-spice rub lent an extra layer of flavor that complemented the smoke. We also grilled lemons to serve with the steaks for a hit of brightness.

As mentioned, this recipe requires rubbing the steaks with salt and letting them sit at room temperature for one hour before cooking. (You can substitute blade steaks for the flat-iron steaks, if desired.) For us, medium-rare, about 125 degrees, is the only way to go, and so 4 minutes per side was perfect. We like hickory chips in this recipe, but other kinds of wood chips will work just as well.

NOTE: Gas grills (which is what we used) are not as efficient at smoking meat as charcoal grills, so we recommend using 1 1/2 cups of wood chips if using a gas grill.

Succotash Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed
  • 6 scallions, trimmed
  • 4 medium ears corn, shucked
  • 2 large firm-ripe tomatoes, halved crosswise
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbs. heavy cream

Directions

  • Brush the green beans, scallions, corn, and tomatoes all over with 1-1/2 Tbs. oil and season with 1-1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
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  • Grill the vegetables, turning occasionally, until softened and lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes for the scallions; 3 to 5 minutes for the beans; 4 to 6 minutes for the tomatoes; and 8 to 10 minutes for the corn. Transfer to a platter as they finish and set aside.
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  • Slide the skins off the tomatoes. Seed and chop the tomatoes; transfer to a large bowl.
  • Cut the corn kernels from the cobs and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Working over the bowl, scrape the dull side of a table knife down the length of each cob to remove as much of the corn “milk” as possible; discard the cobs.
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  • Roughly chop the green beans and scallions and add to the bowl along with the parsley, lime juice, and cream. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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Ingredients for the Grill-Smoked Steak

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) flat-iron steaks, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1—1 ½ cups (2 1/2—3 3/4 ounces) wood chips
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 2 lemons, quartered lengthwise

Directions

  1. Grind thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, peppercorns, and pepper flakes in spice grinder or with mortar and pestle until coarsely ground. Transfer to small bowl. Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Rub steaks evenly on both sides with salt and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. (After 30 minutes, prepare grill.)
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  2. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap wood chips (1 cup if using charcoal; 1 1/2 cups if using gas) in 8 by 4 1/2-inch foil packet. (Make sure chips do not poke holes in sides or bottom of packet.) Cut 2 evenly spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.
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  3. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Place wood chip packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 5 minutes.
    FOR A GAS GRILL: Remove cooking grate and place wood chip packet directly on primary burner. Set grate in place, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn other burner(s) to medium.
  4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Sprinkle half of herb rub evenly over 1 side of steaks and press to adhere. Lightly spray herb-rubbed side of steaks with oil spray, about 3 seconds. Flip steaks and repeat process of sprinkling and pressing steaks with remaining herb rub and coating with oil spray on second side.
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  5. Place lemons and steaks on hotter side of grill, cover (position lid vent over steaks if using charcoal), and cook until lemons and steaks are well browned on both sides and meat registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 4 to 6 minutes per side. (If steaks are fully charred before reaching desired temperature, move to cooler side of grill, cover, and continue to cook.)
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  6. Transfer lemons and steaks to clean wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice steaks thin against grain and serve, passing lemons separately.
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