Sourcing quality ingredients is essential for this dish to shine. Choose a top-quality grass-fed beef rump from your local butcher as well as a quality whisky – Tasmanian preferably. Whatever whisky you choose will influence the flavour of the beef – so if you prefer a beautiful earthy flavour, choose a good quality peaty whisky.
To take this dish to the next level you could grate a little truffle on top or change up the flavour profile again by adding wood to the coals, such as apple, cherry or hickory wood. There are also a variety of ways you can cook the beef sticks: on a grill over coals, such as a Weber or a hibachi; a flat top barbeque; or over an open fire on a rack. Whatever method you choose, they’ll be delicious – though nothing beats hot coals and fire.
Charred Tasmanian pepperberry and whisky beef sticks by Stephen Lunn of Chefaholic Cooking School and Truffle Farm Catering, Cambridge, Tasmania
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1.8kg prime Tasmanian beef rump (if good quality no need to brine)
60ml Tasmanian whisky of your choice
3g Tasmanian pepperberry
Pinch Tasmanian sea salt
50ml Tasmanian olive oil
Shaved truffle, to serve (optional)
For the marinade, pour the whisky into a bowl. Crush the pepperberry in a mortar and pestle and add to the whisky.
Dice the steak into 3cm x 3cm cubes (you can dice smaller if you wish). Add the steak to the whisky mix, plus a generous pinch of salt and the olive oil. Marinate for at least 8 hours (preferably 24 hours overnight in the refrigerator). Soak the skewers in water overnight too, so that they don’t burn on the grill.
The next day, place the meat onto the soaked skewers, pressed together, but not too tightly otherwise the meat won’t cook evenly.
Prepare your fire or barbeque grill well ahead. Once ready, cook the meat over the hot coals, until the meat is cooked medium-rare (about 6–7 minutes depending on how big the cut of meat). If you cut the steak into 3cm x 3cm cubes they may take about 8 minutes (turn the meat during grilling to cook all sides evenly). Allow to rest before serving.
Note: If you can’t source top-quality meat, you may need to brine the meat in a salt solution before cooking (1 litre of water to 40 grams of salt for 8 hours). Rinse before marinating and pat dry (do not add more salt if brining).
This is an extract from the hardcover cookbook Winter Wild: A feast of dark delights by Janice Sutton. The book is a loving ode to winter eating and drinking in Tasmania, containing 180 recipes from – and inspired by – Mona’s Heavy Metal Kitchen, Dark Mofo Winter Feast, Dark Fringe and the Willie Smith’s Mid-Winter Festival. Buy online at janicesutton.com, or in person at Meatsmith stores in Melbourne, and Harry Hartog or Berkelouw Books in Sydney.