Barrel Aged Beef

Stampede is upon us here in Calgary, 10 days of everything western that takes over pretty much every aspect of the city. Along with all of this western hospitality comes food, from pancakes to beef right through everything fried, you can find food everywhere all day long. Tonight we had the pinnacle western dinner centred around our famous Alberta Beef.

Modern Steak is just as it sounds, a beautifully appointed modern steak house located just out of downtown that is well known for its use of ranch specific Alberta beef. If you are a beef lover you will most likely know that 28 days is the typical minimum aging process to provide that flavourful tender steak we all love. Now take that number and multiply it by 5 and thats what we had last night.

In a collaboration with Jack Daniels, Modern Steak threw down the gauntlet and hosted a 150 day Jack Daniels aged beef dinner and yes it is exactly like it sounds. They took their prime Tomahawk steak and instead of a straight dry age they wrapped it in cheese cloth and soaked it each day in Jack Daniels. This process not only reduced the average 2% loss from dry aging beef to 1% but infused and tenderized the meat like nothing else you have ever tasted and this is only the second time it has ever been offered up!

Our four course dinner was accompanied not by wine pairings as you may assume but amazing Jack Daniels cocktails that were created and matched to each course by the head bartender at Modern Steak. I am not normally a Jack Daniels drinker but admit that I was pleasantly surprised by our welcome drink the “Jack Palmer”, Jack Daniels with peach schnapps, thyme green tea and lemon was fresh and summery and would be the perfect summer deck drink .

The “Jack Palmer” cocktail

The first offering of our four course dinner was the ever popular (and for good reason) Modern Tartar and house made chips paired with the “JD Tea”. Yet another refreshing cocktail pitting JD with honey ginger infused earl grey, lemon and lavender bitters. While each was excellent separately, paired together it was an amazing combination. I would have never thought to pair cocktails with dinner!

Our second course paired the “Honey and Smoke” cocktail with a beautiful mushroom risotto braised beef rillete. A rillete is meat that is cooked similarly to a pate but in this case was offered up as a pulled beef that combined perfectly into the mushroom risotto. The real surprise in this course however was the cocktail that contained liquid smoke. If you have ever used liquid smoke you know that it can very quickly go from a nice additive to turning everything into tasting like you have licked the BBQ grill. Once again the bartender at Modern Steak hit the nail on the head with this cocktail, it was sweet and smoky and surprisingly smooth considering it contained both JD Tennessee Honey and Ardbeg Scotch! This combo garnered many smiles around the table and many of us were wondering how to get our hands on another one.

Finally the third course and the one we have all been waiting for! Here we were presented with a Tomahawk selection of 40, 60 and 150 day Jack Daniel aged beef paired with the “JDOF” cocktail. Although not my favourite cocktail of the night as it had a bit of that traditional JD burn that most of us are familiar with, it held up beautifully to the aged beef and brought out the flavour that all of the “barrel dipping” gave to the beef. Now the beef, the 40 day aged was tender and flavourful and for me really had the biggest flavour from the Jack Daniels. The 60 day aged almost melted in your mouth ┬ábut that 150 day aged beef was the star. Here is where the full and authentic flavour of beef hits you right where your tastebuds matter. It melted in your mouth but with a flavour so big and bold that it made all of the time, effort and planning well worth every hour of care that is put into this 6 month process.

Finally we ended the night with a Rhubarb and Fennel Tart paired with the “7th Place” cocktail made with Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, chilled espresso and vanilla. ┬áThis was the prefect end to the night of rich flavourful beef dishes. Light and sweet with an absolutely amazing tart crust that I’m pretty sure I would fill with anything and love matched with the perfectly balanced dessert cocktail that would land much closer than 7th place in my rankings.

After all is said and done I would highly recommend that if you get a chance to try out a once in a lifetime event like this to do it. Take the chance on cocktails you might not love and you might find a new favourite (I admit I may be a Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey convert) and get in on the amazing extra long aged beef (even if it may forever change your beef tastebuds) you wont regret it!

Stampeding my way through amazing food events I am Your Everyday Foodie!