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A question about a recipe: Sugar Steak with Bourbon

I have a question about step 1 on the recipe "Sugar Steak with Bourbon" from amanda. It says:

"Layer together the flank steak, sugar, bourbon, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Rub the sugar and red pepper flakes into the steak. Put the steak in a 1-gallon plastic bag, pour in the marinade, seal the bag, and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours."
Please explain "layer together" all the ingredients in a bowl, but then "rub the sugar and red pepper flakes into the steak", then "put steak in plastic bag and pour in marinade". Is it just me or this confusing?

Answer »

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added about 3 years ago

Hi Dagir. I wrote "layer together" to avoid using the word "combine," which I dislike! Rub the sugar and red pepper flakes into the steak" means to spread the sugar and pepper flakes on both sides of the steak. Not sure what's confusing about putting the steak in the bag -- you can just leave the steak in the bowl if you prefer. If you click on this link and scroll down, you'll find a photo slideshow that shows you how to make the recipe.
Hope this is helpful.

Madeleine52 added over 1 year ago

If you are going to write recipes and expect people to understand what you want them to do in order to produce a good product, you need to get used to using proper English words that convey exactly that. The fact that you "dislike" the word combine is one of the most inane responses I've read. Use the dictionary to look up the word combine and layer. In no way are they similar. You've created great doubt as to the reputation of your recipes. One would expect better of a professional.


Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 1 year ago

Madeleine52, this is a friendly site, and I think as you'll see in the responses below, this was a supportive back and forth between community members. I don't agree that I've created great doubt about the reputation of my recipes by choosing not to use a word I don't like. I do agree that clarity is important, but so is personal voice. We celebrate personal voice in recipes on Food52 -- it makes the recipes entertaining to read as well as useful, and gives you a sense of who the cook behind the recipe is. Hope you'll reconsider!

Benny added over 1 year ago

there was a thread, not too long ago, where someone had said that they felt like many hotline responses seemed rude and condescending. The community responded and really did a good job at explaining why this happens. Here is the link <a href="http://food52.com/hotline/15378-getting-an-answer-from-this-site" target="_blank">http://food52.com/hotline/15378-getting-an-answer-from-this-site</a> I hope anyone who feels that someone is being rude here sticks around long enough to realize that it just isn't so. This is the most helpful, informative group of foodies I've ever found on the web.

ckinsobe added about 3 years ago

I agree I found the wording on the first paragraph confusing.Figured it meant to just rub the entire thing with the spice/bourbon mix/sugar. Layering is more like creating separate levels of different ingredients IMO.

Dagir added about 3 years ago

Glad to know I'm not the only one who was a bit baffled. I'm a pretty experienced cook, so I was somewhat embarrassed when Amanda responded and made it sound so easy and obvious! :) Sugar Steak w/ Bourbon is quite nice and can be a great go to for summer grilling.

betteirene added almost 3 years ago

I made this tonight and we loved it, but, like you, I was baffled when I read the recipe. Thanks for asking the question before I did. There is no link to the slideshow on the page that comes up when you do a search for the recipe; the link appears only on the blog page, and I don't think I would have ever thought to search for that blog.

After reading the recipe and viewing the slideshow, I think the confusing part is the instruction to pour the marinade into the bag without first mentioning that the layered mixture will make its own marinade as the sugar begins to dissolve.


Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 3 years ago

Just fixed the "pour." Should be clearer now.

CharlieR added almost 3 years ago

Dagir: I have been cooking for over 40 years and the instructions threw me into a baffle also.
What I would do is...... Mix the sugar and pepper together.
Rub some of this into the steak on all sides.
Add the bourbon to the rest of the sugar and pepper.
Put steak in a ziploc or container.
Seal, and make sure all sides are coated, and let sit up to 3 hours.

I'm sorry Amanda but your answer to Dagir bordered on rude.

You must realize that some first time cooks may be here, and they need things written out clear and succinct. This was baffling I must admit.

I do though enjoy your website and your recipes.

Will be trying this one.

Dagir added almost 3 years ago

Thanks, CharlieR. I've made this several times now and been very pleased with the results. I think I over guessed the recipe a bit. I have to admit, I had a similar reaction to Amanda's initial response, but thought I was being overly sensitive as a first time "questioner". I found her response more dismissive than rude, and I bet quite unintentional.


Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 3 years ago

CharlieR -- no rudeness intended at all! I'm always thrilled when someone wants to try a recipe I've added to the site, and love getting feedback on clarity, etc. It's been a while now since I added that response -- may have just been that I was busy that day and answered in a hurry. Dagir, glad you gave it a try, and liked it!


Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

Love it. Seriously. Love it.

CharlieR added almost 3 years ago

Amanda: Honey, I'm sure that you didn't mean it the way it sounded.
We all have our off days. Don't I know it!
I'm sorry, when I when I read your answer, I think I went into mother hen mode.
LOL! It is so hard to get out of that stage!

This is a recipe that I will definitely try.
A question though......if I use rum instead will it alter the taste too much.
I'm not a drinker so don't know.
I have rum for hot toddy, which knocks my colds in the winter.

I'll be back again for more and more recipes.


Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added almost 3 years ago

CharlieR, thanks for your note and understanding! I think rum will work really well. If you have dark rum, use that!

CharlieR added almost 3 years ago

Thanks Amanda!

Have a great day

CharlieR added over 2 years ago

Amanada; I have a 6-6 1/2 pound prime rib that I am dry aging for Thanksgiving and would love to try this on it.

How many times do you think I should multiply this recipe, for the roast.


Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

added over 2 years ago

I'd triple it. Hope you're having a dinner party!

No need to email me as additional
answers are added to this question.