Thursday Night Steak Night


I have many memories of growing up on that old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo, and some I like better than others. But I would be hard pressed to come up with one more enjoyable than T-bone. Grab your fork and sharpen your steak knife, Dear Reader, this is gonna be one tasty story you really can sink your teeth into.

Dad was the only one in the house who had a steak dinner on Friday nights. It wasn’t that he was cheap and didn’t want to spend the money. Mom really didn’t like steak and we five kids would rather have homemade hamburgers or her to-die-for meatloaf. (Still the best meatloaf on this planet.) But I digress. This story isn’t about Mom’s award-winning, melt in your mouth, bacon-packed, slightly spicy meatloaf. It’s about T-bones.

Even though none of us kids really liked steak all that much growing up, we would fight over who got the T-bone. After Dad cut off all the meat, he’d give one of us the bone. We loved the taste and the little bit of meat that was still left. Unlike a piece of steak that had to be chewed and chewed and chewed, the meat around the bone was soft, tender, and extremely tasty. For years, this was how us kids enjoyed steak, and it was only on a Friday night.

But Steak Night changed when we started attending Briarwood High School, home of the Mighty Buccaneers. Thursday night family dinners weren’t out of the ordinary, but now on the menu were T-bone steaks for all of us boys! By the time we had reached high school, our chewing ability had surpassed any steak’s toughness and gnawing just on the bits around the bone wasn’t enough. But our new fondness for red meat wasn’t the reason why our Thursday night menu had changed. The change came because we now all had Friday night football games.

Dad believed the perfect meal for any football player the night before the game was a T-bone steak and a large baked potato. “It’s important to fill up on meat and starch. It’ll give you the energy you’ll need in the game tomorrow.” Don’t really know if any of us agreed with his reasoning, but we didn’t complain. After all, we all got our own T-bone, and the way Dad cooked it was perfect.

His important pre-game Thursday night steak night really began on Tuesdays. He’d ask Chuck the butcher to cut each of the T-bones special that morning. Once home, Dad rubbed coarse Kosher salt into both sides of each steak, wrapped them individually, then placed them in the cooler section of the refrigerator. Over the next couple of days, the salt would do its job and soften the meat.

Half an hour before dinner on Thursday nights, he’d take the steaks out of the refrigerator to warm to room temperature. He’d press coarse black pepper into both sides and place two large iron skillets in a 500-degree oven. When the skillets were heated sufficiently, pats of butter were tossed into the red-hot pans. The T-bones were quickly seared on both sides and returned to the oven to finish cooking.

My brothers and I won a lot of football games with the energy from Dad’s special pre-game steak dinners. It’s a tasty Flamingo Street memory I’ve never forgotten. And one I share with The Wife whenever I cook steaks – especially on Thursday nights.

And just like back on Flamingo, a Thursday night steak dinner still gives me lot of energy all day Friday. Except now I don’t play football anymore … I do yardwork and clean the house.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories weekly in The Citizen since 2001.]