Published July 1, 2009.
These pinwheels of stuffed steak are in butcher cases everywhere. But juicy, smoky meat with a filling that stays put required making them ourselves.
While this Italian-American dish may look nice and tidy raw, the meat buckles when cooked, forcing the filling to escape.
We wanted a filling that stayed put and delivered a complement to the rich, smoky beef in each bite.
To determine the best cut of meat to use, we made a basic recipe with several grill-worthy cuts. Thanks to its uniform shape and good beefy taste, flank steak was clearly the best bet. For the stuffing, we ruled out crunchy raw vegetables like asparagus and red pepper because of their bulkiness, which made the meat awkward to roll.
Finally, we confronted the trickiest part: how to hold the stuffing in place. We needed to start with a flat, wide piece of meat. Simply pounding the steak didn’t work; to flatten even a 1-inch-thick cut, we had to really pound away, shredding the meat. We decided to try butterflying. By splitting the steak horizontally and then opening it up like a book, we could halve its thickness. Once layered with stuffing, the steak was easier to roll and tie, which meant the stuffing was more evenly distributed. The final issue was how to keep the meat, which shrinks as it cooks, from buckling and unraveling. What if we switched from twine to skewers? We rolled up another flank steak and skewered it at 1-inch intervals before slicing and grilling. The buckling was gone, but the unraveling had resumed. What if we tried using both? Tied and skewered pinwheels looked a little odd, but when we took them off the grill and discarded the skewers, the stuffing was cooked through and firmly in place.list of recipes