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A grilled sirloin, plantain, and lime slice are placed on a yellow background as part of an illustrated collage.

Mariana Velasquez’s Recipe for Grilled Punta de Anca and Sweet Blackened Plantains

When you’re done savoring this perfectly done steak, throw some plantains on the grill.

Photo illustrations by Brittany Falussy
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A gloved hand holds the front of a weber grill in a product collage. Photo illustrations by Brittany Falussy

Grilled Punta de Anca

This recipe is courtesy of Mariana’s uncle Diego. For this recipe, she called her uncle to verify his technique before she lit up the grill.

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

2 small Picañas or top sirloin cap with fat, about 3 pounds each

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons flaky sea salt or to taste

Preparation:

Step 1: Preheat the grill to high heat. If using the Weber Smart Grill, you can adjust the temperature of your grill via the three main burner control knobs. With a sharp knife score in a criss-cross pattern the fatty side of both picaña pieces.

Step 2: Place a large cast-iron skillet over high heat on the grill. Add 1 tablespoon oil and heat for a few seconds. Add one picaña piece meat side down and sear for 3 to 4 minutes until golden brown. Rotate the piece and continue searing on the other meat side until golden. If using the Weber Smart Grill, insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the picaña before placing it on the grill. You’ll want the tip of the probe to be in a section of the meat that is at least 1-inch thick. The use of the skillet is to achieve a perfect initial sear in the oil before placing the sirloin directly on the grill. Remove from the heat and repeat with the remaining oil and the second piece of meat.

Step 3: Once both picañas are seared, place them fat-side down on the grill. The idea here is to render the fat as the meat cooks. Grill covered for 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare, or 16 to 18 minutes for medium. If using the meat probe, open your Weber Connect app to receive internal temperature notifications, readiness countdowns, and step-by-step grilling assistance.

Step 4: Remove meat pieces from the fire and place on a rimmed cutting board. Cover with foil and rest for 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 5: Before serving, slice the meat against the grain into 1/2 inch slices and season with salt. Serve right away.


A sliced yellow plantain is held in silver tongs on a pink background as part of an illustrated collage. Photo illustrations by Brittany Falussy

Sweet Blackened Plantains

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

3 very ripe plantains, yellow with dark spots

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 cup grated ricotta salata cheese

4 oz guava paste cut into 1/4-inch thick slices

2 medium limes zested and juiced

Dash of sea salt

Preparation:

Step 1: Turn your smart grill to high heat or, if you like to multi-task, cook these while your sirloin is sizzling.

Step 2: Cut both ends of plantains, leaving the skin on and placing them on the back of the grill over indirect heat on an upper rack or directly over the grill wrapped in aluminum foil.

Step 3: Cook slowly until the juices begin to ooze out from the darkened skin and they are very soft, 1 to 1 12 hours. Carefully transfer plantains to a platter and remove the skin. The texture will be very soft and creamy, with a small knife, split plantains vertically — don’t worry, they will be mushy.

Step 4: Sprinkle butter pieces and cheese evenly. Place guava paste in the center of each plantain. Sprinkle lime zest, and drizzle lime juice throughout. Allow for butter to melt and finish with a dash of sea salt.

Step 5: Cut each plantain in half crosswise and serve right away.


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