CF Cook Blake Sykora Shares Three Tasty …

A RARE FIND.  It is a difficult task to find quality at-home cooking tips from local individuals, but luckily Blake Sykora has all the tips you need to prepare meat in your own home.

A RARE FIND. It is a difficult task to find quality at-home cooking tips from local individuals, but luckily Blake Sykora has all the tips you need to prepare meat in your own home.

Blake Sykora has made a name for himself in the culinary world recently for his award-winning creation, the Wisconsin Cheesesteak. The Chippewa Falls resident and local insurance agent brought home the Golden Spatula award from a nationwide cooking competition, the Blackstone Great Griddle Off, last year, prompting a series of pop-up events at local eateries.

Now, with summer fast approaching, the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador was kind enough to share three meat-centric recipes with us that you can try your hand at in your own home. Oh, and on top of that, he also shared some wisdom with us on what to do – and what not to do – to get the tastiest food out of your kitchen as possible. His three creations include:

Wisconsin Cheesesteak

Recipe by Blake Sykora – 2021 Great Griddle Off Winner

Ingredients:

  • ¼ Cup of butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup of flour
  • ½ Tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ Tsp of onion powder
  • 1 Cup of heavy cream
  • ⅔ Cup beer of choice
  • 1 Cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • ½ Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ Swiss cheese cup, shredded
  • Blackstone Cheesesteak Seasoning
  • Shaved beef
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Sauerkraut
  • Hoagie roll
  • Bratwurst

Directions:

Beer Cheese Sauce

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and mix in flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder over medium heat. Cook for one minute.
  2. Pour in the beer and milk a little at a time, whisking after each add ingredient. Continue cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add cheeses, and mix until smooth.
Cheesesteak

  1. Preheat your Blackstone Griddle to medium.
  2. Cut your bratwurst down the middle and butterfly it open. Place open side down on a griddle. Allow this to cook for about eight minutes. Add onions and peppers to the griddle with some oil. Add Blackstone Cheese Steak Seasoning to the onions and peppers. Flip bratwurst and check the beer cheese sauce.
  3. Once your onions and peppers look about 80% done, add your shaved beef to the griddle. Spread it out and add Blackstone Cheesesteak Seasoning. At this time, toast your hoagie roll and add your sauerkraut to the griddle to warm.
  4. Combine the beef, pepper, and onions and add a little beer to the mix. Combine the beef, peppers, and onions. Once it’s all combined, assemble the sandwich. Take the hoagie and place your bratwurst to the bottom. Add the sauerkraut after that and then scoop on the beef pepper onion mix.
  5. Ladle the beer cheese on top. Serve and enjoy!
Notes / Tips:

  • Make sure to cook the brats to a temp of 165 degrees.
  • Order of assembling is important: bun, brat, pepper / veg mix, sauerkraut, and then beer cheese.
  • Always have a beer for cooking whether it be for the cook or the food (if you’re of legal age, of course).

Reversed Sear Steak


Ingredients:

  • Steak of choice (I like Ribeye or T-bones)
  • Salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Optional – Favorite steak seasoning
  • Butter
  • Oil

Equipment:

  • Oven or smoker / grill
  • Meat thermometer
  • Cast iron pan

Directions for Grill / Smoker:

  1. Start off by drying your steak off with a paper towel.
  2. Season your steak with SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) or your favorite steak seasoning.
  3. Preheat your grill / smoker to 225 degrees.
  4. Once the grill / smoker is preheated place steak on grill.
  5. Allow steak to cook until the internal temp is 10 degrees less than you liking (see tip below).
  6. Remove steak and turn grill / smoker up to highest it can go.
  7. Once grill / smoker is at the highest temp put steak back on and sear each side for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Remove steak serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.

Directions for Oven / Cast Iron Pan:

  1. Start off by drying your steak off with paper towel.
  2. Season your steak with SPG (salt, pepper, garlic) or your favorite steak seasoning.
  3. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
  4. Place steak on top of an oven proof rack on top of a pan.
  5. Once the oven is preheated place steak in the oven.
  6. Allow steak to cook until the internal temp is 10 degrees less than you liking (see tip below).
  7. Remove steak and tent.
  8. Place cast iron pan on stove top on high heat.
  9. Once the pan starts to smoke apply a little oil and a tablespoon of butter.
  10. Lay steak carefully away from you in the pan.
  11. Sear each side for 1-2 minutes.
  12. Remove steak serve with your favorite sides and enjoy.

Notes / Tips:

Rare- 120 degrees
Med-Rare 130 degrees
Med-140 degrees
Med-well 150 degrees
Well-160 degrees

  • You do not need to rest the steak once done by using this method. By slowly cooking it at the beginning, the juices are already distributed and it is ready to eat.
  • Red juices you see on rare to medium steaks are not blood but is proteins.
  • The more you cook a steak the tougher it gets. So if you don’t want to eat shoe leather don’t cook it past medium.

Wisconsin Smash Burger


Ingredients:

  • Ground beef 80/20
  • Pretzel buns
  • Butter
  • May
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Beer cheese (see recipe below)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Burger seasoning or SPG (salt, pepper, garlic)

Equipment:

  • Griddle or cast iron pan
  • Large metal spatula or burger press

Directions:

Beer Cheese Sauce

  • ¼ Cup of butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup of flour
  • ½ Tsp of garlic powder
  • ½ Tsp of onion powder
  • 1 Cup of heavy cream
  • ⅔ Cup beer of choice
  • 1 Cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • ½ Cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ½ Swiss cheese cup, shredded

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter and mix in flour, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder over medium heat. Cook for one minute.
  2. Pour in the beer and milk a little at a time, whisking after each add ingredient. Continue cooking over medium heat until thick and bubbly.
  3. Reduce heat to low, add cheeses, and mix until smooth.
Smash Burger

  1. Start off by making rough 3-4 oz balls of meat.
  2. Preheat your griddle top to medium and cook your bacon.
  3. Once bacon is cooked remove it.
  4. Take your buns and apply mayo to them and toast.
  5. Remove buns once toasted.
  6. Turn heat up to high.
  7. As soon as the griddle temp is on high put down a pad of butter and spread out on your cooking surface.
  8. Place your balls of meat onto surface and smash. Hold each smash for 10 secs.
  9. Season the patties with SPG or your favorite burger seasoning.
  10. Flip when you start to see juices come up on top.
  11. Add cheese to top of patties.
  12. When cheese is melted remove and add to your bottom bun.
  13. Top with bacon, sauerkraut and beer cheese.
  14. Enjoy!

Notes / Tips:

  • You want to hold the smash for 10 secs. For this creates what is known as the Millard reaction. What you are doing is getting a nice crust on the bottom that traps the juices in.
  • Smashing before the burger is starting to cook does not make it loose juices. Smashing or pressing a burger while it is cooking does.
  • Toasting a bun with mayo gives you a better toast than with butter.

General At-Home Cooking Tips

  • Cook your meat to the appropriate temperature, not the recommended time.
  • Don’t cross-contaminate raw poultry with over products. Wash your hands before and after handling raw poultry / chicken.
  • Cook juicy pork up to 145 degrees, as per the new USDA temperature recommendation.
  • Measuring with your heart and taste beats any recipe.
  • Most importantly, have fun while you’re cooking. It is something that everyone can enjoy and it doesn’t have to be too stressful.

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