Under the Big Oak | Fulton
“Focusing on beverages and located in the main lobby, this common ground pays homage to the musically buzzed streets of Austin with live music, and the deep roots of the grand, old oak tree of Fulton, Texas. This is the new, iconic meeting place of Austin and the beating pulse of Fairmont. Fulton is a place to sip and swirl local wine, beer and spirits while enjoying relaxed dining with plates to share. Just tell your friends you’ll meet them ‘under the Big Oak’ at Fairmont Austin… They’ll know where to be.”
If you haven’t been there yet and don’t know why ‘under the Big Oak’ — go and find out! Make it a date night. We went for the SIP N’ SHUCK event with oysters and sparkling wine and (unexpectedly!) discovered their smoked steak tartar.
I wanted to recreate it in my home kitchen with Cameron’s Stovetop Smoker. I didn’t know how the Fulton steak tartare got its smokey flavor, but since it’s barely there, I suspected they used a smoking gun and a relatively short period for the smoke to set. My experimental timing with Cameron’s smoker was a bullseye, and I liked my version even better! My beef tenderloin got the right amount of smokiness, and its internal temperature was a bit above the body temperature.
Steak tartare is to be made right before serving. Choose the best meat you can get, season it well, smoke, and mince it with a knife.
Sauce and Toppings
Fulton’s smoked steak tartar was served with a very balanced accompaniment of the sauce with a touch of horseradish. Crunchy and refreshing radish was the most noticeable among Tex-Mex themed toppings that were absolutely up to my taste.
With my first try at home, I added some other pickled vegetables. Though they made my plating more colorful and attractive, it was overwhelming for the delicate flavors of gently smoked tenderloin. I omitted pickles in my next versions, keeping the fresh cilantro and finely grated mild cheese.
An aioli with a hint of horseradish was a big step away from the traditional tartare sauce, but I liked it. I also tried and liked a very simple sauce made with fresh egg yolk mixed with 1/4 tsp of high-quality aged balsamic vinegar and salt — my friend mentioned trying with her steak tartare in Paris a few days ago.
Grilled slices of bread is another important element of the dish. Go for the best French country bread and make sure you get nice grill marks for the best flavor and texture.