Denver chef Troy Guard, who has cooked everywhere from Hawaii to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, has learned about cooking with fire from cultures around the world. “In Korea, barbecue is obviously a big staple of their cuisine,” he says. “But they do that inside restaurants.” As of July, Guard will have 10 restaurants operating in the Denver area—including Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winners Guard and Grace and TAG Restaurant—many specializing in wood-fired and grilled cuisine. “The last seven years, we’ve closed the restaurants on the Fourth of July,” he says. “We get together at the park and we have a potluck. I usually bring the main proteins, either ribs or bratwursts, chicken, burgers, all of that.” This year, he’s upping the ante, treating his fellow revelers to grilled bone-in rib eyes, prepared with a homemade dry rub and topped with maître d’hôtel butter, a classic compound butter made with lemon juice and parsley. At his restaurant Guard and Grace, the chef serves this rib eye preparation with grilled baby carrots. To round out his cookout, Guard plans to add some classic Fourth of July sides, like corn on the cob and green beans. Any vegetables you choose to serve, he says, can also be seasoned with the steak rub and the maitre d’ butter. Although Guard and Grace sommelier Todd Rocchio particularly enjoys the super Tuscan Podere Sapaio Sapaio 2006 with steak, to continue the theme of this American holiday, he recommends a Napa Cabernet to pair with the luxurious rib eye.
Photo Courtesy Guard and Grace