Forget the tie and the socks this Father's Day. Give the Big D what he really hungers for. Go primal with our three B's: beef, bacon and bourbon.
Unlike mom, who usually finds herself corsaged and cosseted at some cutesy Sunday brunch, dad has one basic, if often unspoken, wish for his day: "Leave me the heck alone." Do just that. Let him groove on his solitude, be it on the golf course or the running trail or even on the La-Z-Boy in his man cave.
"They say, 'Let me do what I want to do without the fun police checking in,'" says Kathleen Purvis, author of "Bourbon" (University of North Carolina Press, $18), coming in September as part of the "Savor the South" cookbook series.
But when the day is nearly done, lure dad back to civilization and to family by dishing up flavors as bold as he is. Let beef, bacon and bourbon be the theme, if his health allows.
"They are all indulgence goods," explains Purvis, who is food editor of the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina. "Men are more comfortable having an indulgence. Women are more uncomfortable with that; we have to be the family disciplinarian."
Our three B's menu gives plenty of opportunity for dad to let loose. Kick things off with a bourbon cocktail freshened with ginger beer. Pass around some zippy deviled bacon as a nibble while lighting the grill, then finish with a bourbon-rubbed flank steak. Purvis suggests serving beefy slices of fresh tomato and a summer pasta salad alongside the steak.
If dad — can't wait for that winning trifecta of flavors with dinner, consider an all-in-one lunch treat from chef Edward Lee's "Smoke & Pickles" cookbook: bourbon-and-coke meatloaf sandwich.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 27 minutes
Note: It's dad's day, and he can have bacon if he wants to. Try this twist from "Salty Snacks." Author Cynthia Nims writes that the mustard and hot sauce offer a "nice zing" to the bacon's richness.
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons hot sauce
3/4 pound thick-cut bacon, each slice halved crosswise
1. Stir together the Worcestershire sauce, mustard and hot sauce in a small bowl until smooth.
2. Arrange bacon strips on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Spoon about half of the mustard mixture over the bacon, spreading with the back of the spoon. Bake in a 400-degree oven until lightly browned on top, 12-15 minutes. Turn the bacon over; spoon remaining mustard mixture over the bacon slices. Bake until the bacon is nicely glazed, moderately browned, and crisp, about 15 minutes. If some pieces around the outer edge of the pan are browning more quickly, remove them earlier.
3. Transfer the bacon pieces to a piece of paper towel to drain for a few minutes; transfer to a plate or platter for serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving (for 7 servings): 93 calories, 7 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 18 mg cholesterol, 1 g carbohydrates, 6 g protein, 457 mg sodium, 0 g fiber.
Bourbon-marinated flank steak