We were invited to a Colombian New Year party this year, where the hosts, Angela & Fabian cooked a traditional Colombian dish called ‘Lomo al trapo‘, which literally translates as ‘beef tenderloin in cloth’.
Even though the temperature was a ‘balmy’ 70F outside there was a large wood fire burning ready for cooking the Lomo al trapo. The meat was marinated in wine, then it was placed on the leg of an old pair of jeans, more traditionally a dish towel is used. It was then covered in a thick layer of salt, wrapped up tightly with wire and then thrown on the red hot coals of the fire. The salt and the cloth form a protective crust to stop the steak for completely incinerating and helps seal in the juices and flavour of the meat.
Unfortunately there was a lot of smoke caused by the smouldering of the jeans, but when the steak was served, wow! The salty burnt crust, married with the juiciness was amazing. It was certainly one of the best steaks I’ve had and an impressive way of cooking it.
We were also introduced to other Colombian new year traditions. After the stroke of midnight we all had to take a bag (luggage) and run around the block, which is supposed to ensure travelling in the coming year. Also we had to eat twelve grapes and make a wish for each one.
Thanks again to Fabian and Angela for hosting a great party.
Lomo al Trapo Recipe
- 1 whole beef tenderloin
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1.5 cups of red wine
- 1.5 cups sea salt
- 1 large dish towel or a leg from an old pair of jeans
- Trim any excess fat from the tenderloin.
- Mix 1 cup of wine with the beef stock and garlic. Pour this mixture over the beef and marinate in a refrigerator overnight.
- Light a wood fire and let burn, while feeding it for several hours.
- Spread the towel flat on a counter and cover it with a deep layer of the salt. Place the beef on top of the salt and wrap very tightly with wire to secure.
- When the fire embers are red hot, place the wrapped beef in the embers
- After approx. 10 minutes, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and remove if it registers around 145F (63C).
- Remove the beef and unwrap it. Brush off any excess salt with red wine
- Slice and serve
Salt Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Many years later while living in Copenhagen, I was speaking to some of our neighbours about this fantastic way of prepare a whole filet of beef and they convinced me I should try it at our next communal barbecue get together. The recipe and preparation was slightly different as the one above, but the end result was equally good.
- 1 whole beef filet
- 1 cups of red wine
- 2 cups of coarse salt
- 2 tbsps of dried thyme
- 1 large, clean sacrificial dishtowel or suitable cotton cloth
- kitchen string
- Prepare the beef filet by removing any excess fat
- Heat the charcoal until white hot
- Soak the cloth in about a cup of red wine
- Cover the beef with the thyme all over
- Layout the cloth and cover evenly with the salt
- Place the beef in the middle of the salt and carefully wrap it in the cloth
- Tie the cloth together with the string
- Place the package onto the hot charcoal and rotate 180 degrees after about 6 mins
- Check the internal temperature after about 10 to 15 mins and remove from the coals after it reaches 145F (63C)
- Leave to rest for 6mins
- Cut into thick slices and serve