When war correspondent and author Thomas “the Turk” Goltz isn’t in the trenches of Chechnya or the presidential palace in Tbilisi, he’s at home in Livingston, Montana, where he likes to eat meat and keep his drinking muscles in shape. A haven for writers and epicureans alike, Livingston, and Goltz’s house in particular, was a great place to spend my birthday a few years back. Before the guests arrived, Goltz taught me his steak tartare recipe.
A multi-generation Montanan, Goltz eschews beef for passionately held ethical reasons. Luckily, there are many other tasty animals running around the area that he has no problem eating. That day we used deer. I’ve made this steak tartare with all kinds of red meat since, but I still like deer the best.
Whichever meat is used, it should be frozen first as a precaution against parasites—two weeks in the deep freeze is a good rule of thumb. If you’re buying your meat, it should be as fresh and high quality as possible.
Mince or grate a tender cut of meat that’s partially thawed but still mostly frozen. For every pound of meat, mix in a tablespoon of minced capers, a tablespoon of horseradish or mustard, a tablespoon of paprika, a shot of brandy, salt, pepper, and a yolk from a good egg. Mash together, taste, and adjust the seasonings. The paprika gives the tartare an extra bright redness, which seems appropriate to this very raw meat.
Plate the tartare on a bed of thinly-sliced onions, with a garnish of parsley, and serve with crackers or toast.