If you’re bored with cooking the same old way or want to impress your dinner guests with a bit of culinary drama, Lomo al Trapo is the way to go. (Though the first time you cook this amazing beef tenderloin you need to take a few precautions.)
I strongly suggest you invite a Colombian to guide you through the experience lest you have a panic attack midway. Like roasting a suckling pig or flaming a Baked Alaska, this is not for the faint of heart.
Let Me Explain
First, buy an expensive tenderloin, one that you would treat with all the reverence of a vintage wine. The next step blows your mind!
Here’s what happened the first time I saw the making of a Lomo al Trapo.
The Drama Begins
When I gently handed over a gorgeous tenderloin to JC, my son-in-law, he sensed my concern. He patted me on the hand, and said, ‘Trust me.’ With that, my suspicions only heightened. I gasped as he placed the prime cut of meat on layers of cheesecloth and sprinkled it with cups of salt. (Yes, I said cups, not tablespoons!)
As the sweat began to form on my forehead, JC wrapped the tenderloin tightly in the salt-lined cloth and tied it securely with string. I warned him that the meat would be far too salty and inedible. He smiled and continued on his mission, while I began thinking of an alternative way to feed 15 people.
Just when I thought nothing else could be more weird, he took the dampened bundle, walked over to the fireplace, and tossed it in like a stick of wood!
During those first few minutes, I paced the floor in front of the hearth as he reclined calmly in a nearby chair, sipping a glass of wine.
Seeing the centerpiece of my dinner party lay smoldering in cinders was more than I could handle. I headed for the refrigerator to access the lunch meat selection.
Some 30-40 minutes later (cooking time depends on the how hot the fire is), JC pulled the charred chunk from the embers. By some culinary miracle, the wrap of cheesecloth and salt had been transformed into a hard cast.
My heart raced as JC approached the newly formed “log” with chisel and hammer in hand. He made a few chops to the casing and it fell away, like a plaster cast from a healed limb. (See video below.)
All It’s Cracked Up to Be
My jaw dropped! Before my eyes was a moist, perfectly seasoned tenderloin, medium done on the ends and beautifully pink in the middle. And it wasn’t salty!!! The saline wrap had formed its own protective “oven,” keeping the meat moist and tender. Applause all around.
We had Lomo al Trapo!