The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Charlie Cicero

Sugar and spiced cured New York strip

From the kitchen of chef Charlie Cicero.
4 steaks
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne
Mix rub ingredients together. Prepare steaks by applying rub to top and bottom. Cover completely on top and cure for 24 hours. Wipe off excess and grill in indirect heat until desired temperature, being careful not to burn because of the sugar cure, which can cause it to burn easily.

In the kitchen with Charlie Cicero


What is your must-have kitchen item?

I have three. My must-have kitchen items are my plating spoons, butcher’s twine and a roasting fork. I cook with those. I cook with the spoons. I don’t use a lot of tongs.
What would you choose for your last meal?
Eggplant parmesan. I wouldn’t cook it. I’d probably have my sister [cook it]. She makes the best eggplant parm. She makes me a big plate at Christmas, and I cut it up and freeze it.
Favorite restaurant besides your own?
I don’t have just one. One of them is Surf Sushi up in Portsmouth — it’s one of Michael [Buckley]’s other restaurants, and I love sushi. I could eat sushi probably every day, hands down. I guess my other favorite would be Steel & Rye, that’s in Milton, Mass. That’s one of my favorite chefs ever. I always said I knew how to cook, but when I worked for him I learned how to cook. I love his restaurant, I love his food. It’s always straightforward, and it’s always delicious.
What celebrity would you like to see eating at your restaurant?
Bradley Ogden. He’s out in Las Vegas. He’s probably one of my culinary heroes.
What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?
More and more people are trying to get local and sustainable. We even do the same thing here at Buckley’s, and Michael’s done it all along. When I started, we started planting the garden so we have pots out there, we have tomato plants out back. And yeah, I can’t sustain the restaurant on them, but when tomatoes are in season they never see refrigeration — they’re just washed and brought in. I try to use them as close to being just picked as possible. The other thing I see happen a lot more, is a lot more people are getting into butchery. Which is great, because I was lucky enough to work for a lot of old-time chefs and I learned a long time ago how to make my own prosciuttos — I have two curing right now. … I see that a lot of the younger kids are starting to do that and it’s great.
What is your favorite meal to cook at home?
I have the three girls and they look through cookbooks and we pick a theme weekend. They want Thai food, and we pick recipes and we make Thai food one weekend. Next weekend they want pizza, so we’ll do pizza and salad. I’ll do wood-grilled pizzas and I’ll do some in the oven. They’ll have a bunch of girlfriends over and we’ll have 12 screaming girls in the house, and I’ll be making pizza all day. I cook constantly. Even my hobby is competitive barbecue. So I don’t really have a favorite.
What is your favorite dish on your restaurant’s menu?
My two favorites are the bacon and egg burger — I love, love the bacon and egg burger. It’s one of those things if I could eat red meat every day, I would have that every day. The other is the blackened prime rib.
— Emelia Attridge 

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