This piece first appeared in Issue #52 of our Gravy quarterly. 

Cajun Steak Archer

Cooking with Sambo Mockbee

by Carol Mockbee

MY FATHER , Sambo Mockbee, learned to love good food from his dear friend, the architect and chef B.B. Archer. They grew up in Meridian, Mississippi, and Sambo spent a semester with B.B. at the University of Southern Lousiana (now UL) in Lafayette. There BB learned to master Cajun cooking, and Sambo was more than happy to eat everything B.B. prepared.

Years later, B.B. wrote a cookbook, Cajun Cookery . One of Sambo’s favorite recipes was Cajun Steak Archer. As was typical, Sambo took some poetic license to make the dish his own by adding an unimaginable amount of garlic. And while you can’t beat the simple genius of this recipe, we’re pretty sure that most people returned to our kitchen because cooking with Sambo was fun. He had an endless supply of Heinekens (the only beer he ever drank), and better yet, an endless supply of stories. Some were true and some weren’t, and either way, you always wanted more.

CAJUN STEAK ARCHER

  • 4 Delmonico steaks
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • Tabasco sauce
  • Cavender’s Greek seasoning
  • Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning
  • Lawrey’s seasoned salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Lemon pepper
  • Red (cayenne) pepper
  • French’s yellow mustard
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 stick melted butter

COVER BOTH SIDES OF STEAKS  with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces, then spice with remaining seasonings. Jab steaks several times per side with a kitchen fork, then spread mustard over both sides of steaks with a butter knife. Cook in oven on broil for 4 minutes per side, basting with lemon juice and melted butter.

Samuel Mockbee was the co-founder of Auburn University’s Rural Studio. He was a MacArthur Fellow recipient in 2000 and posthumously was awarded the American Institute of Architect’s Gold Medal in 2004. His daughter Carol Mockbee is program director at the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law.