Caveman T-Bones with Bell Pepper HashSteven Raichlen
In 1953, an American general-turned-politician became the thirty-fourth president of the United States. We remember Dwight D. Eisenhower here, not for his great leadership or military genius, but for a singular method of grilling he brought to the White House. “He rubs the steak (a 4-inch-thick sirloin) with oil and garlic,” wrote a reporter from the Miami Daily News, one Mr. Byres, “then, as the horrified guests look on, casually flings the steak into the midst of the red and glowing coals.”
Thus was born what I like to call “caveman” steak. (Steaks were no doubt grilled this way in prehistoric times, and likely have been ever since.) Ember-roasting gives you an exemplary crust and pronounced smoky flavor. To round out the taste, you’ll top the beef with a pan-fry of poblano and bell peppers— also cooked on the embers.
Sorry, gas grillers: You’ll need a charcoal grill for this one. You’ll want to use natural lump charcoal, not briquettes. You also need a grill hoe or garden hoe; newspaper for fanning the coals; long-handled tongs; heavy-duty grill gloves; and a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.
Shopping for T-Bone Steaks
Porterhouse is another of the “noble” steaks (i.e., strip, rib-eye, and filet mignon). It is comprised of both a piece of filet mignon and a strip steak, separated by a T-shaped bone.
Tips for Grilling Steak on Embers
Grilling steak directly on the embers isn’t new, and it certainly isn’t limited to steak. But there’s something about laying a slab of beef on a red-hot bed of embers that astonishes, horrifies, and ultimately thrills in a way that no other grilling method can rival. And there’s more to the practice than mere theatrics: The strong but uneven heat, the micro- charring of the meat’s surface, and even the tiny bits of cinder add a texture and taste to a steak you simply can’t achieve by conventional grilling.
Try More T-Bone Steak Recipes:
- Caveman T-Bones with Hellfire Hot Sauce
- T-Bone Steaks on a Shovel
- Grilled T-Bone Steak with Grape Tomato Salad
Caveman T-Bones with Bell Pepper Hash
- Yield: Serves 2 and can be multiplied as desired
- Method: Grilling in the embers
- Equipment: a 10-inch cast iron skillet
- 2 T-bone steaks (each 12 to 16 ounces and 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick)
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and coarsely cracked black peppercorns
For the bell pepper hash:
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into strips (1/4 inch by 2 inches)
- 1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into strips (1/4 inch by 2 inches)
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
Step 1: Build a charcoal fire and rake the coals into an even layer. (Leave the front third of your grill coal-free.) When the coals glow orange, fan them with a newspaper to blow off any loose ash.
Step 2: Generously, and I mean generously, season the steaks on both sides with salt and cracked pepper. Place the steaks directly on the embers about 2 inches apart. Grill until cooked to taste, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning with tongs. Move the steaks after 2 minutes on each side so they cook evenly.
Step 3: Using tongs, lift the steaks out of the fire, shaking each to dislodge any clinging embers. Using a basting brush, brush off any loose ash and arrange the steaks on a platter or plates. Let the steaks rest, loosely tented with aluminum foil, while you make the hash.
Step 4: Make the pepper pan-roast: Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet directly on the embers on the side burner of a gas grill or on the stove. When the oil is hot, add the peppers, garlic, and parsley. Cook over high heat until the peppers and garlic begin to brown, 2 minutes. Immediately pour over the steaks and serve at once.