Dry-brining gives you the best of both worlds: tenderness and flavor. With these fillets, I give you two options for sauce: anchovy cream. This may seem strange—until you pause to think that anchovies are found in two venerable steak sauces: A1 and Worcestershire.
Step 1: Arrange the steaks in a baking dish. Generously salt each on both sides: you’ll need about 1/2 teaspoon salt per steak. (Tip: Sprinkle the salt from a height of 6 inches for even distribution.) Dry-brine the steaks in the refrigerator for 1 hour, turning them once.
Step 2: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium-high. Brush and oil the grill grate.
Step 3: Dip each steak in cracked black pepper to crust the top and bottom. Arrange the steaks on the grill grate. Grill for 1-1/2 minutes, then give each steak a quarter turn to lay on a crosshatch of grill marks. When the bottom is sizzling and browned (and you may see beads of blood start to form on the top), turn the steaks and grill the other side the same way. Grill the steaks on the sides, too, to expose all surfaces to the heat.
Step 4: You’ll need about 3 minutes per side for rare (120 to 125 degrees); 4 minutes per side for medium-rare (130 to 135 degrees); 5 minutes per side for medium (140 to 145 degrees). Use an instant-read thermometer inserted through the side of the steak to check for doneness. Alternatively, use the poke test.
Step 5: Transfer the rib-eyes to a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet to rest for 2 minutes before serving. (The wire rack keeps the bottoms from getting soggy.)
Step 6: Pool the Anchovy Cream on the bottom of a platter or plates. Set the steaks on top, sprinkle with minced chives, if desired, and serve.
Variation: The Slow ‘N’ Sear as seen on Project Fire is an insert for 22 inch kettle grills sold by the Adrenaline Barbecue Company. Like charcoal baskets, it holds a load of charcoal, but encourages an efficient burn with its contoured walls. (It also includes a built-in water reservoir.)
When you are ready to cook, add a chimney full of charcoal to the Slow ‘N’ Sear. Replace the grill grate, and immediately—before the grate heats up—arrange the steaks on the grate. Allow them to sear for a total of 4 minutes, turning the steaks with tongs after each minute and rotating the grate 180 degrees with each turn so the steak is alternately over the hot side of the grill, then the cool side. (There will be flames; there should be.) Use a meat thermometer inserted through the side of the steaks to gauge their temperature. If they are not yet done to your liking after 4 minutes of this treatment (you’re looking for 125 to 130 for rare), park the steaks over the unlit part of the grill. Leave the grill lid ajar, with the crack on the lit side of the fire. (This will create some convective action and allow your steaks to cook gently.) Serve with the Anchovy Cream.
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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2018 Barbacoa, Inc.