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Bob Hart’s recipe for the perfectly grilled steak

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for Bob Hart’s recipe for the perfectly grilled steak



Every barbecue adventure should start – and possibly end – with the preparation of the perfect steak. And our Thrill of the Grill adventure this summer is no exception.

That extra something in the air this year is call smoke. It comes from a charcoal barbecue fire, and it can make all the difference.

If you have ever considered trying out solid fuel cooking, perhaps with charcoal, and then adding some wood to the mix – hickory, say, or pecan – then go for it. This, I promise you, is the year…

But if you are a confirmed gas barbecue demon, fear not: by following the rules, one dish in which you can very nearly match your charcoal-burning neighbor is the perfect steak. Either way, here’s how:

It all begins, naturally, with the steak. Do not expect to buy a mediocre steak – one labelled “perfect for the barbecue”, for example – and arrive at a deliciously moist and tender final result. It will not happen.

So start by buying – from the best butcher you can find – a thick, prime, aged steak. A rib eye, for example, or a thick scotch. Or perhaps a porterhouse or a good rump or a T-bone. But while I suggest you avoid the “cheaper” cuts for grilling, I also suggest you avoid the most expensive cut: fillet. Which is wonderfully tender, but light on flavour and, frankly, not worth the money.

Now, take your steak out of the fridge a couple of hours before you intend to cook it. Salt it generously with sea salt and place in a cool spot – ideally out of the reach of the dog – and allow it to absorb the salt and gently warm to room temperature.

From there, it’s simply a matter of lightly oiling (with EV olive oil) and seasoning (with a touch more sea salt and plenty of freshly-ground black pepper).

Fire up your gas or charcoal barbecue to a blistering 220C or so and, after ensuring your grill is clean and oiled, place your steak at 45 degrees to the grill bars and drop the lid for 2-4 mins, depending on the size of the steak, which could be anything from 400 to 700g.

Now, lift the lid, flip the steak and drop the lid for the same time time. Repeat the process, this time flipping the steak and moving it through 90 degrees and trimming 20 seconds from the cooking tims. Then, flip it again and finish the job by repeating the cooking time. Then, take it off the grill, place on a rack inside a warmed baking dish, loosely tented with foil, and allow to rest for at least half the total cooking time.

Do not assume, incidentally, that a steak is for one person: a decent rib eye (550-700g) will feed two or three if you first slice it cleanly from the bone, and then cross-ways, thickly, to share – the cook to eat the bone!

And that’s it. Practice will make perfect, and personal tastes can be accommodated by varying each segment of time. But, as a basic rule, cook the steak less than you would normally cook it, and you will be amazed how much better it tastes, how much tenderer it is, and how much moister.


Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs