We wanted to cook something on the BBQ that would showcase our new Caribbean Marabu charcoal and our new wood chunks. We took our time and really tried to do everything perfectly so as you could easily reproduce this cook at home on your own BBQ.
What to Buy
A decent dry aged rib-eye steak, cowboy steak, or a tomahawk steak. We got ours from Higgin's Butchers in Sutton. Make sure it is thick cut and full of fat!
A really high quality sea salt. We only use and we only sell Oriel Sea Salt made here in Co. Louth.
A dry rub. You can use simply salt and pepper, but for a fat juicy steak like a tomahawk we believe it can take some extra flavour and heat. Our "Steak" spice rub has 4 types of heat; pepper, mustard, chilli, and garlic.
A good quality hardwood lump charcoal, preferably "restaurant quality". We sell Marabu Charcoal which is recognised as the best in the world. We hate charcoal briquettes and we really really despise quick light bags you buy in supermarkets. The best taste you can hope for with them is lighter fluid.
Some wood chunks for extra flavour. We chose Cherry Chunks as the sweet fruity flavour compliments the fiery hot steak rub in our opinion.
Lighting the BBQ
If you have a gas BBQ you are not welcome here. Go away, be damned, never come back. But also by the time you read that last sentence your BBQ was lit.
For real outdoor cooks you will need to light the BBQ. May we strongly suggest you buy a charcoal chimney from Weber or occasionally Aldi/Lidl. Simply place the charcoal in the chimney and place natural BBQ firelighters or newspaper in the bottom. Light the paper and wait about 15 - 20 minutes. Your charcoal will be glowing.
Place your wood chunks on the fire grate of the BBQ and then pour the burning charcoal over them. Our advice is to not wet the chunks as it just creates steam and takes away your control over the heat. Keep your chunks and coal to one side of the grate. This creates a direct heat zone (over the coals) and an indirect heat zone. For most BBQ cooking we cook using indirect heat, but for this steak we will use both.
Put on the lid, and adjust the vents (bottom wide open, top maybe 50%) until the BBQ settles into a nice even temperature. Steak is forgiving so anywhere from 180c to 240c will work.
Grilling the Steak
When you have a steady temp place your steak on the grill as far away from the coals as possible. You may have some white smoke from the wood chunks at this stage. White smoke is not ideal - it can be a bit bitter, you want clear or blue smoke. On a thick steak I like a little bite from the wood smoke, so I would start grilling now, but if you wait another few minutes or if you open the vents a little more the white smoke will clear.
Cook the steak until it is about 10c short of the temperature you want to bring it to. If you don't have a probe then prod it with your fingers and hope for the best!
A rare steak when fully cooked is around 50c, medium rare is 55c, medium 65c, well done 70c or more. We always aim for 58c which is medium rare. But remember you need to act a little early so we start the next step when the steak is at 48c - 10c shy of our final temp.
Just a side note on rare steaks. We believe a good quality well aged grass fed steak with lots of fat/marbling can taste beautiful when cooked to "well-done". If you like your steak well done then have it like that. A tomahawk or a rib eye is particularly well suited to a longer cook.
Take the lid off the grill and wait a minute for the charcoal to become red hot - with no lid the air is now circulating and causing it to burn very hot. Now move the steaks over the hot charcoal and sear and sizzle them to your liking on all sides. This is called a reverse sear as you seared the steaks after cooking them.
Whip the steaks off the BBQ and rest for at least 10 minutes. We cover them in tin foil and a towel to keep them warm. The steak will continue to rise in temp by as much as 10c (see why we pulled it off the heat early!) and will become very tender and juicy.
Chefs are obsessed with cutting steak for presentation. We are not chefs, we are BBQ cooks. Respect your steak and serve it in one piece with lots of sides and loads of love.