Well boys and girls, this is it. Of all the things that I cook on a regular basis and all the things that I post here on this website, a big ribeye steak cooked over the hot wood coals is the pinnacle, the top, the best, nothing else even comes close. It is our tradition here at our house to kick back on Saturday night and listen to Country Gold on WNGC 106.1, North Georgia Country Radio, as they play all the classic country hits and we sizzle steaks over the wood fire. There are few things in life that can compare, not only to the taste of the steaks, but to the memories I have made with my wife and kids over probably 12 years of doing this. You could count on one hand the number of Saturday nights that we have not done this. It is my favorite night of the week!
Heres what you’ll need:
Fresh thick ribeye steaks, or NY strip, or filet, or t-bone
Montreal steak seasoning, or seasoning of your choice
Mesquite, hickory or oak chunks
I like a big thick steak, the thicker the better. Select the best cut you can afford or are willing to spend. The method that I am laying out here would be the same for any cut of steak that I cook, be it New York strip or filet. Choose a steak with a nice marble, but not too fatty.Take the steaks out of the fridge and let them set at room temperature for an hour or two before you plan to cook. When you are ready to start your grill, lightly coat each side of the steak with olive oil and season with Montreal Steak seasoning.
I always cook my steaks over wood coals. I alternate between cooking them on my Weber Kettle and in the firebox of my offset smoker. Sometimes if I’m really feeling frisky, I’ll build a big fire with red oak and/or white oak in the fire box and let it burn down to coals, but most of the time I use lump charcoal and some wood chunks. You want to build a searing hot fire, 500 degrees or so. In my Weber Kettle, this would be a full chimney of charcoal, plus about another full chimney unlit in the grill. Bank it on one side and cook your baked potatoes on the cool side while the fire is getting cranked up (refer to this thread http://www.oldwoodfiregrill.com/?page_id=505). Once the fire is burning good, throw on a chunk or two of your favorite wood. I prefer hickory, oak, pecan or mesquite, with mesquite being my favorite. When the flames have died down and the coals are glowing bright, lightly brush the cooking grate with olive oil, careful not to let the oil drip onto the coals and flame up. Place the steaks on the freshly oiled grate at a 45 degree angle, so as to get nice grill marks. Close the lid and let the steak sear for 1 minute, then turn 90 degrees on the same side and repeat. You will be catching the fire at its hottest point and will get the best grill marks that way, and this is the side that you want to place upward on the plate when you serve the steaks. I like to use a cast iron grate to obtain the best marks. I have an old cast iron grate that came out of an old gas grill that I modified to fit my Weber, but you can buy a small one from grill supply stores. I emphasize the grill marks on food because I believe that you eat with your eyes first-if it looks good, it will put you in the mindset that it will be good. Few things look better to me than a thick steak, gill marked and ready for my fork and knife!
Turn the steaks over and repeat the process, cooking for 1-2 minutes per side, depending on the level of doneness that you like. I prefer medium rare, so I only cook my steaks for 4 minutes total. When they are done, place them in a plastic tupperware container or casserole dish and cover with a towel. Let them rest for 10 minutes, as they will juice up during this period. Place them on a plate, and don’t forget to pour the juices from the dish over them! Serve them up with a grilled baked potato, sauteed mushrooms and grilled Texas toast.