Things have been pretty crazy around our place lately. We’re in the middle of a house move and it officially sucks! I’ve not had much opportunity to write, or cook either for that matter, so I thought I’d share a very quick technique with you for when time is short. For the seasoned grillers amongst you this will be nothing new. But if you’re new to BBQ you need to know this.
This is THE best way to cook steak that is 1.25 inches in thickness or less. It’s known in BBQ circles as ‘dirty’ style, and involves cooking directly on lumpwood charcoal. No it’s not a fad. Once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back I promise you. And steak isn’t the only food that benefits from this kind of cooking. Portobello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, whole onions, squash and leeks for example are all incredible cooked directly on charcoal.
First of all you’ll need natural lumpwood charcoal. Anything with ‘fast lighting’ or ‘easy light’ written on the bag should be avoided like the plague. It’s impregnated with petroleum based accelerant and is just plain nasty. For 1 or 2 steaks, light a good few handfuls of charcoal and leave until completely ashed over. You can either do this using a chimney starter or just pile the charcoal in the base of your BBQ.
Your steaks will be going on the BBQ naked. No oil or seasoning, that will come later.
Once your charcoal is completely ashed over and glowing hot, blow some of the ash from the surface of the coals (hairdryers are known to have been used for this, but I usually just waft them with a piece of cardboard or whatever I have to hand).
Now lay your steaks directly onto the coals and cook to your liking. I find that a steak around 1 inch thick cooked for 2 minutes a side and then rested for 5 minutes will be medium to medium rare, which is how we like to eat them.
Once rested, I like to brush the steaks with melted butter that’s had a little smoked garlic purée mixed in. Season with salt, pepper and serve with a chimichurri sauce.
Chimichurri is a perfect sauce for steak that’s really easy to make. Simply finely chop 1 garlic clove, half a large red chilli and a small bunch each of parsley and coriander. You could use a food processor, but I like a bit of texture to the sauce. Next place all the chopped ingredients in a bowl and whisk in 3 tbsp of red wine vinegar and 2 tbsp of olive oil. A flavour explosion to accompany any meat.
Give it a go dirty style!