Head to your butcher and pick up a beautiful dry aged sirloin, and then place it straight onto the coals on your BBQ…. Eh?…. What did you say??
Yes cooking straight on the coals is definitely a wonderful way of cooking, but it takes some nerves to just pop your steak straight onto the coals…most people ask…won’t it burn? Won’t it get gritty or ashy? Well the answer to these is no….the reason is a little science, and using good techniques.
Dirty Steak – The Science
A steak on a grill has a few inches of air gap…the fat from the steak drips and flares up, causing the steak to burn and develop a waxy off flavour sometimes. By placing the steak straight onto the coals, you remove the air under the steak so it doesn’t flare up, and you get a wonderful char, by using high quality lumpwood charcoal you don’t get any grit or ash, the heat sears the meat and the ash doesn’t stick to it.
You’ll need to pick up a good dry aged inch thick Ribeye or sirloin from your butcher.
A red hot firepit or BBQ grill loaded with quality lumpwood charcoal, or the embers of a hardwood log fire (silver birch is my favourite). Please don’t use instant light, briquettes or lava rocks here.
Dirty Steak – Dirty Baste
Make yourself up a batch of Dirty Baste for your dirty steak…the recipe is as follows…
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 3 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and a handful of flat leaf parsley,
- 3tbsp coarse rock salt,
- 5/6 tbsp olive oil, an anchovy and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Blitz these up in a blender to a bright green paste. Brush liberally onto the steaks as they cook.
Make a nice bed of red hot embers, give the coals a good blow to remove any surface ash, some people have been known to use hairdryers here to get the coals screaming hot.
Sear for 4 minutes and then flip, baste the seared side generously with dirty baste and cook for another 4 minutes.
This will give you a rare dirty steak, if you want to ensure the steak is cooked how you like use a digital probe thermometer. 55 Deg C for medium rare.
Allow to rest for a few minutes, before getting stuck in.