Caveman Porterhouse, by a curious skeptic

Wait, Bon Appetit wants me to throw $40 worth of steaks on there? As in, directly on the coals themselves? Um, oookay…

Great, they’re going to be blackened beyond recognition, scorched into oblivion. Too late now, seven minutes to disgrace, ruin.

Oh. Oh my. Those are some damned good-looking steaks. Perfectly caramelized, glistening and man, they smell good. The inside can’t be ruined in seven minutes, right?

Um, no. No they can’t. Absolutely perfect, knee-weakening. Tender, juicy and with a nice wood-fired crunch around the edges (and the sea salt I rained on the finished product). I didn’t make the poblano stir-fry this time, so a little color was in order. Cue basil, dinner, yum.

Seriously, make this.


  • In the final pic it’s filet on the right, strip on the left. Both were fantastic, offering their own textures and flavors. For once, however, I think I actually preferred filet. By a hair.
  • I got my porterhouses from Weber Meats in Jefferson City and an actual, honest-to-goodness old school butcher shop. Whatever you get in town, whether it be from grocery store or farmers market (special request only, in most cases) will likely work as well. But Roger Weber has sold me the two best steaks I’ve ever cooked at home (the one above and this one). That’s not an accident.
  • More information on porterhouses/T-bone steaks here.
  • Full recipe after the jump.


  • Hardwood lump charcoal (not briquettes)
  • 4 1 1/4-inch-thick porterhouse steaks or New York strip steaks (each about 16 ounces)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Coarsely cracked whole black peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 fresh poblano chiles, seeded, cut into 2×1/4-inch strips
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced

Special Equipment

  • 12-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet
  • Kettle-style charcoal grill
  • Natural-bristle pastry brush
  • Ingredient Info

    Fresh poblano chiles (often called pasillas) are available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.
  • Test-Kitchen Tip

    Hardwood lump charcoal is made from pure wood (with no additives or fillers). As the name suggests, this type of charcoal comes in irregularly shaped lumps, unlike the uniformly shaped charcoal briquettes. Look for hardwood lump charcoal at natural foods stores, grill shops, and online at sites such as and


  • Prepare barbecue (high heat) using hardwood lump charcoal. When charcoal is orange, spread out in even layer on lower grill rack. Use newspaper to fan excess ash from coals. Sprinkle steaks generously with coarse sea salt and cracked peppercorns. Arrange steaks in single layer directly atop hot embers and grill until cooked to desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Using long tongs, transfer steaks to plate. Using natural-bristle brush, remove any embers and loose ash from steaks. Tent steaks with foil and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Add oil to 12-inch-diameter cast-iron skillet. Place skillet directly atop embers in grill. When oil begins to smoke, add chiles and all remaining ingredients to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; sauté until vegetables begin to brown, 2 to 5 minutes, depending on heat remaining from embers. Using oven mitts as aid, carefully lift skillet from barbecue. Season pan-fry with salt and pepper. Pour over steaks and serve.

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Author: Scott

I am a married father of two. I graduated from Rock Bridge High School and then Mizzou before spending six years in the Washington, D.C. area. We returned to Columbia, Missouri in 2006.

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