A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to learn from two amazing chefs from Portland, Greg and Gabey Denton of Ox Restaurant and authors of Around the Fire. From pointers on how to make your own ricotta cheese to making sure your guests go for that extra bite of desert (hint: add some salt!), one of the more impressive tutorials was simply on how to grill a perfect steak.
While it doesn’t necessarily sound hard, the main takeaway to grilling a steak is that you need to use your heat resourcefully. By that, you need to make sure that you have a two-zone fire (which is both a very hot side and cool side) which can be accomplished with either a gas or charcoal grill, to give some range while cooking. Think about it – that crust you get on a restaurant quality steak is the result of incredibly high heat (think 400-500 degrees) that IS NOT CONSTANTLY FLIPPED DURING COOKING to ensure a good, firm sear that in turn, cooks a steak evenly and consistently throughout. So high heat to get that great sear on both sides, and finish on low heat to bring the meat up to your desired temperature. Also, don’t forget to salt and pepper the steak well before it goes on the grill. You want a nice, thick coating – it’s essential for flavor.
Now, what cut should you choose? Personally, we veer more towards ribeye and strip, maybe a porterhouse (we usually buy one big steak and split it between us, which is more than enough). If you want something cheaper and different, we really love flank or strip steak. Nothing against tenderloin, but it just doesn’t have a great meat-to-fat ratio that a ribeye or a strip has, which really makes a difference. We grilled a dry-aged ribeye in the photo below, and it was mind-blowing, but admittedly dry-aged meat isn’t for everyone.
Finally, while a steak is often perfect by itself, there is a condiment we highly recommend during the summer – chimichurri. Chimichurri is a condiment used in Argentina, which I think is fair to compare to a salsa. It is a combination of garlic, parsley, oregano, olive oil and vinegar. The recipe below is inspired by Francis Mallmann. I’ve made a few minor tweaks with the ratio of fresh herbs (fresh oregano goes a long way) but I abide by his mantra of keeping it simple. We are sure this will be your new favorite summer condiment for steaks, grilled chicken, you name it.
For the Chimichurri
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of kosher salt
- 1/2 cup of fresh oregano leaves
- 1 cup of fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 6 cloves of garlic
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- Put the water and salt together in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 2 minutes, or until the salt is fully dissolved. Set aside until it is cool at room temperature.
- Put the remaining items in a food processor or blender, and chop depending on how you like it. If you prefer a coarser sauce, chop up the garlic, red pepper, and herbs and then mix in the olive oil, vinegar, and water with a whisk. If you want a finer sauce, pulse in the food processor or blender until there is a very thin – be sure to add the vinegar and water first before the oil.
- Store at least for a day in the fridge before serving. When serving, bring to room temperature. The sauce is good for about 2 weeks.
For the Ribeye
- 1 1.5-2lb ribeye steak, preferably bone-in
- Kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat a grill to 500 degrees.
- 30 minutes or so before putting the steak on the grill, take the steak out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature, and season very generously with salt and pepper. You want the steak to look like this.
- Cook the steak on the grill for about 8-9 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for an additional 8-9 minutes. This should give you a medium-rare steak, depending on how hot the grill gets. If you want the steak to be medium, cook for an additional 2 minutes per side, and so forth depending on your preferences.
- Let the steak rest on a platter, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Carve the steak and serve with Chimichurri, a simple salad, and red wine.
*Please note that some of the links on this post are affiliate links, and we will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.