Saturday Night Special, Charcoal Roasting a Chile Crusted T-Bone

Last night I put together one of my favourite charcoal grill recipes. Chile crusted steak. This time, it was a good looking Alberta beef T-Bone. Every now and then a sweet deal on value pack t-bones appears at my local meat counter and I admit that I jump all over ’em. This time I pretty much hip checked my fellow grocery shopper to get my hands on this pair of matching steaks. Sorry lady. You snooze, you loose.

Usually steaks are easy cooking. Season, grill and serve. That alone can make a fine meal but my inner chef pushes me to find ways of making something good into something even better. So, what more could be done to bring out the best attributes of some of  the world’s finest beef.

The sweetness of the meat, the tenderness of grain-fed marbling, the gamey tang of chard meat that comes from charbroil cookery all result in a warmth and charm that is unique to the beef steak character of steak, can become so much more with the support of a few quality ingredients. So, the tricky and time consuming parts of making this work are:

This is what I recommend you do. Find good dried chiles. Look for fresh shiny, and aromatic chilies. If you have a local mexican grocery store, go there for help. Once you’ve got your hands on good chillies, get your steak out of the fridge,  start building your fire or get your gas grill heating slowly. Soak your chilies in a little warm water for a minimum of 10 minutes but not more than an hour. You can speed things up here by using boiling water. Next, with a sharp knife, remove the stem end and split the chile lengthwise. Remove the seeds and membrane that seeds are attached. This is a nice touch to reduce the spicy heat and sour flavour that the seeds can impart. Once you’ve got your peppers cleaned up, pull out the fresh garlic, herbs and spices you like to season your steak with. Some of my personnal favourites are Kosher salt, olive oil, thyme, marjoram, cumin and of course a few cranks of fresh ground black pepper.

Work that Knife. Chile garlic, herbs, spices and olive oil.

Work that Knife. Garlic, herbs, spices and olive oil.

Now, marry the flavours while getting to know your favourite chef’s knife a little better. Chop, slice and cut the whole mixture together. Depending on your comfort and speed with your knife this could take anywhere from between 5-45 minutes, the finer you can get your mix, the more delicious an impact it will have on your beef. When you think you can’t stand it anymore, chop at it just a little longer and take a break. Sip some wine or crack beer and check on your fire. Are we getting close to grill time?

Yes? Alright, season your steak with some good Kosher salt, be sure to get some on the fat and on the bone if you’ve got one. It will help with the self basting properties of a nicely cut steak and also guarantee that the first bites will be delicious. Rub some oil on it. Now, spread you chile paste all over. Gently work it into the pockets and folds near fat and bone. Work it into the fat too, especially around the outside, these will be you first bites.

Next , check the fire again. If you’ve got your charcoal running really hot, wait for a few minutes until it starts to glow red then stir you lumps around. If you are grilling with gas, make sure your grill is hot. Now, gently lay your steak down. The crust will stay on better if you take care not to slap the steak around on the grill. I like mine cooked over medium-high fire for about 4-5 minutes a side. Depending on outdoor temperatures and wind conditions on my 6th floor balcony, I usually get it somewhere between medium rare-medium, which is the way DK likes it.

Looking good fresh from the charcoal grill. A little resting time is always welcome.

Looking good fresh from the charcoal grill. A little resting is always welcome.


Table is set. Dished up and ready for wine. Makes friends easily with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

Table is set. Dished up and ready for wine. Makes friends easily with Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec.

I like serving it carved over buttered rice with roasted poblano peppers. Tortillas, guacamole and fresh cut salsa would also make a nice compliment to this fragrant, smoky, beef steak. Try this method with other cuts of meat and chicken too.