How to Grill a Steak with a Hair Dryer
Among my friends I am known to be a little over the top. The same can be said for my father-in-law. Although we have pretty different personalities, after a couple glasses of wine we have this in common: we think we are the smartest people around. So, I have to give some credit to the vino for the idea of cooking a steak in the fireplace directly on coals.
Warning: This grilling technique is not for the faint of heart, so I would suggest wearing long sleeves and having some fire mitts ready, just in case.
Here’s how it went: We got some really nice steaks. New York Strip and Porterhouse are nice steaks, but we weren’t messing around with this meal. I got four Niman Ranch French cut bone-in-ribeye, each about 2-3 inches thick, or as some people call them Cowboy Steaks. These monsters weighed in at about two pounds each. (Some level of control was used when we decided two might be enough for four people to share.) These bad boys were salt- and peppered generously.
After cleaning out the fire box, we got some wire mesh to help hold the coals and began the process of making a big fire. My father-in-law is still a Boy Scout at heart, as proven by his perfect stacking of the logs. We preferred to use, because it was around, a combination of Oak and Beech wood.
We watched fire burn and drank wine. We waited. We drank some more wine.
By the time the logs began to break down into glowing ember, we were inspired to stoke the fire. Actually, we were just getting impatient and wanted to get some coals faster, so we could start cooking, and start eating. I used a little hand crank stoker (barely seen on the left), which was as effective as me blowing on the fire. My elder and wiser partner was not messing around and pulled out my mother-in-law’s hair dryer. Brilliant!
Now we were ready to get in touch with our inner caveman. As you can see, the steaks were placed directly on the coals. No using grates to set the steaks above, no wrapping in aluminum foil, no girly-man stuff. Just coals and meat.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IT WAS HOT! I think my eyes were fully constricted and my eyebrows were in a questionable condition as this point. More wine consumed. Of course that was a great idea as we were wielding fire like Typhoeus. At this time a not-so-little voice in my head was thinking, Maybe we should not be doing this inside a log cabin home. Oh well.
We brushed off the steaks so that we didn’t have too much carbon with our cow… Considering that they had been through every circle of hell, I thought they looked pretty great.
You can see that these turned out beautifully. The high heat seared the outside and left a really nice crust, but the inside was still a beautiful rare to medium rare. I think the total cook time was probably 8 minutes on each side, followed by a lathering in olive oil, and a rest for about 10-15 minutes.
We served our Hair dryer-cooked Cowboy Steaks with homemade cornmeal-crusted onion rings. Those are also great. Of course, we had more wine. There might have been something green we had with this meal, but it obviously was not that important.