Sunday, March 28, 2010

Smoked Black Pepper Ribeyes

Let's face it, ribeye steaks grilled over wood coals don't need much help other than coarse salt and cracked pepper.

Sure beef fillets (fillet mignon) need spicy rubs and rich sauces to bring flavor to their tenderness. But ribeyes stand on their own. If you try to add too much to a ribeye, you end up taking away from it. Additions should be simple and subtle, like smoking the black pepper.

Last year McCormick came out with their Smokehouse Ground Black Pepper. It is EXCELLENT for use on steaks, burgers, and as a substitution for regular black pepper in your BBQ rubs, but I ran out and decided to make my own today.

Wait. Don't run off, thinking, "Screw it, Chris, another smoking recipe? I don't have a smoker." You can do this.

To smoke black peppercorns, all you have to do is make a $20 cold smoke generator using a common soldering iron and a tin can (click this link for my post on how to do it) and then you could do this in any container, like your gas grill. Really go check the link, this is SO easy to make. It took me about 10 minutes to make this cold smoke generator. Then you can use it to smoke your own spices, cheeses and nuts.

The simple ingredients for smoked black pepper are peppercorns and a mix of hickory & cherry wood.

Fill your cold smoke generator with wood chips and plug it in. Once it starts smoking, put your bowl or container of peppercorns into the container, close it and let it smoke for about 90 minutes. Stir the peppercorns about every 15-20 minutes.

It's called "cold smoking" because while there is plenty of smoke, the temperature is less than 80f degrees.

After taking the smoked peppercorns off of your "smoker", coarsely crush them with a rolling pin, mallet or grinder.

Store ground pepper in an airtight container.

Smoked Black Pepper Ribeyes
Source: Nibble Me This

2 ea ribeye steaks, thoroughly thawed (see hot tubbed steaks tip)
coarse smoked black pepper to taste

coarse sea salt to taste

Rub your steaks with salt and pepper while you bring your grill to high heat. I had my Big Green Egg burning natural hardwood coal at 500f. Then I tossed the tempered ribeyes onto the grill.

Grill for 2-3 minutes and then flip.

Keep grilling for another 2-3 minutes until the steak is at your desired degree of doneness.

Remove from the grill and let rest for 10 minutes.

When grilling, using coarser grinds for your seasonings makes a huge difference to me.

To grill a good steak, make sure your temps are high, your grate preheated, and cook with your grill lid closed to keep flare ups to a minimum.

But when you are cooking for only 2-3 minutes a side, flare ups really aren't a big deal and they make for pretty good food porn.

I served it up with Pasta with Peas from Ciao Tuscany! I'll post that recipe later this week.

I had plenty extra for leftovers until Brett (6'4") and his friend Colin (6'5") came home from playing basketball. I guess it's sandwiches for lunch tomorrow :(