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 :(


  1. My eyes glazed over when you said soldering iron so I think I'll stick with McCormick's LOL, but I'm with ya on the ribeyes. That's my favorite cut too and I don't mess with it much at all. The steak looks terrific and that pasta too!

  2. Ribeye is my very favorite - yours look perfectly cooked and so juicy. I always leave here drooling.

  3. Love ribeyes and I love black pepper. I've never heard of this McCormick offering, but I've already written it on the next shopping list.

  4. I must buy some of that McCormicks Pepper. Thanks for the tip. These steaks look wonderful and yay, it's grilling season.

  5. The ribeye is the best no fuss cut. I will have to try the cool smoke device for the pepper, I have smoked salts before, but never pepper. Great idea!

  6. The plated pic looks outstanding and I support your simpler-is-better seasoning approach for rib eyes.

  7. I've been using the Montreal Steak Seasoning...rib-eye is my favorite cut of beef!

  8. Show off! Yeah I'm jealous of that personalized grill plate! LOL, no really of that damn good lookin Ribeye, think I could have some? No you cook it on that fancy grill of yours!

  9. A real kick butt post... and such photos!!!

  10. Smoked pepper sounds really tasty - I'm going to try the cold smoker trick and if I can figure it out, I'll try it with other seasonings. You have the best foodie porn ... it stirs up the longing like good porn is supposed to. :)

  11. I'm pretty sure this post could turn a vegetarian into a meat-eater. Or at least a smoked steak eater. Because that. Just. Looks. Good.

  12. You are so right in your observations about rib-eye (and filet for that matter). You are also a fanatic about smoking! Of course it's your fantacism that keeps me coming back. GREG

  13. That looks wonderful! Love the special grill!

  14. Fabulous post! I love the Smokehouse pepper from McCormicks. I'm with you on keeping it simple with rib eyes.

  15. I love rib-eye!This looks so delicious! I love the pictures.I am hungry now :)

  16. Love those custom grates look awesome. I might have to pick up a few for my grill.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.