August 25, 2020

August Recipe of the Month: The perfect summer steak


It is grilling season! This recipe is for people who love steak, who love to grill, and want to splurge on something truly special. And once you’ve grilled this special treat, make sure the wine and sides are equally indulgent! The perfect summer steak recipe has very few ingredients - it’s really about letting the beef shine. It also has very few steps - just rub, grill, rest, serve. Nonetheless, this recipe requires practice, attention, and finesse. Please read all the extra notes as they serve to clarify the goal and how to reach it.


Dry-aged (42-63 days is a typical crowd favorite) Prime or Wagyu Ribeye Steaks, min 20 oz* Fresh minced garlic Chocolate, Chili, Cayenne, and Cardamom dry rub** Extra virgin olive oil Large flake sea salt  


Approximately 8-12 hours prior to service, rub all sides of the steak with a healthy amount of minced garlic. Loosely cover and keep in the cooler until ready for firing and service.

When the service time approaches, lightly pat the beef dry with a paper towel. Rub all sides of the steak with a healthy amount of the dry rub.

Cook the steaks to your desired temperature***. Allow to rest. Carve into slices. Lightly top with extra virgin olive oil and flake sea salt. Serve and enjoy!  

*Notes on the steak selection. Dry-aged is best. However, if you cannot acquire dry-aged steaks, this recipe can be done with wet-aged beef. In which case, I recommend dry brining the steaks as an advance step.

Simply pack the steaks well with extra coarse salt on all sides and leave uncovered in the cooler. After 2-3 hours, return, drain, rinse well, pat dry, and continue with the recipe. This will remove some of the excess water from the steak, enriching the beef flavor and preparing it for a better sear and more even cook.

**Notes on the dry rub. This dry rub is equal parts brown sugar and dark cocoa powder, with cardamom, cayenne, and fresh ground black pepper as desired. Note there is deliberately no salt. You can use any steak rub you prefer, but look for one with very little or no salt. 


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container for up to 6 months. When ready to use, prep your steak (read here on our tips for preparing steak) apply to steak and grill. You can also see more tips on grilling from our grill master Ryan Crafts here. In general, I avoid introducing salt to the dry-aged steak until a finishing salt is used immediately prior to service. This will maintain an ideal texture, allow the rich dry-aged beef flavors to take center stage, and unique salts can also be selected for a precise pairing. For the perfect summer steak remember, when using salt as a finishing accouterment, you’re not looking for salty meat. Rather, you want seemingly competing peaks and valleys in the waves of the beef and salt flavor.

***Notes on cooking the tomahawks. The steak can be wonderfully cooked using various methods and techniques. Most important for a successful outcome worthy of this deserving cut, is to start with a clear understanding of the goal and the challenges this cut poses to the goal.

When grilling large steaks, I always completely separate the processes of searing and cooking. I treat these individually as very distinct elements. When searing, you want a very very high heat (practically as high as you can achieve), preferably from a nice hardwood fire. The goal is to create a wonderfully browned crust as quickly and directly as possible so as not to overcook the inside of the steak. When cooking, you want a nice low heat to gently cook while you slowly approach the target temperature.

The order of the searing and cooking can be interchanged. Sometimes we will cook the steak sous vide first, then sear them on an extremely high temp grill. Sometimes we will sear the raw steaks over a roaring fire, and then move them to a low temp zone to finish. Sometimes we’ll start with the steaks on the highest grate over our Santa Maria grill, and once their nicely warmed, drop them straight into the hot coals for a reverse sear (guests love to see searing right in the coals, btw!).

Again, the method and the order of the steps can be manipulated. Most important is to sear and cook separately, so you end up with a very rich sear and crust while still being a medium-rare-plus edge to edge.   Savor and enjoy these last days of summer with the perfect summer steak! Eat well

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