Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Barbarian Beef – Our Oldest Recipe Yet

Ever since I saw Alton Brown grilling skirt steak on hot coals, I’ve wanted to try this technique for a larger hunk of meat, but it was the realization that no one had yet called a recipe “barbarian beef,” that provided the final push. 

By the way, I did no historical research, but I assume your average barbarian was too busy pillaging to lug a grill around, and just cooked their meat right on the coals. So, for the purposes of this post, that's the story we'll be going with.

I used top round for this, and if you’re just going to slice it thin, and make sandwiches it’s fine, but now that I have a little experience, I’d like to try it with a tenderer cut. No matter what you use, you’ll want to take it off a few degrees under whatever your regular internal temp target is, since it definitely continues to cook after you take it off the coals.

It’ll depend on the size/shape of your cut, but use a thermometer to check, as the temp will probably climb by at least 10 degrees. Above and beyond doneness, the flavor of the beef really was great. Very similar to something off a grill, but with a little bit deeper level of smokiness. Even if you don’t cook your steak on the coals, the sauce was quite nice, and comes highly recommended, but officially, I really do hope you give both a try soon. Enjoy!

For the Sauce:
4 cloves garlic
1 Fresno chili pepper, or other fresh hot pepper
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil


rashep142 said...

Another inspiring and hilarious video. Thanks, Chef John.

JCinDE said...

Ever had beignets in New Orleans? Making those at home is a food wish!

KBO said...

G'day Chef John,
Courageous effort at 'historical cooking'!
Your method, which I'm sure existed at some point in history, is old indeed. It pre-dates Roman records of soldiers, on the move, between sacking, pillaging and slaughtering, using their armour back plate or front plate as an improvised grill surface and, as they did, using their helmets as 'buckets' or 'billys' to boil water or make stews. Of course the Romans, and their opponents of the same periods would use their armour, if metal, and as domestication of cattle was still in it's infancy, these thrill seeking individuals would cook any animal that had any kind of meat. This makes your choice of meat distinctly high class, historically speaking.
So I'm impressed by your 'inner-barbarian'; but I'd be careful with any unsolicited package from any company that makes grills... if your method catches on you could single-handedly put the BBQ business out of business! Another great video, John. Cheers, Bill Halliwell Hobart TAS

Don said...

London Broil is the cut to go with when using hot coals. If you want to try doing something like a Rib-eye try finding a large flat river rock. They are nice and smooth and are like cooking on dry cast iron. I used granite because that is common in MA and can found by walking in the woods and looking at the ground. Just lay the rock on or slightly above the coals by propping smaller rocks under it. Bonus: soak unpeeled corn that has been fully immersed in water for a few minutes and throw them right on the coals about 5 minutes before the steak is done. Turn them a few times as they cook. Use a smooth river rock and not a flat field stone! Though both will work, the juices from the meat can seep into the hot rock and cause miniature flakes to break off and adhere to the meat. River rocks are smooth and crack-free otherwise they wouldn't survive freezing in the winter and would crack.

Doc Railgun said...

Do you remember Alton cooking potatoes and meat on a hot engine?"

Unknown said...

I see something that needs sauce, but know nothing else.

Tim Lantz said...

This looks fantastic and I will be trying it soon. I glanced through your list of videos but could find nothing for cast iron dutch oven camp cooking over coals. If you have done any of that, I'd be interested in your approach.

Unknown said...

Back in the early 1990s James Beard awarded Chefs George Germon and wife Johanne Killen owners of Al For no Restaurant in Providence, RI accidentally discovered this cooking method in the restaurant where everything on the menu is cooked over hot natural char-wood charcoal.
ON the menu it is called "Dirty Steak" George hand cuts a 3lb well-aged, well marbled beef rib-eye roast into 1.25 inch boneless steaks cooking directly on the coals 4 min per side and letting them rest for 8 to 10 min to finish cooking. Chef Germon demostrated this recipe on TV with Julia Child in her TV series "In Julia's Kitchen with Master Chefs" and printed in accompanying cook book.