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Recipe: Ultimate Charcoal-Grilled Steaks

Photo courtesy of Cook's Illustrated
Photo courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

You're probably already a pro at the grill, but this technique from Cook's Illustrated is worth a go. Browning steaks over a charcoal chimney may be a bit fiddly at first (to prepare, remove the fat caps and then skewer the meat), but the perfect crust and charcoal flavor you'll get on the meat will be worth it!

Ultimate Charcoal-Grilled Steaks
Serves 4

2 (1-pound) boneless strip steaks, 1 3/4 inches thick, fat caps removed
Kosher salt and pepper

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Cut each steak in half crosswise to create four 8-ounce steaks. Cut 1/16-inch-deep slits on both sides of steaks, spaced 1/4 inch apart, in crosshatch pattern. Sprinkle both sides of each steak with 1/2 teaspoon salt (2 teaspoons total). Lay steak halves with tapered ends flat on counter and pass two 12-inch metal skewers, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart, horizontally through steaks, making sure to keep 1/4-inch space between steak halves. Repeat skewering with remaining steak halves.

Place skewered steaks on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet, transfer to oven, and cook until centers of steaks register 120 degrees, flipping steaks over halfway through cooking and removing them as they come to temperature, 1 1/2 hours to 1 hour 50 minutes. Tent skewered steaks (still on rack) with aluminum foil.

Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are completely covered in ash, uncover steaks (reserving foil) and pat dry with paper towels. Using tongs, place 1 set of steaks directly over chimney so skewers rest on rim of chimney (meat will be suspended over coals). Cook until both sides are well browned and charred, about 1 minute per side. Using tongs, return first set of steaks to wire rack in sheet, season with pepper, and tent with reserved foil. Repeat with second set of skewered steaks. Remove skewers from steaks and serve.

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