June 27, 2024

Perfect Fire-grilled Ribeye Steak

Recipe: Chris Nuttal-Smith

“The high heat chars and sizzles the outside of the steak, creating an unbelievable crust, and resting the meat lets the inside catch up and cook perfectly.” – Chris Nuttal-Smith


At Home

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper

At Camp

  • 2 1/2 lbs. bone-in ribeye steak (a.k.a. cowboy steak; see notes), cut 2 1/2″ thick
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Prepared Worcestershire butter (thawed)
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt


Yield: Serves 4

At Home: Make Worcestershire Butter

  1. In small bowl, combine butter, Worcestershire sauce and thyme, and mix with fork until thoroughly incorporated.Season with 15 to 20 good cranks of pepper.
  2. Transfer mixture onto piece of parchment paper, wax paper or plastic wrap; roll into short, tidy cylinder and refrigerate or freeze. Butter will keep for 1 month, frozen.

At Camp: Season Steak

  1. About 2 hours before you want to eat, unwrap steak, pat dry with paper towels and season with kosher salt, sprinkling from above and turning so every bit of surface (top, bottom and sides) is heavily coated. Using hands, press salt into meat. Yes, that is a lot of salt, but no, your steak will not be oversalted. I promise. Let seasoned steak rest at air temperature. Steak keeps for 3 days after thawing, kept cold.

At Camp: Make Fire

  1. Prepare two-zone fire, with one side very hot and other indirect. You’ll need a lot of coals to do this right, plus a few burning logs off to the side to replenish the coal supply as required.
  2. Place grill 3″ or 4″ above coal bed. Clean grate, and brush or wipe with vegetable oil.

At Camp: Grill, Rest, Flip, Repeat

  1. Place steak on hottest part of grill and sear for 3 minutes per side, so it’s nicely coloured.
  2. Flip steak onto indirect heat so rib bone is closest to high-heat coals but not over them. Rest steak over indirect heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Repeat sear-rest routine, sliding steak to direct heat to sear and colour on one side for 3 minutes, then flipping to indirect heat for 5 minutes more. Steak will take between 30 and 40 minutes of sear-rest grilling for medium-rare doneness, and slightly longer for medium.

At Camp: Remove From Heat and Rest

  1. Once steak reaches 125°F in centre (for medium-rare) or 130°F (for medium), transfer to clean, warm plate and gently rub meat all over with half of Worcestershire butter.
  2. Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes; internal temperature will rise another 10°F.
  3. Add a few small pieces of wood to fire to raise to maximum temperature for final sear.

At Camp: Sear Again, Slice, And Serve

  1. Return steak to hottest part of grill and sear for 45 seconds per side to get sizzling again. Remove steak from heat and rub all over with remaining compound butter.
  2. Cut away bone and place at centre of serving plate, then slice meat and arrange slices around bone. Season with flaky salt. Serve steak immediately with creamed spinach and baked potatoes.

Notes: If your butcher sells dry-aged steak, I highly recommend it. The flavour’s deeper, richer and more concentrated steaky, and aging makes the meat more tender, too. It’ll be pricey, yes, but nothing compared to what you’d pay at a steakhouse.

Provided you’re cooking over glowing coals or embers, flare-ups are nothing to be alarmed about, especially at the start of grilling. If you’re getting them persistently after 15 minutes or so, adjust your fire or reposition your grill to limit them; short and infrequent flare-ups are good, but constant flareups are not.

If it’s very cold or windy, tent the steak with aluminum foil to retain a bit of heat as it rests on the grill and after cooking.


Maya Visnyei


Recipes from Cook It Wild by Chris Nuttall-Smith. ©2023 Chris Nuttall-Smith. Photography by Maya Visnyei and illustrations by Claire McCracken. Published by Penguin, an imprint of Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved