The good news is that I got a new job! After being made redundant and unemployed for six months, I’m once again being useful as a Scrum Master and agile coach to a large, multi-national organisation. It’s also meant that the blog has taken a bit of a back seat whilst I settle into the new role and get to know the teams I am and will be working with. So as a final blog post for the year, we return to one of my favourite meals, steak. And a new technique called the clean caveman for making those amazing reverse steaks ribeyes even better …
The “caveman” steak method involves placing meat directly onto hot coals. I loved the crisp, seared crust results but didn’t care for the ash. So what happens if we get the steaks very close to the coals without actually touching? This is what I tried … the clean caveman steak. And it’s now our go-to steak cooking method.
Clean Caveman Steak
|5 mins preparation
60-80 mins cooking
Clean Caveman and Reverse Sear
If you’re familiar with the reverse sear method this approach is virtually the same. What’s the difference? Searing the steak much closer to the coals. The air between the coals and the searing surface conveys the heat upwards. The smaller the gap, the less air needs to be heated to convey the energy, which in turn seems to give a better sear. I’ve experimented with this a few times … for, you know, the sake of science. 🙂
Also, credit to Mark Thomason of Smoked Fine Food for coming up with the Clean Caveman name. Genius! Check out his blog, there’s lots of good stuff on it. If you’d like to know more about the true caveman style of cooking, and why they are referred to as Eisenhower steaks, check out this Thermoworks blog post.
You’ll need a coal fueled BBQ and something that can be used to get the meat very close to the coals without touching them. To achieve this, I used a Big Green Egg, a spider from Ceramic Grill Store and a cooking grid. I’ve tried this in a Minimax and Large:
If you don’t have a CGS spider (or similar) to suspend the grid just above the coals, you could place the grid directly onto the coals. I haven’t tried this, but it’s an option.
In addition you’ll need:
- Chopping board
- Pastry brush
- Kitchen foil
- Long handled tongs
- Kitchen Thermometer
A Kitchen Thermometer (or similar item) is mandatory to get the correct internal meat temperature. It can be done with guesswork, however my view is that it’s not worth risking over-cooking a costly piece of meat. Check out my blog post on cooking to temperature for more information about this.
- 1-2 tbsp dry rub, depending on the size of the steak
- Oil – canola or extra virgin olive
- 1 two-inch thick steak, e.g. ribeye
The steak is lightly coated in a dry rub. I use a 50:50 mix of Dizzy Pig’s Cow Lick and Red Eye Express rubs, however any rub designed for steaks should do the trick. If you don’t have one, you can make one by following this method, or use a combination of salt and black and red pepper.
- Pre-heat the Big Green Egg (indirect setup) to 125°C/250°F.
- On a chopping board, lightly brush the steak with oil. Rub the steak with your selected dry rub. Add thermometer probes to the steak, place the steak into the Big Green Egg and close the dome.
- Remove the steak from the Egg when it is 10°F from desired temperature. Do this at:
- 110°F for rare
- 120°F for medium-rare
- 130°F for medium
- 150°F for well done
- Detach the thermometer probes, wrap and rest the steak in kitchen foil and a towel.
- Fully open the Egg’s daisy wheel and bottom grate. Add the cooking surface, e.g. spider and cast iron grid, close to the coals. Get the Egg’s dome temperature up to 290°C/550°F.
- Remove the steak from the kitchen foil, with great care sear it for a maximum of 30 seconds each side. Make sure to briefly sear the edges as well.
- Carve and serve. The steak doesn’t need another rest, it’s seared and good to go.
Hints, Tips and Pictures
- A thick rump steak also tastes great using this method. Some of the pictures in this blog post are of rump steak.
- This can work with the double sear of bone marrow steaks, simply get the searing surface closer to the coals using the same technique.
- Add a slice or two of butter to the steak when searing for flavour and flames.