How To Grill

Our textbook
Season 1

Show 110: Where's the Beef

The ballots are tallied and the winner is ... beef. This session of BBQ U showcases one of our favorite meats for smoking and grilling and Steven takes you on the world tour of beef on the grill. From England to Nicaragua, from Texas to France, beef positively triumphs in the presence of fire and wood smoke.

Today's menu:

  • Churrasco with chimichurri
  • Rib eye steak with wine merchant sauce
  • Prime rib with Yorkshire pudding
  • Texas smoked brisket

Beef on the grill is one of the world's great barbecue pleasures. But different cuts require different strategies to show them off at their best. Here are some of the players and how best to cook them.

Cut of beef


Cooking temperature

Cooking time


Prime rib (4 rib roast—9 to 11 pounds)

Indirect grilling


About 2-1/2 hours

Garlic, rosemary, herbs

Brisket (center cut section—about 6 pounds

Indirect grilling/ smoking

Medium low to low

5 to 7 hours

Barbecue rub; vinegar or beer mop sauce

Beef ribs (2 racks (2-1/2 to 3 pounds)

Indirect grilling/ smoking

Medium-low to low

1-1/2 to 2 hours

Barbecue rub; vinegar mop; sweet barbecue sauce

Whole beef tenderloin

Direct grilling


30 minutes

Fresh herbs, garlic, salt and pepper; béarnaise sauce or bearnaise mayonnaise

Clod (beef shoulder—about 15 pounds)

Indirect grilling/ smoking

Medium-low to low

7 to 8 hours

Salt and pepper or barbecue rub

Rib steak (1-1/2 to 2 pounds)

Direct grilling

2 zone (high and medium)

10 to 12 minutes per side (sear over the hot zone; cook over medium zone)

Salt, pepper, garlic, herbes de province; red wine sauce; béarnaise sauce

Churrasco (thin, lengthwise steaks—1-1/2 pounds)

Direct grilling


2 to 4 minutes per side

Chimichurri (Latino garlic parsley vinegar sauce)


For the best results, build a fire with oak or mesquite chunks and grill over a wood fire.

Method: direct grilling
Serves 2 to 3

  • 1 rib steak (cote de boeuf)-with rib in (1-1/2 to 2 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons dried rosemary (crumble it between your fingers)
  • coarse sea salt
  • cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flatleaf parsley
  • Zinfandel Shiitake Sauce (see below)
You'll also need: wood chunks (preferably oak) for building your fire or 2 cups unsoaked wood chips

1. Lightly brush the steak on both sides with oil. Thickly crust each side with garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Let marinate while you light your grill.

2. Set up your grill for direct grilling and build a 3 zone fire. Ideally you'll build your fire with wood chunks. If this is not possible, build a charcoal fire and toss the wood chips on the coals when the steak goes on. If using a gas grill, place wood chips in the smoker box or smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke.

3. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the steak on the grill over the hot part of the fire. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes to sear the bottom. Move the steak to the moderate heat zone, giving it a quarter turn to lay on a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Continue grilling until the bottom is darkly browned and beads of blood begin to appear on top, 6 to 8 minutes.

4. Invert the steak and return it to the hot zone. Sear the other side the same way, then move the steak to the moderate zone, again giving it a quarter turn. Continue grilling the steak until cooked to taste, 8 to 11 minutes per side for medium-rare, depending on the thickness of the steak

5. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 3 minutes. Cut off the bone and set it aside. (If it's too rare, put it back on the grill to crisp it.) Thinly slice the steak slightly on the diagonal. Serve it fanned out on plates with the Zinfandel Mushroom Sauce spooned over it. Sprinkle with parsley and serve at once.


Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 to 3 shallots, minced (about 3/4 cup)
  • 8 ounces shiitake or other mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean with a damp towel, and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups zinfandel or other full-bodied dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon red wine (optional)
  • coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat until soft but not brown, stirring often, 3 minutes. Add the sliced shiitakes and cook until browned and most of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Briskly simmer the wine until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the stock and briskly simmer until the mixture is reduced by half again, about 5 minutes. If you start with very good stock, the mixture may be thick enough to serve as a sauce without the cornstarch. If not, stir the cornstarch-wine mixture to re-dissolve the cornstarch, then whisk it into the sauce. Boil for 1 minute: the sauce should thicken slightly. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste: the sauce should be highly seasoned.


method: indirect grilling
advanced preparation: 30 minutes for chilling the batter

For the most authentic flavor, use meat drippings--however nutritionally incorrect they may be. A vegetarian could use olive oil or melted butter.

Serves 8

  • 6 large eggs
  • 2-1/4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached white flour
  • 1/4 cup prime rib drippings]
1. Prepare the batter. In a large mixing bowl or the blender combine the eggs, milk, and salt. Whisk or blend to mix. Whisk in the flour and 2 tablespoons melted prime rib drippings. Chill the mixture in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

2. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to high. Heat 2 tablespoons prime rib drippings to smoking in the drip pan or a roasting pan. (The roasting pan should measure about 9 by 14 inches.)

3. Pour the batter into the mold and tightly cover the grill. Cook until the pudding is puffed and nicely browned, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares for serving.

© 2006 Steven Raichlen | site design Benjamin Wilchfort