Some people say they dream in color and some say they don’t. I dream in color and I can dream in taste and smell, too. Afternoon, weekend naps start with thoughts about what to make for dinner. Trying to recall what is in my pantry and my refrigerator makes me drowsy. Those thoughts roll over and over in my mind and before long, I fall asleep. But, afternoon naps are short-lived. I sleep just long enough to catch a glimpse of a dream and when I awake, I know what I will prepare for dinner. I can taste it. I can smell it. I have already prepared the meal in my dream. I get out of bed quickly and get to work.
This afternoon’s dream was of the vivid Tex-Mex variety. Vibrant colors and bold, spicy flavors are what I have in mind for my ribeye steaks. This is food worthy of celebration!
3 beef ribeye steaks (1 pound each and 1” thick)
2 Tbs cooking oil (Canola or Olive oil is good)
2 Tbs cumin powder
1 Tbs coarse salt
1 Tbs freshly ground black pepper
½ red bell pepper
½ yellow bell pepper
½ green bell pepper
4 Tbs softened butter
2 Tbs chipotle adobo sauce
Remove the steaks from the packaging and allow them to warm on a platter, at room temperature, for about 20 minutes.
While the steaks rest, slice the bell peppers into ½ inch rings and set aside.
Prepare the chipotle butter by combing the softened butter with the chipotle adobo sauce. Set aside.
Prepare the charcoal grill.
I use a charcoal chimney to heat the charcoal briquettes.
If you are not familiar with a charcoal chimney, you need to be. Starting coals with a charcoal chimney means that you don’t have to use lighter fluid. Lighter fluid can impart a greasy, oily flavor to meats and vegetables.
I like to rip apart old newspapers or paper grocery bags, or even pieces of the charcoal bag, to start the fire for the chimney. This is a good way to recycle paper and it gives me an opportunity to tear stuff up and burn things. The primal urge to destroy and burn things runs deep…
While the coals heat, prepare the steaks. Brush the steaks lightly with olive oil and sprinkle each side with cumin powder. Liberaly apply salt and pepper to both sides.
Once the coals turn gray, dump them in the charcoal grill and spread them out evenly. Add some mesquite wood, if you have it. Clean the grill with a steel brush and then swab the grill with a some cooking oil and carefully lay the steaks on the grill, keeping at least 1” between each steak.
Add the sliced bell peppers and grill them for a minute or two, until they start to char. Remove the peppers.
Grill the ribeye steaks for 3 minutes and then turn them over. Cook for another 3 minutes to achieve medium rare steaks. Remove the steaks and brush with chipotle butter. Rest the stakes under a foil tent for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
That sounds simple right? Well, it is and it isn’t. When it comes to grilling meat to a desired level of doneness, there are many factors to consider. Grilling for 3 minutes on each side will probably produce a good, medium rare steak but my preferred method for checking doneness is by pushing on the meat with a finger. Assuming that the steak is one inch thick, or more, I give it 3 minutes on the first side, at high heat. This produces a good char and thoroughly cooks the meat on that side. Then, after flipping the steak over, I let it go for about 2 minutes and then press the center portion of the steak with my finger of side of my thumb. If the meat yields easily and feels soft or mushy, it is still rare. When I push down and feel a slight resistance and the meat returns to its form, like a mattress would, I know that it is medium rare.
If you are in doubt, pull the steak. You can always pop it in the oven or put it on a skillet to finish. You can’t un-cook a steak.
Serve family style on a large platter with grilled corn on the cob and baked potatoes.