The on-the-coals method requires both a leap of faith and nerves of steel, but you can be assured of great results, deserving of your best red wine. Don’t overdo it with the rub; reserve the leftovers for another meal.
- Process the peppercorns, mustard, and cumin in in a coffee or spice grinder until coarsely ground. Add the oregano, thyme, paprika, granulated garlic, and granulated onion and pulse a few times until the rub is combined.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of the rub with the salt in a small bowl. (Transfer the leftover rub to a covered container and store at room temperature for up to 3 months.) Season the steaks on both sides with the rub mixture. Let stand at room temperature while building the fire.
- Using lump charcoal in a chimney starter, build a fire in an outdoor grill, and let the coals burn just until they turn evenly white, about 15 minutes. Dump the coals onto the charcoal grate of the grill, and spread them as evenly as possible with long tongs.
- Fan off any ashes from the coals with a folded newspaper section. Place the steaks directly on the coals. Cook, initially uncovered, for 4 minutes. When flare-ups occur, immediately cover the grill with the lid, being sure that the vents are open in the lid and grill bottom. Continue cooking with the lid closed, until it is time to turn the steaks. Turn the steaks, shaking off any coals that stick to the meat, and repeat the procedure, shutting the lid as needed.
- Transfer the steaks to a platter. Top each with a tablespoon of the butter. Tent the platter with aluminum foil and let stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer each steak to a plate, drizzle with the melted butter and juices, and serve immediately.
Rick Rodgers is an award-winning cooking teacher and the author of over 40 cookbooks on a wide range of subjects, including The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine). In addition to writing the TasteBook.com column ‘”Tips from the Test Kitchen,” Rick works with entertainment figures, corporations, and celebrity chefs on their cookbooks. His clients include Tommy Bahama, Frankie Avalon, Patti LaBelle, and Williams-Sonoma. See more of his work on www.RickRodgers.com.