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Charcoal-Grilled Tuscan Steak with Olive Oil and Lemon (Bistecca alla Fiorentina)

Published July 2002

Why This Recipe Works

In the perfect grilled Tuscan steak recipe, a beautifully grilled steak is dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice; the olive oil complements the flavor of the meat, while the acidic notes of the lemon juice sharpen the flavors of the dish and cut its richness. The secret to our Tuscan grilled steak recipe is simple: To bring out the full, fresh flavor of the olive oil and lemon juice, we drizzled them over the steak after cooking rather than before, as many recipes recommend.

Ingredients

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2 T-bone steaks or porterhouse steaks, each 1 1/2 inches thick (about 3 1/2 pounds total), patted dry
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
lemon wedges for serving

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Instructions

Serves 4

T-Bone and porterhouse steaks are large enough to serve two. We prefer to season the steaks with kosher salt because its coarse grains are easier to sprinkle evenly onto the meat than fine table salt. If you use charcoal briquettes instead of hardwood charcoal, one chimney-full will weigh close to 6 pounds. Also, you may have to increase the searing time by about 30 seconds on each side. There is no need to build a two-level fire if you can adjust the level of the charcoal rack on your grill; crank the rack up high to sear the steaks, then drop it down a couple of levels for less intense heat to finish cooking them.

1. Light large chimney starter filled with hardwood charcoal (about 2 1/2 pounds) and burn until covered with layer of fine gray ash. Build two-level fire by stacking most of the coals on one side of grill and arranging remaining coals in single layer on other side. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill with lid, and let grate heat up, about 5 minutes. Use wire brush to scrape grate clean. Grill is ready when thicker layer of coals is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds).

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle each side of steaks with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook steaks, uncovered, over hotter part of grill until well-browned on each side, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. (If steaks start to flame, move them to cooler side of fire and/or extinguish flames with squirt bottle). Move steaks to cooler side of grill and continue cooking, turning once, to desired doneness, 5 to 6 minutes more for rare (120 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 6 to 7 minutes for rare medium-rare (125 degrees), 7 to 8 minutes for medium medium-rare (130 degrees), or 8 to 9 minutes for medium (135 to 140 degrees).

3. Transfer steaks to cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Following illustrations below, cut strip and tenderloin pieces off bones and slice crosswise about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange slices on platter, drizzle with olive oil, and serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Step-by-Step

Slicing T-Bone and Porterhouse Steaks

1. Cut along bone to remove large top loin, or strip, section.

2. Cut smaller tenderloin section off bone.

3. Cut each large piece crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices for serving.