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Smoky and the Wood Pit - dirty cote de boeuf

Published on June 30, 2013
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These are some seriously good steaks, no messing around with fancy little fillet steaks. This is steak done caveman style.

With a caramelised crust on the outside and served rare or medium rare these are a carnivorous feast. You’ll need to sear them straight on the coals (dirty style) and then smoke them to perfection.

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Equipment needed 

  • Lumpwood charcoal
  • Barbecue with a lid
  • Smoking wood chips

Serves 4

You will need

  • Bone in ribeye steak 
  • Dry rub 1 tbsp

For the dry rub

  • Soft brown sugar 3 tbsp
  • Smoked paprika 2 tbsp
  • Black pepper 2 tbsp
  • Coarse sea salt 2 tbsp
  • Celery powder 1 tsp
  • Onion powder 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper ½ tsp


  1. You need to get your hands on a decent “bone in” ribeye steak, known as a cote de boeuf in France. A good butcher should be able to help you with this. I used a four week dry aged dexter steak, which is on the smaller size for the cut and gave a steak about 4cm thick. It was wonderfully marbled with cream coloured fat.
  2. Take the steak out of the fridge a couple of hours before barbecuing to come up to room temperature.
  3. Rub the steaks all over with a sprinkle of barbecue or steak rub. Use a commercial rub, or make up your own using the beef ribs rub recipe in the book. Don’t use any oil at any stage as there’s enough fat on the steaks.
  4. You’ll need to cook on white hot lumpwood charcoal on a barbecue with a lid (briquettes will not work here). Prepare your barbecue with the coals covering half of the cooking area. Then lay the steaks directly onto the coals.
  5. Watching for any flare ups – you’ll get some, but you don’t want to cremate the steaks – let the meat sear for a few minutes. The meat shouldn’t stick to the coals. Turn over and cook on the other side for a few minutes. There’ll be lots of smoke and some flame, and this is why you want to cook this outdoors. Have the lid handy just in case things flare up too much.
  6. Continue to turn the steak every couple of minutes until a deep brown crust has formed, then take the steaks off momentarily. Put the grill of the barbecue back on, and the steaks on the grill.
  7. Pop a couple of wood chunks on the coals (I use maple) and put the lid on. Allow to smoke for around 5 minutes and cook to your preference. For me it has to be medium rare. I like to season with a sprinkle of coarse sea salt and then rest the meat for 5 minutes minimum.
  8. Serve with twice-cooked homemade thick chips, coleslaw and a bottle of good red wine.

Marcus Bawdon is a dedicated foodie and barbecue enthusiast who writes a Food magazine blog, Smoky & The Wood Pit. He also blogs at CountryWoodSmoke.

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