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Author Notes: A1 here does not refer to a steak sauce. It’s the autostrada that runs through the center of Italy and through the heart of Tuscany. In fact some of the best informal dining you will find in Italy is available at the many autogrills, some of which have full on dining rooms. But regardless of whether you are dining in an autogrill or an osteria the most esteemed meat for the grill is chianina beef. Domestically, the closest cut you are likely to find would be a double thick porterhouse steak. If you have an actual butcher who will cut it properly, beata lei! For seasoning you need nothing more than coarse salt, pepper and lemons to squeeze at the table.
What is important is that you cook this over real wood charcoal. Gas grill? No! In Tuscany they might throw dried vine cuttings on the coals. An alternative is to use wine barrel staves*. I don’t want to go all paleo on you but this is all about meat and fire. The smoke is an important part of the flavor. Nothing artificial here.
- 1 double thick porterhouse, about 1 ½ pounds
- Coarse sea salt
- 2 lemons cut into wedges
- Ground black pepper for the table
- Fire up your wood coals (preferably using a chimney). Add them to your grill, Weber, whatever. Throw on some vine cuttings or barrel staves and allow those to burn down. Add more charcoal if necessary**.
- Rub your steak with the coarse salt.
- Put your steak on the grill and cover. TURN IT ONLY ONCE.
- Check for doneness using an instant read thermometer. It’s finished when it hits a temp no higher than 130F.
- Let it rest, tented with foil for about 10 minutes.
- Cut it up and serve it with lemon wedges and a nice red wine.
- Notes to cook: *wine barrel staves are available through Sur la Table in store or through their catalog.
- **Briquettes don’t count as charcoal. Briquettes are for sissies.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Barbecue