Cowboy Steaks on the Grill

Use center cut Filets that are trimmed lean, each one a prime cut. Rub gray salt into your steaks before grilling for the best flavor. Use the same method that we use for our classic Bistecca alla fiorentina. In Tuscan restaurants the steak is offered by the "etto" or in 100-gram (4 oz.) increments. You can use both the strip loin and the filet. I also use a rib-eye steak with this method. Always use the best meat, gray salt, coarse ground black pepper and balsamic vinegar that you can find. The marriage of all these ingredients will reveal a noble meal of authentic Italian flavor.

By Michael Chiarello
Serves 2

  • 2 lb. filet steaks
  • Gray salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Aged balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • NapaStyle Roasted garlic balsamic steak sauce (optional)

Let the steaks rest outside of the refrigerator for one hour before cooking. Liberally season the steaks with gray salt and pepper and press the seasoning into the meat.

About gray salt: If you change just one thing about your cooking, make it the salt. The gray salt I use, from Brittany's coast, retains all the minerals found in the sea, echoing your body's mineral content exactly. Because of its taste, I use gray salt exclusively, and cherish the natural flavors it highlights in all foods.

Use a hot, clean and oiled grill. Grill the steaks for about 5-6 minutes on each side for medium rare. Filets will cook a little faster. Move the steaks every two minutes or so for even cooking and a crispy exterior.

Remove the steak to a carving board and let rest for at least 5 minutes before carving, or serving.

Grilled Lemon Halves: Cut the lemon in half and brush the cut side with olive oil. Place the lemons cut side down on the grill to mark. Turn the lemon over and move to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.

Serve all bistecca with some extra gray salt on the table. I like to pair the bistecca with two unique condimenti, or finishes, to the steak: grilled lemon halves or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

An option to using expensive and rare balsamic is to use a tuscan-flavored steak sauce. I make one with roasted garlic, sweetened with raisins, and, to give it a nice bite, black pepper. As you'll see throughout this menu, Italians love a mix of tart and sweet, called agrodolce.