Restaurant Quality Steak—At Home

Steak. Let’s talk about it.

You brag about how you cook a mean steak at home, but deep inside, you know you don’t. You overcook it. You undercook it. The seasoning is never quite right. It’s not seared—it’s charred. You just pretend that’s the way you like it because your pride gets in the way.

There are two issues at hand: first, you’re just not a very good cook. Secondly, you don’t have a grill that gets as hot as a restaurant’s.

Leave it to Kenji Lopez-Alt, the mastermind behind Serious Eats, to show the way. Reverse searing meat—letting it cook at a low temperature until desired doneness then searing in a ripping pan—is the way to go. But even then, you’re not getting flavor of cooking over coals and fire.  And you’re getting your house all smoky.

Leave it to Kenji Lopez-Alt, the mastermind behind Serious Eats, to show the way AGAIN. Sous vide ribeye (if you don’t have an Anova, you don’t belong here)—123F for 1 hour—grilled directly over the grill’s chimney starter. It’s like cooking on a jet engine.

Sous Vide Ribeye

It’s simple: about midway through the sous vide process, go light your chimney starter in your grill (see the 17 min mark of the video). I found that using letters from my ex worked as a great fire starter, so if you have any of those left in your closet, use them. Place a smaller grill grate over the starter so it can get extremely hot.

Pull the steaks out of the water bath and season with salt and pepper on both sides. You’re probably going to only be able to cook one steak on the chimney at a time, but that’s okay, because sous vide steaks don’t really need to rest—plus, each steak takes just about 2 minutes to grill TOTAL (if you’re going for a perfect medium-rare, that is).

Like Kenji, I kept the steak moving every 15 seconds or so, including rotating it onto the edges. When each steak finishes, you can pull it off the grill and onto a baking sheet, lightly tented with foil.

As you can see below, it worked perfectly—especially when paired with my grilled maitake mushrooms. Or a nice, hefty pat of Bolyard’s steak or bacon butter.

I’m never going back to cooking it the old fashioned way.  Thank you, Kenji.

Ribeye on the Chimney Starter Ribeye on the Grill Grilled Ribeye Resting Grilled Ribeye Sliced

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  1. Now that’s a beautiful steak!

  2. What a great resource for anyone wanting to grill perfectly!

  3. Kenji is a genius! Now I’m going to have to try this! Thanks!

  4. Great tips for steaks at home! Kenji is incredibly knowledgeable.

  5. Danny

    So I tried this and my steak came out with a chemical flavor, almost like gas. I used a bone-in ribeye, souvide at 123 for 90 mnutes, and then grilled over a chinmey starter with charcoal and no lighter fluid. Any idea as to why? It was extremely hot and the steak had a few flare ups.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding, I missed it. I’m not sure what the reason would be for that. Maybe the grill grate wasn’t cleaned all the way? Or perhaps it was the charcoal? I almost exclusively use Rockwood Charcoal, but in general stick with all-natural lump.

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