Emeril Lagasse taught me this recipe back in the late ’90s, before cedar plank grilling was thing.
Emeril used it on camping trips, where he’d put the steak on a plank and top it with peppers and onions (and jalapeno sauce - Bam!). The planks went over the campfire, protecting the steaks from the fire.
I want to break this recipe out on a camping trip. I love the idea of cooking steak on planks over an open fire. It’s…it’s just…it’s the camping part that I don’t want to suffer through. Sleeping on the hard ground, with rocks and branches poking me, waiting for my body heat to warm up the sleeping bag? That seemed like a great idea when I was a kid. Now, with my creaky, mid–40’s body? Can't I sleep in a bed?
Emeril recommended untreated cedar shingles from the hardware store; back then, the only shingles I could find were covered in dust and wrapped with rusty wire - definitely not good eats. And, like I said, cedar plank grilling wasn't a thing, so there were no planks in the grilling supply section. I went to the craft boards aisle and asked for a 1 by 6 untreated cedar board, took it home, and cut it into foot-long pieces.
Nowadays, cedar planks are everywhere. The grilling section of your hardware store will have them, and a well stocked store will have a choice of cedar, alder, maple, and maybe even oak, my favorite.
You can always head over to the craft board section, but make sure the boards are not “treated” wood.
Why bother with the plank? The strong, cedar wood smoke enhances the beefy flavor of the ribeye. The peppers and onions brown in the heat of the grill, making a great steak topping. And the wood protects the ribeye, so it slowly coasts to medium-rare, pink from edge to edge.
If you want to expand your grilling repertoire past a simple grilled steak, give cedar plank steak a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Recipe: Plank Grilled Ribeye Steak with Peppers and Onions
Adapted from: Emeril Lagasse, Campfire Steaks
- Cedar grilling plank (⅜“ by 5” by 15" or so)
- Grill (I love my Weber Kettle)
- Probe Thermometer (not absolutely necessary, but much easier with it.)
- 2 (1 ½ inch thick) bone in ribeye steaks
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ½ of a medium onion, sliced thin
- ½ of a red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
- ½ of a green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Soak the plank: Put the plank in a large container, weigh it down, and cover with water. Soak for at least one hour.
- Season the beef: Sprinkle the ribeyes evenly with the salt and pepper. Let rest at room temperature for one hour, or up to overnight, refrigerated.
- Set the grill up for indirect high heat: Set the grill up with two heat zones - one zone set to high heat, one zone set to no heat. For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in a thick pile covering half of the charcoal grate, about two coals deep. This leaves the other half of the charcoal grate empty.
- Prep the pepper and onion topping: While the grill is preheating, slice the onions, peppers, and garlic. Toss in a medium bowl with the salt, then set aside.
- Char the plank and sear the steaks: When the grill is ready, remove the plank from the water and let excess water drip off. Put the plank over the high heat part of the grill and leave it until it is blackened on the bottom and starting to smoke, about 3 minutes. Move the plank to the unlit side of the grill, flip the plank over so the blackened side is facing up. Put the ribeye steaks on the grill over the coals and sear until they are well browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the steaks onto the plank, browned side facing up, and top each steak with a handful of the pepper and onions.
- Plank cook the steaks: Cook with the lid closed until the steaks reach an 125°F internal temperature for medium-rare, about 25 minutes. (For rare, cook to 120°F; for medium, cook to 135°F). Remove the plank to a heat safe surface (I put the plank on a rimmed baking sheet with a towel under it).
- Serve: Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes. Cut the bone away from the ribeye, then slice the steaks and serve, topping with the peppers and onions that escape while you are carving.
- This recipe is easy with a probe thermometer. Once the steak is flipped onto the cedar plank, run a probe into it from the side, aiming for center mass. Set the thermometer for 125°F, enjoy a frosty beverage, and wait for your delicious steak to finish. But - make sure the probe cable does not run over the direct heat side of the grill; the high heat can burn out the cable.
- I love the taste of cedar and beef, but if you want a different flavor, try a different grilling plank. I think beef matches with oak or maple.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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