Flying Solo Steak

pple Smoked Strip Steak

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 60 min

Yield: Feeds 4 people


3 10oz. Strip Steaks

Hardcore Carnivore Black rub - to taste

Solo Steak

I had known this day would come. I didn't know when, or with what cook, but I knew it would happen. In the beginning, this was a perfect set up. Every 2 weeks Mikey would assign me a cook. I would spend about 12 days of that time researching the cook endlessly until it finally came time to cook. Now, however, this concept of only cooking once every two weeks is simply not enough. My experience thus far has given me an obsession where I need to cook far more. 

So there I was, a weekend in between cooks and Mikey, well he was busy sitting on a beach. Now immediately I figured I would do something simple. Throw some burgers and dogs on the grill. A decent meal, spending the day outside, and certainly within my skill set without needing to pull Mikey off the beach to baby me through it. Then I found it. A package of strip steaks hidden away in the freezer. I knew what I had to do.

Now the origin of these steaks is a little fuzzy. I know I didn't buy them. But yet they are there. Looking at the date, oddly it was right around the time I attempted cooking steak last year. I say attempted as this was long before Mikey started tutoring me. My experience with the grill was to make a big fire and hope the meat gets cooked. My belief is my wife bought them last year when I was 'trying' to BBQ with high expectations. When the first of these 'so-called' cooks made it to the plate, however, the high expectations were shattered. Soon after the steaks silently were buried in the freezer. Out of sight out of mind. Honestly, who could blame her? 

Now, however, I have a bit of a proven track record. Now, these steaks will come out and exceed expectations!

With Mikey away, I was going solo on this. Considering I just happened to find them, I did not have the luxury of my usual 2-week prep. When it came to how to cook them I simply went rogue. I figured I would slow cook them with a reverse sear finish. I pulled that off on the Tri-Tip, so I figured it could also make for a great steak!

I decided I would go with the Hardcore Carnivore Black rub for these since I didn't use that on the Tri-Tip. I rubbed the steaks down with all the blackened goodness I could. I fired up the kettle and set it up for a simple indirect set-up. Going solo with all this, I acted as if it was well planned and cooked with precision. For a side, I decided to go with one of my personal favorites, brussel sprouts.

I cut them all up, mixed them with some salt, pepper, olive oil and finally some balsamic vinegar. Once mixed I put it all in my Lodge cast iron and put that over the coals at the same time I put the steaks on the indirect side.

This cook moved pretty fast. Soon the steaks were about 5-10 degrees from being done and the brussel sprouts were browning nicely. It was time to move the brussel sprouts over and reverse seer the steaks. Only a few minutes later, the steaks were done and resting and the sprouts were finishing up. 

Now, this turned out to a pretty awesome meal. Was it as good as a high-brow steak house meal...probably not. But it sure beat the hell our of some burgers. For me, this is where I start to take flight on my own. What do I change next time to make them better? Everything from the cut of the meat to the temp and timing in the kettle gets thrown into question. It is not a matter of cooking a good meal or not. I can cook a damn good meal. This is merely chasing the remaining 10% to make the meal amazing. 

The beautiful part of this is that without even really realizing it, I have gotten through the 90% part of making a good meal. As I said, this is not perfection, but I would easily hand these steaks out to any of my friends with no embarrassment. Yet that remaining 10% appears to be far more of a challenge then it was to get this far. 

Now I understand why Mikey and other fantastic pitmasters endlessly toil to perfect things. Be it slightly altering the already fantastic rubs, or using different types of wood and even different charcoals. With that, I realize that while I have come very far, my journey has only begun.

Until next post, remember kids.....CHUNKS not chips!




Remove steaks from refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.

Season each steak with Hardcore Carnivore Black rub on all sides.

Set up cooker for 2-zone cooking.

Once the cooker is at 250 degrees, add two smaller chunks of apple wood to the charcoal.


Place steak on the indirect side of the cooker. 

Let cook maintaining a cooker temperature of 250 degrees. 

Once the steaks internal temperature is within 5 degrees of the desired doneness, move roast directly over the charcoal to sear. 

Sear each side of the steak for approx. 3 minutes. 

Remove steaks from cooker and let rest for 10 minutes.