Grilled Steak

Home Up Anchovy Garlic Steak Grilled Steak Bulgoki / Kalbi Beef Jerky Skirt Steak London Broil Prime Rib Roast Tri-tip Smoked Corned Beef Merlie's Magic Beef Filet Mignon Wasabi Steak


Getting Hot and Fast

The Kamado cooker is quite a remarkable tool.  

I can cook over a wide range of temperatures from "low and slow" barbeque style, to "hot and fast" grilling.

One of the joys of the Kamado is that it can achieve very high temperatures, far in excess of the normal household gas grill.  This allows me to sear steaks and chops at temperatures in the 1,000 degree F range, with results that are every bit as good as I've found at fine steak houses.  

Click on any photo for a larger more detailed view.


The first photo shows two beautiful prime porterhouse steaks (about 1.5" thick).  When I go to the local butcher, and he puts a chunk-o-meat on the bandsaw, he cuts off a piece and says "is this ok?"... sometimes I tell him to go a little thicker.  It's all by eyeball, and it depends where on the overall length of the bone he is cutting.  Depending on the position, there will be larger/smaller proportions of strip to filet on each side of the bone.

The second photos shows one of the steaks dredged in Char Crust Roast Garlic & Peppercorn rub. Take a look at for more information about the rubs available. 

The left hand steak in the photo subsequently received a dusting of salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.

Here's a grilling progress photo just after turning the meat.  Because a #7 Kamado has more distance between the coals and the grill than a #5 or a large Big Green Egg, there is less flareup problems when juices drip onto the coal. 

The photo above show the results, with the Char Crusted steak on the right.

Finally, the one to make you hungry, showing the charred outside yet rare to medium rare inside.

  • I’ve found that heavily dredging the meat in the Char Crust makes for the best results.
  • Sometimes I spray a little olive oil on the meat after the rub is applied.
  • When I make steaks, I'll typically do some with Char Crust, and some with salt/pepper/garlic powder.  Then we share the resulting cuts of meat, so everyone gets a taste of each preparation.


High Temperature Techniques

Part of the fun of making steaks on the Kamado is working with very high temperatures that are difficult, if not impossible on other home cookers.

To assure the high temps, I’ve settled in on the following routine.

  • Make sure the firebox holes are clear (I use an additional expanded metal grate an inch or so above the firebox to further refine the air flow)
  • Open the draft door and damper top all the way
  • Remove the thermometer (the target temps pin most thermometers)
  • I light a few handfuls of coals (either with an electric starter or fire starters from a camping store)
  • After the coals are glowing, I add a few more coals, roughly doubling the volume. This quickly sets these new coals on fire. Wait another few minutes.
  • Finally I add a lot more coal, high temps need fuel!
  • After about 15 minutes, the fire is raging, up in the 1,000 degree range. At the point that I’m finally ready to cook, I sometimes add a little wood, perhaps some hickory or apple or cherry.

  • When I've gotten the grill up to temperature, I do close down the draft door and damper top a bit (I don't want flames coming out the top of my cooker when I'm cooking)

  • Most of the time, the meat is cooked by a combination of the radiant heat from the coals, the heat stored in the dome's thermal mass, and the occasional flame licking the grill (when some fat drips down onto the coals).

When you open the top do so slowly… the magma-like coals are quite impressive.  You want to be very careful about controlling any backdraft flashbacks that may occur. 

For the steaks above, I cooked them for 2.5 to 3 minutes on each side, then shut down the damper top and draft door and let them cook (dwell) for another 2 minutes.

Important: When the air flow is shut down, you need to crack the lid very slowly before opening the lid (and I use gloves). Otherwise the flashback could be dramatic and frightening (and dangerous). 

Also, don't attempt to use a Polder or similar digital thermometer to measure the grill temperatures, as they typically melt their thermocouple at any temp above 400 degrees F.

I found a few things that help with the high temp cooking

  • A pair of black neoprene gloves
  • A pair of 16” Oxo tongs
  • A polder thermometer to act as a timer
  • A fire extinguisher nearby (just in case)

You need to pay close attention to what’s going on. Grilling at high temps is not a casual thing… we’re talking about some pretty serious fire, and it demands respect.  Oh, but the results are worth it

As for being brave with expensive prime meats... yes, it's a challenge... it's so easy to ruin them.  However, that's the reason for the timer. I figure that I can always undercook them and put them back on to dwell for a few more minutes if necessary.  I recently did four prime porterhouse steaks  ($50 worth of steaks!), and quite concerned about killing them.... but with enough fussing and worry... fortunately, they were winners.


Copyright © 1999 by Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.
Revised: December 13, 2017


All text and photographs copyright © 1999 - 2017  Zenreich Systems. All rights reserved.