Steak – Afterburner style

If you like your steaks with a deep, dark mahogany brown crust but still pink in the middle, then the ‘afterburner’ technique could be for you.

A chimney starter and a grill grate are all the equipment that you need.  If you have yet to invest in a chimney starter, then do so, it is a must have for all BBQ lovers.  Gone are the days of spending forever trying to light a BBQ using nasty, chemical based firelighters which ruin the flavour of your food. Readily available online, they easily light your charcoal in minutes.

The aim of this technique is to hit the surface of the meat with high temperatures, so that it cooks so quickly that the interior doesn’t get too hot. Cooking at lower temperatures means the heat steadily moves through the surface into the interior.  By the time you have a dark crusty finish on the outside, the inside is overcooked.

Choice of cut is crucial.  Flank, Hanger or Skirt are ideal due to their cooking properties.  Often these cuts are cooked slowly in a stew or casserole, but if you cook them correctly they are perfect for grilling.  Just be careful not to overcook, as they will become tough and chewy if cook any more than medium rare.  Timing is key, a quick sear and you’ll enjoy the rich and beefy flavours these cuts have to offer.   They are reasonably inexpensive too, much cheaper than a sirloin or rib eye for example.

When serving up, slice the meat thinly against the grain.  This way you’ll not have to chew through the fibres of the meat, making it tender and easier to eat.

This technique is great to use in a fajita recipe, it’ll add a savoury, crusty BBQ flavour to the dish.

Use natural lump wood charcoal for this method.  You don’t want any nasty chemicals impacting the taste of the beef in any way.


  • 1 flank, hanger or skirt steak, 3/4 inch thick


Take your steak out of the fridge and leave at room temperature.

Fire up your chimney starter – it needs to be at least half full of charcoal, but not completely loaded to the top.  If it’s loaded right to the top, the heat from the flames will be to close to the meat, and will burn the steak too quickly.  Lay your grate over the top of the chimney starter whilst the coals are getting hot.  This way the grill will get extra hot, giving you the best chance to get some nice, attractive grill marks on your finished steak.

Dry the meat with a paper towel, you don’t want any fluid there as it will create steam around the surface.  Add a little oil if you wish, if you prefer a really crispy edge to the steak.  Now season.


Once the coals are white hot, and flames are kicking out of the chimney starter, lay your steak on the grill.  Sear for one minute, then turn 90 degrees and sear for another minute.  This will help you achieve some nice grill marks on the steak, but it’s also important to keep the steak moving as it cook more evenly.  Then flip the steak and repeat on the other side.

Searing for 2 minutes each side on a steak that’s 3/4 inch thick should cook it to medium rare, but much depends on the heat of the coals and the thickness of you steak.  Cook it to your preference, but take care not to cook for too long – these cuts don’t lend themselves to being overcooked, they are best served rare or medium rare.

Leave to rest for the same time as its taken to cook, then tuck in!

Its that simple!


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