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Bob Hart’s recipe for the perfect steak on the barbie


DELIVERING the perfectly grilled steak is the ultimate challenge, surely, for the diligent barbecue. And this week, to wrap up a great year, let’s tackle the greatest steak of them all.

I refer, of course, to a bistecca fiorentina ? fiercely barbecued, naturally ? and served rare. This is an impeccably cooked T-bone that weight in raw at around 1.5kg. But do not attempt to eat it on your own: it will easily feed three or even four.


  • A 1.5kg t-bone, ideally dry-aged
  • EV olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Lemon


  • 1 tbs black peppercorns 
  • 1 tsp sea salt  
  • 1 tbs rosemary  


First of all, take this piece of meat out of the fridge several hours before you intend to cook as, this time, it is not just the meat, but also the bone that you need to return to room temperature for even cooking.

And when you have done that, forget the nonsense you may have read about not salting meat until the last minute: salt it generously immediately ? with the finest sea salt, of course.

Then, in a pestle and mortar, prepare a rub to apply later ? of 1 tbs black peppercorns, 1 (further) tsp of crystalised sea salt and 1 tbs of freshly picked rosemary needles ? not dried rosemary which does not give the same effect.

Grind these three ingredients together until effectively powdered, but still a bit moist from the rosemary oils.

Now, moisten your steak with EV olive oil and sprinkle generously with the rub.

Fire up a very hot grill ? my favourite for this dish is a cast iron grill on a kamado or on a Weber kettle, in either case fired up with a handful of hickory chips on charcoal. A very hot gas grill also works well and, used properly, will caramelise the beef beautifully.

The object here is to lightly char the outside of the steak, while leaving the centre rare.

Grill/roast/rest it properly and it will finish evenly cooked, and on the rare side of medium rare.

This will require a total cooking time of about 16 minutes, depending how you like your steak, and a total resting time (on a warm rack, and loosely tented with foil) of 8-10 minutes.


First, place the steak at an angle of 45 degrees to the bars of your hot, clean and oiled grill and drop the lid.

After 4 minutes (or 30 seconds more if you are going for a longer cooking time) flip the steak and, after an identical interval, flip it again but move it through 90 degrees.

And then move it again, through 90 degrees, after the same interval.

Then, take it off and rest it, loosely tented, in a warm (not hot) place. And after you have rested it, apply a squeeze of lemon juice and run a sharp blade between the meat and the bone, all the way around.

Slice the released meat into thick strips and push them back up against the bone, whence they came.