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Bob Hart’s recipe for steak frites au barbecue

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs
Article image for Bob Hart’s recipe for steak frites au barbecue


THE 3AW breakfast show with Ross and John has recently been conducting the highly entertaining World Cup of Food, sourcing dishes from local restaurants and picking national winners.

On Friday, for example, France was pitted against the US. A no-brainer, surely. But had today’s dish featured in the contest it may, at the very least, have muddied the waters.

Because this dish, a French bistro classic, is one of my all-time favourites – steak frites au beurre de moutarde (pan-fried steak with chips and mustard butter).

Except that naturally, I grill it, covered, on a cast iron grill. On a barbecue. At blistering heat. Which makes it American, sort of. In which case, surely, we would have been looking at a dead heat, right?

Anyway, the thing I can promise you is that in a pan or a barbecue, this is a dish that you need to cook. And the only real difference is that on a barbecue, it’s way, way better. But don’t take my word for it…

You will need a modestly proportioned (200g) porterhouse steak. Or perhaps a pair of them if you are making this for two.

Salt them both generously and, if you like, add some smoke to the process – especially if you are cooking over gas which, unlike charcoal, adds none of its own.

I do this with a generous pinch of chipotle powder – available from good spice shops (but not to be confused with wet, canned, chipotle chillies) – or a pinch of Memphis Smoky BBQ Rub, also widely available and very good sprinkled over both sides of the steaks before you place them in the fridge for at least an hour, or even overnight if you like.

Prepare your sauce by returning a couple of TBS of unsalted butter (French?) to room temperature and mashing it with 2tsp of Keen’s mustard powder and 1tsp of good Dijon. Divide this into two equal portions and place them on a plate, under cling wrap, and chill.

And finally, the steaks: ensure that they have been out of the fridge for at least an hour, that you have lightly brushed them with EV olive oil, and that you have raised the cleaned and oiled grill temperature to around 220C.

Place each steak at 45 degrees to the grill bars and drop the lid. You are going to cook them for a total of about 6 minutes, which means that after 90 seconds you will flip them, after another 90 you will flip them again and move through 90 degrees, and after another 90 seconds you will flip them again. Then, lift them both off the grill, top each with half of the mustard butter which will melt fetchingly over them when you loosely tent both with foil for three minutes before serving.

I like to serve these Franco/American steaks with a mountain of French fries or, of you prefer, American fries. Which also happen to be delicious – even the Macca’s versions!

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs