Steak au Poivre

Curses, Tony Bourdain!!!

I ran across a video on Facebook one night and realized that I must cook this. Anthony Bourdain did a video with Balvenie where he made steak au poivre over an open flame and was both immediately hungry and inspired. I didn’t have 7 hours in front of me to make the demi-glace in his recipe, so I made some modifications to the recipe, taking some liberties with his project. Steak au poivre is a French dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with loosely cracked black peppercorns and then seared. The peppercorns form a crust on the steak when cooked and provide a pungent but complementary counterpoint to the rich flavor of the high-quality beef. It won’t be quite as tender of a loin cut, but NY Strip would also be a suitable cut for you to use at home.

As I typically already reverse sear steaks on a routine basis, this cook is a low degree of difficulty. It does, however, give me the opportunity to sear these steaks in the normal order and is dressed up a notch by the pan sauce. Tonight included potatoes au gratin and farmers’ market lima beans to accompany the steak. If you wanted to stick with the French theme, lentils or haricot vert might also make excellent options for sides.

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre


  • USDA Choice or better Filet Mignon (substitute NY Strip if you prefer)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Peppercorns
  • Unsalted Butter
  • For the pan sauce
  • 1/3 cup cognac, brandy or whisky (Scotch or bourbon would both suffice if your home bar is like mine and lacking in the brandy department)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • More unsalted butter


    Prep brine the steaks
  1. 30 minutes beforehand, remove the steaks from the fridge and dry brine with kosher salt.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind black peppercorns.
  3. Spread the black peppercorns on a plate and press the steak into the peppercorns, leaving a peppercorn crust on each side of each filet.
  4. Cook the steaks
  5. Preheat a cast iron skillet the oven to 350F. Preheat the grill to 600F-700F.
  6. Melt butter in a second cast iron over the grill
  7. Sear the steaks for two minutes on each side.
  8. Remove the steaks from heat and transfer into the cast iron pan in the oven and cook to desired doneness.
  9. With steaks, you should be cooking to temperature and not for time. But, as a general rule, a 1" filet should take about 8-10 minutes to reach Medium Rare (135F). The same steak should take 12-15 minutes to reach Medium (145F).
  10. Remove the steaks from heat and transfer to a plate to rest.
  11. While the steaks are finishing in the oven, prepare the pan sauce
  12. Over medium heat, in a pan, add 1/4 cup of cognac or liquor and ignite. Shake the pan until the fumes are extinguished.
  13. Add the heavy cream, whisk for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  14. Salt to taste.
  15. Add 1 tbsp of unsalted butter and whisk in.
  16. Serve
  17. Plate the sides.
  18. Slice steak across the grain.
  19. Top sliced steak with pan sauce.

Bon appetit!

MagicCityBurn’s New Adventures in Charcoal

So, I’ve largely used the same charcoal for years now. It’s an 80/20 Oak/Hickory blend and not some secret recipe like the Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe Natural Lump Charcoal. Lately, ownership of my favorite local store changed hands and they’ve stopped carrying the good stuff in favor of the branded stuff from Kamado Joe. They assure me that it’s the same, but, especially, for low and slow cooks, any shift in charcoal can really impart changes to the flavor of your meat. And I’ve been reluctant to make a large scale change, preferring to buy small bags of whatever natural lump coals I could find at the grocery store. Anyway, I ran out of charcoal before┬ámy last NY Strip cook and had to sear steaks over apple wood chunks with hickory chips. It was a sad day in the Magic City (the steaks were fine, but it took a couple days for the smell to wear off).


So, after some significant time reading reviews, I have begrudgingly accepted the newest member of the Magic City Burn family, Fogo All Natural Premium Hardwood Lump Charcoal. It extols supposed virtues like a brown bag, mild, oaky flavor, no sparks (which may be worth the switch all on its own), and is apparently the #1 Best Seller for Lump Charcoal on Amazon. Of course, like all natural lump charcoal, it isn’t loaded down with chemicals, fillers and lighter fluid.

I’ve got 35 lbs of the stuff on the way. So I should be able to give it a good trial run. I may re-run through some old recipes or try some new ones to kick the tires and light the fires, so to speak. Stay tuned for rum and bourbon laced opinions.


Ain’t No Thing But a Chicken Wing

If you knew me in real life, you would know that I have a special place in my heart for chicken wings at, probably, any flavor or heat level you could come up with. Lend me your Jerk Seasoning, your Buffalo, Ghost Chili, Dry Rubbed, naked, breaded, smoked, baked, fried, grilled. I am your guy.

So why has it taken me literally years to post a chicken wing recipe? I dunno, but here’s one for you. It’s written for the Big Green Egg, but you should be able to re-create this on any smoker or grill that you can setup for indirect heat. In a pinch, a convection oven will even do.

Sweet Chili Glazed Wings


  • 2 lbs Chicken Wings (20-25 wings)
  • For Marinade
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 10 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger, Minced
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • For Glaze
  • 1 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sriracha Sauce, to taste
  • Green onions, Sliced


    Marinate the wings
  1. Mix oil, cilantro, soy, ten garlic cloves, ginger and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes in a large bowl
  2. Add wings to mixture. Stir to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours
  4. Cook the wings
  5. Setup the Egg for indirect heat.
  6. Preheat to 400F, with the cooking grid placed over the platesetter, feet up, and an aluminum pan underneath to catch any drippings.
  7. Wings will cook through in approximately 20 minutes. Turn once during cooking.
  8. Make the glaze
  9. While the wings are over the fire, combine vinegar, sugar, water, Sriracha, two garlic cloves and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a medium sauce pan.
  10. Bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer.
  12. Glaze should thicken in 15-20 minutes.
  13. Toss the wings
  14. Place wings into a second, clean large mixing bowl.
  15. Pour the glaze over the wings.
  16. Toss wings in glaze to coat.
  17. Garnish with sliced green onions

USDA Prime Ribeye

AKA #MagicCityBurn vs. Shula’s Steak House

Recently, I was lucky enough to receive a $100 gift card to Shula’s Steakhouse, somewhere that I would never normally eat. Dinner there was quite an experience. I had an amazing glass of XYZin 50 Year Old Vine Zinfandel and their 22 oz bone-in, dry aged, USDA Prime Cowboy Ribeye. Having eaten at Fleming’s and Ruth’s Chris in the past, I’ve grown pretty confident that I do well enough with USDA Choice steaks that I don’t need to spend the extra on USDA Prime. But I was flat out outgunned by Shula’s.

Continue reading

Setup the BGE for direct cooking

I have a good friend who recently received a Big Green Egg as a Christmas gift. He’s without prep space at the moment as he and his wife have been remodeling their kitchen and I am sad for his Egg as it sits lonely on his patio, all white and pristine. I thought I’d toss him a bone on the burn in procedure for the Egg and realized that, while I had a blog post for indirect heat, I hadn’t done one for direct heat. Continue reading

Bacon wrapped filet mignon – Reverse Sear

So I’ve been quiet for a while. Not for lack of cooking. Not for lack of taking photos of food. Just, not posting in a timely manner. Thanks to for reminding me of my social responsibility. I also have numerous pics of his fajita recipes, which are excellent.

A couple weeks ago, we picked up some pretty thick (1.5+” thick) bacon wrapped filets at the grocery store. Given that I hadn’t cooked a thick steak in a while, I decided to go with a “less is more” recipe. This technique isn’t fast, but it does produce an excellent brown crust on the meat that you aren’t generally going to get outside of some pretty pricy steakhouses.


  • Filet mignon, the best cut you can comfortably spend, at least USDA Choice
  • Bacon, whatever floats your boat (ours came pre-assembled)
  • Salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Two cast iron grill plates
  • Butter
Dry brine the steaks:
1. Remove the steaks from the fridge.
2. Blot dry with a paper towel.
3. Sprinkle salt liberally over the steaks.
4. Cover with another paper towel and let come to room temperature for an hour or so.
While you wait on the steaks to reach room temperature, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 300F.
Once the grill is ready, add the steaks:
1. Add the steaks in the reverse order you want to pull them off. For medium rare, you’re looking to leave the meat on at this temperature for about half an hour. My wife likes her steaks closer to medium well, so hers was on for about an hour.
2. Remove steaks. Note the relative lack of grill marks. Sprinkle with some more salt. Crack fresh peppercorns over the surface of the meat. Place on a warm plate and wrap in foil.
3. Open up the vents on the grill and let it get hot. Like 600F+.
Grease two grill plates:
1. We have these amazing little cast iron grill plates that I received from the “Hall of Fame” in laws. I don’t know where they found them, but if you don’t have one, a small cast iron skillet is your best bet.
2. Cut up a couple Tbsp of regular, salted butter.
3. Put the plates on the grill and let the butter get hot and melty-sizzly.
1. Once the butter is melted and sizzling, put each filet down. Close the grill.
2. Wait 2 minutes and flip. Close grill again.
3. Wait two more minutes and remove from the grill.
4. Put them on a second, clean warm plate. Wrap in foil and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
We ate these with a simple green salad and some organic brown rice pilaf from the rice cooker.

Grilled Pork Chops

Another Big Green Egg cook. Center cut pork chops. This is a crowd pleaser. I cook pork chops with and without the bones. These just happen to be boneless this time. We served these with mixed vegetables for lunch.
Bone-in or boneless pork chops (thick cut)
1/4 cup soy based marinade. We use Pilleteri’s Marinade. But Dale’s would be comparable.
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Marinate chops:
1. Put the marinade in a Zip Loc bag big enough to hold all your pork chops.
2. Refrigerate, in the marinade, for at least an hour.
Apply seasoning rub:
1. Remove the chops from the marinade. Discard the remaining marinade.
2. Lightly dry chops with a paper towel.
3. Shake Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides of the chops. There’s salt in the rub already, so you don’t need to add additional salt, unless you just like it.
4. Cover, but do not return to refrigerator. Let them warm up to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
While you wait on the chops to reach room temperature, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 375 degrees.
Once the grill is ready, it’s time to add the chops:
1. Close the lid.
2. Cook to desired doneness. About 15 to 20 minutes total time for Medium (140 to 145). 25 to 30 minutes total time for Well Done (160). Flip the pork chops halfway through cooking.