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Campfire Seared Steaks.



Do you like a good steak? Do you want to cook the best steak you ever tasted? That is a tall claim, however, it is true as far as I am concerned. Searing meat seals in the juices and flavors. Even when well done, the steaks are not dry. The secret to searing meat is high-temperatures, and preferable over a stone. No wonder high-end resturants charge $50 for a stone-cooked steak.

There are two secrets to searing steaks. First, you need a high temperature; 500~600deg is sufficient, and second - you need a stone that won't crack or break.

To get that kind of temperature, you can use charcoal - as it tops out at around 600deg. You can also use wood, but you will likely get a much higher temperature, and it can crack the stone.

When selecting the stone, avoid any kind of sedementary rock - limestone, etc. They are not suitable, and they contain moisture that can literally explode at high temperatures.




About a year ago, my brother and I did some experimentation. We used a sedementary rock, and I can attest they will explode. We got the fire up to 900deg, and while it seared the steaks easily enough, the issue is 900deg is just too hot to finish the cooking process without burning the outside layer of the meat. Therefore 500~600deg is ideal as you can use the same heat to both sear and cook the meat.

After we tried this, my youngest son went camping with some friends, and they literally dug out a rock out of a creek, and were successful in cooking their steaks.

The steak stone I am now using is a manufactured stone, made by Island Grillstone. It works well enough, but if not handled properly, it can crack. The trick in keeping the stone from cracking is to bring it up to temperature slowly when you build the fire. Placing a cold stone on a hot fire will surely crack it.

We also use a meat thermometer to determine how we want the steak done. I prefer medium, which is around 160deg F, so I keep the steak on the stone until it reaches that temperature internally.

The basic procedure is to bring the stone up to 500~600deg, then lay the steaks out on the stone. After a couple of minutes, turn to sear the other side - then wait for the thermometer to tell you you have reached your desired internal temperature.

I have also found that round steaks work the best. We use New York Strip in the video, and while it worked well enough, there was not enough even heat across the rock (due to placement of the charcoal); and that resulted in one area of the steak being more well done than the other. So a bit of experimentation may be necessary until you get the hang of it.

Other items you may wish to consider are a pair of gloves to handle the stone, an infrared thermometer, a campfire grill grate, and kitchen utensels. Also, you'll need some olive oil to season the stone.

There are other kinds of stones available, including a Himalayan Salt Stone. But these are expensive, so if it works, no need to buy more stones.


How-to Video.