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Tex-Mex Porterhouse Steaks

"I grill everything straight out of the refrigerator," Steven Raichlen says. "When you think about how hot a grill gets—650 to 800 degrees—the difference in cooking time between room-temperature meat and cold meat is mere seconds." To illustrate this point, Raichlen chose one of the thickest steaks around: the porterhouse. He sprinkles the steak with Southwestern spices, then mops it with an equal-parts mixture of beer, coffee and Worcestershire, which he likes because "it has very adult flavors," he says. "Mop sauces don't necessarily taste great by themselves; they exist to keep food moist and add an extra layer of flavor. And mopping a steak gives you something cool to do while grilling."

Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure ancho or mulato chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Two 2 1/2-pound porterhouse steaks, cut 2 inches thick
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup lager beer
  • 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce


  1. Soak 1 cup of hardwood chips in water for 1 hour and drain.
  2. Light a charcoal grill. In a small bowl, mix the salt with the chile powder, black pepper, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne pepper and cumin. Sprinkle the rub all over the steaks. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Stir in the beer, coffee and Worcestershire sauce and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Move two-thirds of the hot coals to one side of the grill to create a high-heat zone and leave the remaining third in the center to create a moderate-heat zone. Oil the grate, sprinkle the wood chips over the high-heat zone and grill the steaks over high heat for 3 minutes. Slide the steaks to the moderate-heat zone and grill for 10 minutes, rotating the steaks after 2 minutes to make crosshatches, if desired. Turn the steaks over and grill over high heat for 3 minutes. Brush the steaks with the coffee mop and move them to moderate heat. Grill the steaks for 10 minutes longer or until an instant-read thermometer registers 125° for medium-rare, mopping twice more. Transfer the steaks to a carving board and let rest for 10 minutes, then carve into thick slices.

Make Ahead

The spice-rubbed steaks can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours.

Suggested Pairing

When a wine has notes of coffee—flavors that echo those in this recipe—it''s usually because it was aged in barrels that were charred on the inside. For a good example of this, consider a Shiraz or a Shiraz-Viognier blend, which would be delicious with this steak.

Contributed By Published June 2007

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