"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

June 2007


Recipe Summary test

45 mins
1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Soak 1 cup of hardwood chips in water for 1 hour and drain.

  • 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.

  • 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.