• Preparation
    5 min
  • Cook Time
    7-8 Min
  • Serves
  • Difficulty

Behind the Recipe

The New (Old) Way to Get that Steakhouse Crust

You love the crust of a well cooked steak, but it’s not always so easy to pull off. How do steakhouses get it to look and taste so good night after night? With this recipe for Dirty Cowboy Ribeyes, it’s all about the cut and the sear. 

Maybe you’ve heard them called dirty steaks or “caveman style” steaks… when you cook a ribeye not over charcoal but directly on charcoal! 

Ribeyes are perfect for this recipe because of the fat that renders while searing to form a deep, delicious crust! In fact, the reason we call it a cowboy steak is because thick-cut ribeyes are big, hearty, and rugged. They can be made just as easily around a campfire as they can on a charcoal grill. 

If you’ve never tried it, you might be wondering if the coals, ashes, or debris will stick to the steak. The answer is… yeah a little, but it all adds to the flavor. Here are a few extra tips for making the perfect Dirty Cowboy Ribeye:

  • Let your ribeyes sit out at room temperature to take the chill off.
  • Use only lump or wood charcoal. Do not use charcoal briquettes. Oftentimes, the store bought briquettes have been treated with lighter fluid or other chemicals. 
  • Wait until the coals are white hot instead of black. That’s when you know you’re ready to place your steaks directly on them. 
  • Wait until after cooking to coat your steak with black pepper so it doesn’t burn while searing on the coals.
  • During cooking, the fat from your steaks will render down onto the coals. When it’s time to flip them, remove the steak for a moment and stir the coals.

We hope you enjoy this recipe for Dirty Cowboy Ribeyes.



  • 2 8-10 oz bone-in ribeye steaks
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup fresh black pepper
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon (optional)


  1. Allow your ribeyes to sit out at room temperature for about 20 minutes to take the chill off and soften the protein strands. 
  2. Coat your ribeyes lightly with olive oil to help the salt stick. 
  3. Light a batch of natural lump charcoal making sure not to use any lighter fluid ( no one likes the taste of lighter fluid). 
  4. Once your lump coals are hot, carefully spread out a base layer on your Nexgrill charcoal grill. Do not place your steaks on all black coals. You’ll know your coals are ready when they’re ashed over and white. 
  5. While the coals are heating, season your ribeyes liberally with kosher salt. You can also add cinnamon during this step to give your steaks a sweet and smoky flavor.

Cooking Instructions

  1. 1

    With your lump coals white hot, place your ribeyes directly on top of the coals, and cook roughly 3 minutes for rare, 3.5 minutes for medium rare, and 4 minutes for medium.

  2. 2

    About halfway through searing the first side, rotate your ribeyes 90º to make sure the entire surface has contact with the searing coals.

  3. 3

    Flip your steaks, and repeat the same steps for the second side. (During cooking, the fat from your steaks will render down onto the coals. When it’s time to flip them, remove the steak for a moment and stir the coals. )

  4. 4

    Repeat the same steps on the second side, rotating 90º halfway through. For rare (125ºF), cook another 2 minutes. For medium rare (135ºF), cook another 3 minutes, and for medium (140º), cook another 3 minutes.

  5. 5

    Remove the ribeyes with a trusty set of tongs, brush off any excess ash, and let rest for 10 minutes so the juices inside can settle.

  6. 6

    Serve and enjoy!

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