Birthdays in my family are typically a big event. It’s not that we hold aging a year in such high regard, but mostly just an excuse to eat a ridiculous meal and spend some time together as a family. Just recently, we celebrated my mother’s birthday, and as a treat to her, my sisters and I did all the cooking. We usually like to do something on the grill. Now that it’s fall, there’s not that much time left to be outdoors, as winter will be knocking on our doors soon enough.
This year, Mom asked us to make Bistecca alla Fiorentina, and it took no convincing for me to be 100% on board. This has got to be one of my favorite Italian dishes to make and to eat. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is simply a very thick cut (I’m talking like 4 inches thick) porterhouse steak cooked and seasoned in the Tuscan style. That may seem a bit daunting, but it is really quite simple. I’m going to walk you through the process.
First, you have to find somewhere to acquire such a large piece of meat. There are several butcher shops around the city that will be able to help you out with this. Paulina Meat Market and Gene’s Sausage Shop are two of my favorites. Just tell them what you are making, and they will know exactly what you need. On the other hand, if you happen to be a bit on the crazy side like myself, you can order a whole short loin and cut them yourself, which I enjoy thoroughly.
The real key to cooking a steak like this is not to think of it as a steak. This gets in the way for a lot of people that try to make this dish. With the size of this hunk of meat, it is truly a bone-in roast, and when cooked as such, becomes an amazing meal. So much of Italian cuisine is about cooking and eating family style. In the true Italian style, rarely would you see 8 people getting together for dinner and each person having their own steak. They take up too much space on the grill, and they cook relatively quickly. The meat does not get nearly enough time to absorb all the wonderful flavors from the grill and from cooking on the bone. Besides, taking your time and letting something cook for a while also allows everyone to do what we Italians do best… argue with each other about absolutely nothing!
Here is my recipe for Bistecca alla Fiorentina:
1 Porterhouse Steak (roast) cut 3-4 inches thick
3 Tablespoons Grapeseed Oil
4-5 sprigs fresh Rosemary
3-4 Tablespoons Sara’s Sea Salt, Tuscan Blend
Start by coating the roast with the oil and rub the seasoning all over it very generously. Finely chop 1 sprig of the rosemary and rub it into the roast as well. It may look a bit over seasoned. That’s okay. Remember, this is a very large piece of meat and it will need that much seasoning to bring out the flavors. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, 2 hours if possible.
Next, fire up your grill. Use charcoal if you can. This will result in the most flavor. We used my Big Green Egg… soooo good! You want to get your grill very hot to start, at least 500°.
When the grill is ready, place the roast over the flame and let it sear for 3-4 minutes. Turn it over and do the same on the second side. Remove the roast. Reset your grill for indirect cooking and get the temperature to around 300°. Toss the rest of the rosemary into the fire and place the roast back on the grill and let it cook until it has an internal temperature of 110°, which will take 30-40 minutes. This will result in a perfect, true medium rare. Let the roast rest for at least 15 minutes before you carve and serve.