September in the Kitchen – Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Potato Hobo Packs and Pickled Chilis

If you are a camper you have probably heard of “hobo packs”. It’s a classic campfire trick of wrapping ingredients in foil and cooking them directly in the coals. In our case we have a gas grill, so the packs were placed directly on the grill. The potatoes were par-cooked for a few minutes, sprinkled with salt, drizzled with sesame oil and finally wrapped with aluminum foil to place on the grate for 15 to 20 minutes until tender.

A few comments on to the subject of steaks on the BBQ: My personal preference is for rib eye (preferably from the center cut) or New York cuts. They are the perfect combination of tenderness and flavor. Look for ones that are uniform and well marbled. Good steaks require little more than salt, but be sure you bring them to room temperature before cooking. For a bit of extra umami I used sea salt flavored with powdered sea weed.

One steak will easily feed two adults, maybe three, if you cut it into slices (once rested so the juices settle). My mother told a favorite story about my English grandmother’s first visit to a steak restaurant in the U.S. Nanny was unfamiliar with the typically generous portions served. When they placed her steak in front of her she protested that she didn’t want to carve for everyone! I won’t get on a soap box here (at least not too much) but I think portions have gotten out of hand in many restaurants. We would all be better off with vegetables taking the center stage and meat the supporting role.

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Hobo Potatoes and Pickled Chiles

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Hobo Potatoes and Pickled Chiles

Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Hobo Potatoes and Pickled Chiles

  • For the steaks:
    • 1 – 2 rib eye steaks, 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick
    • Sea salt with dried seaweed (or 1 tablespoon crushed bonito flakes and 1 tablespoon kosher salt). Don’t over worry if you don’t have these on hand. You could also use a minced anchovy or simply leave it out.
    • olive oil
  • For the potatoes
    • 1 pound of scrubbed new potatoes or larger ones cut in chunks
    • kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • optional: 4 shiso leaves cut into chiffanade (or cilantro)
  • For the pickled chiles
    • Juice of 2 limes
    • 2 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced (or jalapeños for more heat)
    • 1 tablespoon minced red onion
  • For garnish
    • cubed avocado
  1. First season both sides of the steaks with sea salt flavored with sea weed (or the crushed bonito flakes or anchovy). Let them come to room temperature, about 2 hours. Drizzle both sides with olive oil.
  2. Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water (you can start most things that are in the ground, such as potatoes or carrots, in cold water). Add about a tablespoon of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down the temperature to medium. cook until they are firm tender, 10-15 minutes depending on size. Drain.
  3. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pieces if large. Arrange them in the center of a large rectangle of heavy duty aluminum foil, drizzle with sesame oil. Pull the ends of the foil together and fold over to seal. Crimp the sides to make a package with the potatoes inside.
  4. Make the pickled chiles by combining the lime juice, chiles, and red onion in a small bowl. Mix to combine and add salt to taste. Use them immediately for the most heat and tartness, or cover and refrigerate for a few days. They will become milder with time.
  5. Prepare your charcoal grill or preheat the gas one to 450-500 degrees F. When the fire is ready add the steaks and grill, turning once, for 2 to 3 minutes a side. Cover the grill and continue to cook (turning once) until done to your liking. The time will depend the thickness of the steak. This could take 5 to 15 minutes. The internal temperature for medium rare is 120 degrees F. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let rest.
  6. Put the potatoes on the grill or rest them in the coals. Cook until tender and beginning to brown, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Transfer the potatoes to a large platter and sprinkle with cilantro or shiso or basil. Season with sea salt. Slice the steak into thick slices and arrange on the potatoes. Spoon some of the pickled chiles on top, reserving additional chiles to be added to taste.
  8. Garnish with avocado and more cilantro (or shiso).
  9. Serve.
    Grilled Rib Eye Steaks the Hobo Potato Packs and Pickled Chilies

    Grilled Rib Eye Steaks the Hobo Potato Packs and Pickled Chilies

    This recipe is adapted from one that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle Food section this past July.

    Pour yourself a glass of rose to sip while your meal cooks on the grill. You only need a simple salad to complete things. The “meat and potato” fans in your household will be pleased.

    I’m taking this to share on Fiesta Friday #84 sponsored by Angie from the blog The Novice Gardener co-hosted by Effie at Food Daydreaming and Steffie at Ginger and Bread. It’s my first post on the party site for several weeks (summer vacation is history, here we are September!). Come join the fun and fantasy taste some really amazing dishes.

    Fiesta Friday

    Fiesta Friday

13 thoughts on “September in the Kitchen – Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Potato Hobo Packs and Pickled Chilis

  1. Great recipe! You’ve inspired me to make hobo packs for potatoes again Liz. They are so good! Love the addition of the pickled chile and cubed avocado. Perfect recipe for the Labor Day weekend. YUM!

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