Sizzling Pleasures: Matt Hranek’s Perfect Steak 

Alexander Kraft

Alexander Kraft’s good friend Matt Hranek is a man of many monikers, not least a bon vivant and a seasoned world traveler. Many know him as the editor of the influential WM Brown magazine; however, he also authored several books that quickly gained acclaim in the menswear community. “A Man & His Watch” chronicled iconic watches from around the world and the fascinating stories that accompanied them. This widely successful book was followed in 2020 by “A Man & His Car” and included two of Alexander’s rides from his large vintage stable, his 1968 Ferrari 365GT 2+2 and his customised Range Rover Classic Vogue LSE with bespoke bar (including coffee machine and gun drawer) in the trunk. Over the years, Alexander and Matt have shared many memorable adventures and meals together across the continents, from Italian trattorias to French brasseries and American diners, usually with a Negroni (or two, often three!) in tow. Now Matt’s latest, most personal book has just hit bookshelves around the world, “A Man & His Kitchen”,  celebrating Matt’s insatiable love for cooking and hosting. On the occasion of the book’s launch, Matt has kindly allowed us to publish exclusively a small excerpt, describing how to cook the perfect steak, ideally suited for the kind of indulgent late night snack which Alexander and Matt have shared on more than one occasion ! Bon appétit!


For years, whenever I was on my own up at the farm with Charlie, my Patterdale terrier, RIP, I’d find myself making the same meal for dinner: grilled steak and an iceberg wedge salad with blue cheese dressing. I’d put on the Rolling Stones Let It Bleed and fire up the Weber, grab a bottle from the wine nook, where our special wines are kept, likely a Grand Cru Bordeaux, then make the dressing.
Once the steak came off the grill to rest, I’d set the table with cloth napkins, good crystal, and often a candle. This might seem excessive when I had only the dog to impress, but I liked the ritual of it. There I was, seated at the table with the full attention of the dog, listening to “Gimme Shelter,” with an epic meal before us.
The rib eye is my favorite cut of steak. There is usually a nice amount of marbling, which means a good amount of fat (and flavor!), so that it cooks nicely over a charcoal fire without drying out. A well-sourced rib eye needs no more than a good dusting of salt and some cracked pepper as seasoning. I sear the steak over a hot direct flame to create a crust and then move it to an indirect heat source. A touch technique gives me an idea of when it’s ready. The less resistance, the rarer it is; the denser it feels, the more well done it is. You can use a meat thermometer to be exact: 120°F (49°C) for rare, 130°F (54°C) for medium-rare (my preference), and 140°F (60°C) for medium. (I would never cook a steak beyond medium-rare.) Indoors, I use a cast-iron pan over very high heat, with a combination of butter and oil. I start by searing the sides to form a crust, and then cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, flipping only once.
Some people like to baste with butter, but I normally forgo this step. The rib eye and the wedge are a winning combination.


Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, and freshly ground black pepper.
Let the steak come to room temperature on the counter at least 30 minutes and up to an hour before cooking. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
Build a very hot hardwood lump charcoal fire in a Weber or other kettle grill.
When the coals are hot, gray, and glowing, place the steak on the hottest part of the grill, over direct heat. Sear for about 4 minutes per side over very hot charcoal, and then pull the meat onto indirect heat to cook until it reaches your desired doneness (mine is medium-rare).
Transfer the steak to a plate and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes while serving. (The temperature of the meat will continue to rise as the juices lock in.)
A Man & His Kitchen is available now on Amazon and from stylish book sellers everywhere.

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