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It may sound odd, but the sugar caramelizes on these sugar-grilled steaks for an unusual taste sensation. This method is best used with steaks less than 1-inch thick, otherwise the sugar will burn before the beef is done.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 boneless strip steaks (each about 3/4-inch thick and weighing 8 ozs, see Author's note below)
  • Plenty of coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons granulated or light brown sugar (see Author's note)


Place the steaks on a large platter and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar on the top of each steak and rub into the meat with the back of a spoon. Turn the steaks over and repeat.

Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. It's a good idea to light the fire in such a way as to have a cooler section of the grill. That way, if the sugar starts to burn over high heat, you can move the steaks to a section that is less hot.

When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the steaks on the hot grate at a 45 degree angle to the bars of the grate so that they all face the same way. Grill the steaks until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare, rotating them 90 degrees after 3 minutes to create a handsome crosshatch of grill marks. Check the underside of the steaks as they cook by lifting one edge. If the crust starts to burn, move the steaks to a cooler part of the grill.

Transfer the grilled steaks to a platter and reseason with salt and pepper. Let the steaks rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Author's Note:
I've prepared the recipe using either brown or white sugar. The latter seems to caramelize a touch better, but both work well. And don't be stingy with the salt. You need it to offset the sweetness. Sugar burns when grilled, so you will need to choose a steak that is fairly thin and quick cooking -- 3/4- to 1-inch thick is ideal. Don't try this on a thick porterhouse steak. The burnt sugar will become bitter before the meat is cooked through.

Source: Beer-Can Chicken by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing)
Reprinted with permission.

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