elk steak
A meal to enjoy right off the bone. Photo by Christopher Testani. Food and prop styling by Roscoe Betsill

Cooking prized elk steaks directly on hot coals—no grill required—takes no small measure of faith. But trust me: The fiery result delivers that classic charred crust with a perfectly cooked medium-rare interior.


2 bone-in elk loin steaks, cut 1 1⁄2 inches thick

For the coffee-pepper rub:

3 Tbsp. ground coffee

3 Tbsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. kosher salt

1⁄2 tsp. cayenne

1⁄2 tsp. paprika


  1. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator or cooler, and pat with paper towels until they’re very dry. Mix the coffee-pepper rub ingredients together and liberally season both sides of the steaks. Let them rest for 30 minutes.

  2. Start a roaring hardwood fire. When the wood has burned down to coals, use a piece of cardboard or newspaper to fan away the ash. Immediately lay the steaks directly on the coals and let them cook for 3–4 minutes. Flip and cook another 3–4 minutes for medium rare, or 5–6 minutes for medium.

  3. Remove the steaks from the fire and brush away any ash (there should be very little). Transfer them to a plate, and let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

  4. Grab a steak with your hand and eat it right off the bone—like a caveman.