T-Bone Steak Cowboy Style


Either a T-bone or a porterhouse steak—the best choices, since chewing on the bone is the most satisfying part—can be used in this recipe. Have them cut no less than one inch thick, leaving enough fat for maximum flavor, and cook them over real charcoal. I developed this recipe for James Beard.


  • 4 one-pound T-bone steaks, inches thick
  • 4 large sweet red onions, peeled
  • ½ cup clarified butter
  • teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce
  • 12 sprigs cilantro


Start a charcoal fire or heat the broiler.

Let the steaks come to room temperature.

Slice the onions ¼ inch thick and place the slices on a baking sheet or broiler pan. Paint them with the clarified butter, sprinkle with thyme, season, and cook under the broiler very slowly. The heat should be low. Cook the onions for 20 minutes, basting them with more butter every 5 minutes. They are cooked when tender and golden brown.

Season the steaks and grill over the charcoal until rare or medium-rare, about 8 minutes each side. Serve on hot plates with the onions. Spoon a bit of barbecue sauce on each onion and garnish the plate with the cilantro. Serve the remaining sauce separately.