How to Grill Ribeye With Charcoal

What is more satisfying than a thick juicy rare rib-eye? How about one cooked over coals. The benefits of charcoal grilling are many; namely it allows for complete control over where you arrange the heat, and it leaves whatever you are cooking with a rich smoky flavor. Grilling rib-eye over coals is quick and easy and produces a satisfying hunk of meat. Salt, pepper, charcoal and a match are all it takes to turn a bloody steak into a work of art.

Things You'll Need

  • Tongs

  • Olive oil

Step 1

Light the charcoal. The most efficient way to light charcoal without the use of starter fluid is with a chimney starter (tall metal cylinders that you fill with the charcoal and then light paper underneath to concentrate heat). Once alight, the coals take about 20 minutes to heat until they are ready for the meat. Use just enough charcoal to fill the chimney starter (approximately 100 charcoal briquettes). If you are using liquid fire starter instead, arrange the coals first (listed in step 2) and then soak and light. If you are grilling other things ahead of the rib eye, add fresh charcoal to the already heated coals before you put the meat on. See "Fire Starter" in the resources for more information on safe fire starting methods.

Step 2

Arrange the coals for indirect-heat grilling. You want to arrange the coals with tongs after they are lit, unless you are using liquid fire starter. There are two methods to grill; with direct and indirect heat, rib-eye needs indirect heating, therefore spread the coals out concentrated around the edges of the grill pan (for direct-heat grilling the coals would be spread evenly).

Step 3

Prepare the steaks. Use whatever rub you desire, salt and pepper at the least. For a spicy rub, combine 1 tbsp each or black pepper, white pepper, paprika and garlic powder, 2 tsp salt and ½ tsp cayenne pepper. Press the rub into the steaks and allow them to sit at room temperature for a few minutes.

Step 4

Oil the bars on the grill lightly with olive oil, and place the steaks directly over the area with coals to get grill marks. Turn once (after a few seconds of searing) and move to the center of the grill without coals underneath and cook on each side for four minutes a side for rare, and five minutes a side for medium-rare. For medium to well done steaks, cook for 8 to 10 minutes on each side.


Turn the steaks with tongs. If you slice into the meat you will release all of the good juices. The only reason you may need to pierce the meat is if you are using a meat thermometer (not necessary) but the internal temperature on a thermometer should read 120 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare steaks. When reading the temperature, try not to touch the bone.

Pair rib-eye steaks with hearty red wines, such as a Sirah or Malbec.


Clean the grill before each cooking session. Use a rough grill brush to scrape off old carbon residue.

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