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Campfire Steaks with Smoky Onions

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Campfire Steaks with Smoky Onions

Campfire Steaks with Smoky Onions

Jessica Braider
Although we don’t eat much meat at our house, once in a while a juicy grilled steak really hits the spot (you can grill extra-firm tofu or portobello mushrooms, as we often do, instead of the meat). When we were growing up, we sometimes cooked over a fire pit that my mom and godmother constructed up on a hill in New Hampshire. Now I cook over a gas grill, but I found that when I rub the steaks with chili powder and sear them over high heat so they get the lovely grill marks, it tastes like we cooked them over an open fire (without all the perils of the flare-ups and smoke in our eyes).
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 3 rib eye steaks, 12 -16 oz. each or use sliced extra-firm tofu or portobello mushrooms
  • 3 1/2 tsp. chili powder or more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (alternatively, for indoor cooking, use a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat). Season both sides of the steaks evenly with ½ tsp. chili powder, and set them aside.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat, and add the oil. When it is hot, add the onions, garlic, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, the cayenne pepper (optional), and 1 Tbsp. water. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover it and continue cooking until the onions are medium brown, 8 - 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • With the lid closed (no need to cover, if you’re using a skillet), grill the steaks without moving them to the desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove the steaks to a plate or cutting board (if time allows, let the meat rest on the cutting board for 5 minutes before slicing it). Slice the steaks into strips, and serve them topped with the onions.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  • Season the steaks as directed, and place them in the slow cooker, stacking them, if necessary. Add water to reach halfway up the steaks. Top the steaks with the onions and garlic, drizzle the oil on top for added flavor or omit it if desired, and top the onions/garlic with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6 - 7 hours or on high for 3 - 4 hours, until desired degree of doneness is reached. Remove the steaks, then use a slotted spoon to scoop out the onions. (Slow cooker cooking times may vary—Get to know your slow cooker and, if necessary, adjust cooking times accordingly.)


Do Ahead or Delegate: Drain the tofu if you are using it, slice the tofu or mushrooms if you are using them, rub the steak with chili powder and refrigerate, halve and slice the onion, peel the garlic, cook the onions and garlic.
Scramble Flavor Booster: Use the optional cayenne pepper and grind some fresh black pepper over the steaks when serving.
Tip: Rib eye is a real treat for the taste buds!  Because of the marbling naturally present in this cut of meat, it's full of flavor and stays tender while cooking.
Nutritional Information Per Serving (% based upon daily values): Calories 410, Total Fat: 28g, 42.5%; Saturated Fat: 11g, 53%; Cholesterol: 135mg, 45%; Sodium: 104mg, 4.5%; Total Carbohydrate: 3g, 1%; Dietary Fiber: 1g, 3%; Sugar: 1g; Protein: 36g
Like this recipe? Check out The Scramble's family-friendly meal plans to see just how simple getting dinner on the table can be!
Keyword 30 Minutes (or less) Meals, Company/Entertaining, Dairy-Free, Fall, Gluten-Free, Grilling, Kid-Friendly, Kosher, Low Sodium, Main Dish, Make-Ahead, No Added Sugar, Nut-Free, Slow Cooker, Spring, Summer, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
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