Years ago, when we were hiring the management team for a Plant that I was opening we’d take the prospective managers to Barbacoa’s in Boise and wine & dine them. 

My favorite was their steak on a hot rock. I mean, how can you not love ribeyes? They are the ultimate steak.

Shortly thereafter buddies Fredy Riehl and Brian Johnson, owners of AmmolandShootingSportsNews came out to visit me from New Jersey and we were going to fly into the Frank Church and get dropped off.

The first night they were in town we grabbed Ron & Betsy Spomer, my wife Katy and we all went to Barbacoa’s and had ribeyes on a hot rock.

Here’s how it works, you order your steak really rare. Then as you eat, you cut a bite size chunk, sear it on the 600-degree rock to your satisfaction and then eat it. 

When they serve it, they have some kind of sauce that they pour on it and light it on fire. I could att. a video but my cell phone recently took a full cycle in the washing machine!

On our backcountry trip we ended up with a couple of grouse. We dug a smooth rock out of the river and placed it in the middle of our fire.

We boned out the grouse and laid it on the hot rock and seasoned it. Why hadn’t I thought of doing this before?

To do it right, you need to carry a little grease to lubricate the rock but still, it was a nice addition to our MRE meals. Fast forward a few yrs. The other day I was backpacking and noticed a lot of slick black rocks. Then it hit me. I had a freezer full of ribeyes at home, why not try cooking some on a hot rock?

The only problem was, I for sure wasn’t going to pack a pile of rocks out of the backcountry.

No biggee, on the way driving out of the backcountry, I kept an eye peeled for a steak sized rock that was flat and not over 2-inches thick so as not to be too heavy. 

I never did see any of the black rocks that I wanted but was able to find a few granite type of rocks that would have to suffice until I had a chance to grab the preferred rocks.

I got home and washed the dirt off. Then I took my grinder and knocked off the coarse surface and lichens. (I remember reading once about some elk dying from eating too many lichens). I washed them off good and then scrubbed them off a bit with a wire pad.

 I then set them outside to dry. I remember Uncle Wayne telling me about putting a river rock in his campfire to set a coffee pot on to heat coffee water and it exploded. Didn’t want that to happen in the oven or while serving the family.

Well, show time arrived. I threw the rocks on a cookie sheet, placed them in the oven and cranked the heat up to 450. Shortly thereafter I turned on my Camp Chef pellet grill, and threw four thick ribeyes on the grill to smoke.

I didn’t want to cook them on the grill, just give them a good smoke flavor. I had put a little bacon fat that was left over after frying some bacon that morning on the rocks when I started heating them. The secret is to not overcook the steaks on the smoker. You want to throw them on the rock super, super rare. 

Then serve them to everyone. Being served rare, that way each person can cook their steak exactly to their satisfaction. DO Not, leave it too long on the smoker.

The steaks were great. Now to perfect the system and find some exact rocks like I’m wanting.

Does anyone know how to make the sauce that Barbacoa’s pours on as they serve you the steak?

It looks like thin gravy but when they hit it with a lighter to it flames up big time for a moment. If you do, please forward a recipe to Tony so he can get it to me.

As we close. This will be a great way to cook your deer, elk, antelope and moose steaks. It’d also be great for grouse and fish. Check it out. Happy Eating.

Tom Claycomb is a hunting enthusiast and writes a bi-monthly column for the Humboldt Sun.