It’s grilling season, and meat master Tuffy Stone has a foolproof recipe for summer cooking that can satisfy a crowd. A memory from the man himself: “The first time I made this recipe, I was competing in the Kingsford Invitational barbecue competition in New York City, as part of the One Bite Challenge, with a winner-take-all $5,000 prize. I had to present and explain my dish to the judges while they tasted it in front of me. I could tell they liked it. When my team won, one of the judges, Ed Mitchell, a pitmaster from North Carolina, told me, ‘Tuffy, you’re one tough dude.’ I took it as a compliment. The balsamic drizzle added to the steaks just before serving adds a brightness that cuts through the fat in the brown butter bacon sauce.”

Serves 4.

Best cooked in the Lili, with the Heather.


  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

  • 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) salted butter, divided

  • ½ c. bacon, finely diced

  • ½ c. balsamic vinegar

  • 4 New York strip steaks (8 to 10 oz. each)


Combine the salt and pepper and season the steaks evenly on both sides. Let them sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking.

Meanwhile, to make the brown butter sauce, melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a small cast-iron skillet, like the Heather, over medium-low heat. Add the diced bacon and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fat is three-fourths rendered, and the bacon is not yet crispy. Add the remaining butter and cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until the butter smells nutty and turns brown. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof container, cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil, and set aside until ready to use. 

Clean the cast-iron skillet and return it to medium-low heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vinegar is reduced by half, but be careful not to over-reduce the vinegar, as this will make it bitter. Transfer the sauce to a heatproof container, cover loosely, and set aside until ready to use. (Note: You can also swap the order of these sauces and then cook everything in the Lili for a one-pan version, cooking the steaks in the remnants of the bacon sauce.)

When you are ready to cook, either heat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, using the direct-heat grilling method, or cook in a large cast-iron skillet on stove or over coals by browning the steaks on both sides, flipping occasionally and cooking to your preferred doneness.

When grilling, place the steaks directly over the heat and cook 4 minutes, then rotate them 90 degrees and cook another 4 minutes. Flip the steaks, and cook 4 minutes, then rotate them 90 degrees and cook an additional 4 minutes, or until a meat thermometer placed in the thickest part of the steak reads an internal temperature of 125 degrees Fahrenheit (aka medium rare). Remove from the heat and let the steaks rest 5 minutes before serving.

To plate, top each steak with 1½ to 2 Tbsp. of warm bacon-brown butter mixture, and drizzle each with 1½ tsps. of the balsamic reduction. Pass any additional sauces around the table.

Recipe courtesy of Tuffy Stone. Photo by Ken Goodman.

June 29, 2023

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