Noah Bernamoff is the best kind of obsessive.
The Montreal-born wunderkind who has taught New York, the delicatessen capital of the world, a new thing or two about deli, is not content just serving juicy, spicy, award-winning smoked meat at his Mile End restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan. The 30-year-old also rolls up his sleeves at home in Park Slope, where he and his wife, Rae, like to host a collection of friends they’ve been amassing since they were McGill undergrads.
“We live on the top floor of our building, so the roof deck belongs to us,” Bernamoff says with a grin. “I have a really sweet set-up there.”
The lawstudent-turned-charcutier has rigged up his own smoker-grill combo, where he prepares big cuts of meat on his nights off. “My pet peeve about having people over is scrubbing a million pots and pans, so I love grilling.”
Along with oversized steaks, Bernamoff might serve a couple of room-temperature salads or simple grilled vegetables. Absolutely nothing fancy.
“Even if it’s not summer, we eat on the roof,” he says. “For me, entertaining at home is all about making it fun.”
Smoked rib-eye for eight
2 three-pound bone-in rib-eye steaks (ask your butcher to cut them from the fore section, if possible)
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wood chips (preferably a mix of oak and hickory)
One day in advance, lightly dry the meat with a paper towel before seasoning it generously with coarse salt on all sides and laying it on a raised rack in the refrigerator to cure overnight. A few hours prior to cooking, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature.
Create both direct and indirect heat on a gas or charcoal grill, making sure the direct side is quite hot. Season the steaks with pepper on all sides and place them directly over high heat. Sear for 8 minutes per side, keeping the grill lid open.
Remove the steaks from the grill and, if using gas, pack wood chips into a foil pouch pierced several times with a fork. Place the pouch on a hot burner. (If using charcoal, a handful of wood chips can go directly onto the hot coals.)
Once the wood begins to smoulder, reduce the heat (or minimize airflow to coals) and place the seared steaks over indirect heat. Close the lid. Try to maintain a grill temperature of approximately 225 F and allow the meat to smoke for an hour.
Remove it from the grill and let rest 30 minutes before cutting the meat off the bone and slicing against the grain on a slight bias.
Garnish the meat with an assortment of fresh greens (asparagus, spring onion and miner’s lettuce are shown above) and serve on a platter, family-style.