Richard Harris’ Dry-Rubbed Sirloin of Beef with Burnt Onions

Beef Sirloin_resized for web

This is an impressive dish to serve to a crowd and a far easier way to cook beef than juggling loads of steaks on the barbecue. By starting the beef off over indirect heat, you’ll have beautifully tender, evenly cooked meat that just needs a quick flash over direct heat to finish. Serve thickly sliced with the burnt onions.

Serves 8

2kg boneless sirloin joint
For the rub:
1½ tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon hot smoked paprika
1 tablespoon dark brown soft sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary

For the burnt onions:
1 garlic bulb
3 red onions, peeled but roots left intact
3 sweet white onions, peeled but roots left intact
1 bunch of fat spring onions, trimmed
4 banana shallots, peeled and halved lengthways
3 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon grain mustard pinch of caster sugar


Preheat the barbecue for indirect grilling. Score the fat on top of the beef joint at regular intervals, taking care not to cut through to the meat. Combine all the rub ingredients in a small bowl. The next step can get messy, so lay the beef in a large tray before covering it with the rub; really work it into the flesh.

Push a digital probe thermometer into the centre of the beef.

Lift the beef out of the tray and lay fat-side up on the grill, then sit the garlic bulb next to it. Close the lid and cook for 2–2½ hours or until the thermometer reads 50°C (it will climb another 6°C during the resting stage)

Remove the garlic and beef from the grill and adjust the barbecue for direct grilling.

Sear the beef for about 10 minutes until lightly charred, then remove from the heat and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

While the beef is resting, prepare the burnt onions. Cut all the onions into thick wedges through the root; this will stop them from falling apart as they cook. Lay on the grill with the spring onions and shallots and grill for 10 minutes until charred and softened, turning occasionally. Remove the onions and set aside until cool enough to handle.

Trim away the roots, and separate into individual leaves. Roughly chop the spring onions.
Cut the top off the garlic bulb and squeeze the soft flesh into a large bowl.

Add the thyme, oil, vinegar, mustard, sugar and any juices from the resting beef. Stir to combine, then add the charred onions and toss to coat. Carve the beef and serve with the burnt onions.

Fire and Smoke by Richard Harris is out now (Kyle Books, £19.99). Photography by Martin Poole.

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