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Cookin’ With Hoss: Pepper Steak (a la Chef Roi)

Cookin’ With Hoss: Pepper Steak (a la Chef Roi)

  • This installment of "Cookin' With Hoss" originally appeared in the March 2024 innovation and technology issue of COMO Magazine.
Hoss Koetting's Pepper Steak topped with bacon onion mixture.

Old school, anachronism, O.G., dinosaur.  I’ve been called all of these, sometimes affectionately (sometimes not), but by and large, pretty accurately. I came up in restaurant kitchens when technological advancements were the microwave and food processor, both tried and true additions to the kitchen.

When I was trained on the grill, although kitchen thermometers were present, they were the slow-read mechanical types, so they took thirty to forty-five seconds to register the temp, which is an eternity over a hot grill, so I was trained by the cooks how to judge the doneness by touch. While not exact, with enough practice, you get pretty darned good at it.

Now I’m not totally opposed to the new technology. I don’t embrace change merely for the sake of change, or just because there’s a new way of doing something that has been done effectively for eons. One example of new tech that we used at Hoss’s Market was the Vulcan Flash Bake oven, using technology developed in 1993. This would cook with high-intensity light and infrared energy, producing a sandwich that would have the texture and taste in about two minutes that would take about five or six minutes in a traditional oven, while having a footprint the size of a microwave. 

Unfortunately, they were expensive and the demand wasn’t enough to make them profitable, so they were discontinued in 2010.

Bright yellow digital meat thermometer resting on its lid.

Another tech advancement that has had a more successful stint is the instant-read digital food thermometer. I find this indispensable for roasts, some sauces, holding foods, fryer oil temps, and a variety of other uses. One use, though, that drives me nuts, is when line cooks overuse them to check temps on burgers, chicken breasts, and steaks. Back to my old school method of cooking, I don’t understand why the item coming off of the grill should look like a pin cushion when it doesn’t need to.

A relatively new solution to this problem for the “culinarily dubious” or the novice is a bluetooth thermometer. These use a heat-resistant probe that communicates with a monitor or your phone. The downside is that most of them have only one probe, so if you need to monitor multiple items, you’re S.O.L., although there is one available with four probes for about $300!  

Pepper Steak (à la Chef Roi)


  • 4 USDA Prime steak, Ribeye, K.C. Strip, or Filet
  • Coarse, freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil, to fry steaks
  • 4 cups chopped green onions
  • 1 cup crispy bacon bits
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. Hoss’s Steak Seasoning


  1. Generously coat steaks with freshly ground pepper.
  2. Place the temperature probe in the center of the steak, and fry in a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over moderately high heat until seared on the outside and to desired doneness.
    (Rare: 125 degrees; Med Rare: 135 degrees; Med: 140 degrees)
  3. Let rest 10 minutes
  4. Melt the butter over low heat.When bubbling, add bacon bits, then green onions. 
  5. Sauté until onions are wilted.
  6. Remove from heat and add Worcestershire and steak seasoning.
  7. Top steaks with bacon-onion mixture.

Jim "Hoss" Koetting

Jim “Hoss” Koetting is a retired restaurateur/chef who enjoys gardening, good food, good bourbon, and good friends.

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