Meat eaters–Mind your fingers

WARNING: Attempting this recipe without due caution could be harmful to your fingers. No, really…

HICKORY SMOKED Fillet of BEEF; Pommes de terre et salade

Today’s recipe takes a posh piece of meat (The Beef Fillet) and makes it deliciously available to us commoners. It’s also for those fans of the Weber or “closed in” type of braais (barbeques for the millions of my non-South African readers).

Those unfortunate enough to be closely acquainted with me, will know that I prefer an open wood fire to the modern, almost clinical, Webers or Weber wannabes. However, since we invested in a Cobb some while back, it seemed senseless to leave it lying in the cupboard until the next expedition.

Essentially, having acquired your piece of fillet (about 700g will feed 2 adults), you cover it in herbs ‘n spices all under a layer of butter or oil; shove it in the Weber/Cobb until done and serve with chips, gravy, salad and (if you’re feeling energetic) pumpkin fritters.

But if you would like some additional details:


  • 700g Beef Fillet
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • 1/2 large onion – finely chopped
  • 1/4 red bell pepper – finely chopped
  • 1 heaped teaspoon mixed herbs
  • Ground black pepper – to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander
  • 2 Tablespoons olive or sunflower oil (optionally you can use same qty of butter)
  • 2/3 of a cup of Hickory wood chips – soaked for 15 minutes before adding to fire.



We like our meat cooked on the medium side of medium rare so the cooking times you see here are to achieve that level of ‘done’. When we cook for guests we use a meat thermometer to avoid overdoing the meat.

  1. Mix all the herbs and spices, and massage into the fillet.
  2. Cover the fillet with the oil or butter.
  3. Wrap the fillet in cling wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

The fillet after unwrapping the clingwrap.

Light the fire and wait until flames die down.

Waiting in flaming anticipation

...and now the coals are ready









Place fillet in the Cobb, spread about a 2 teaspoon knob of butter onto the fillet and cook for approximately 20 minutes.

The fillet lying submissively on the grid.

After 20 minutes, place the soaked wood chips on the coals and replace the lid. Continue cooking/smoking for another 10 to 15 minutes. This provides a more subtle smoky flavour than if you let the meat steep in the smoke for the full duration

The fillet - smoking away - oblivious of the fact that smoking is dangerous to one's health.

At this time you can prepare your potato chips, salad and pumpkin fritters. Oh yes, don’t forget to make a gravy. A nice easy way is to take 1 beef stock cube and 1 vegetable stock cube. Add 2 cups of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of Worcester Sauce, onion and garlic flakes to taste, mixed herbs and a bouquet garni. Simmer for a few minutes before thickening with corn flour in the normal fashion.

If you’re measuring the internal temperature of the meat, here’s a guideline for the various stages:

  • 140°F or 60°C   –   Rare
  • 150°F or 66°C   –   Medium Rare
  • 160°F or 71°C   –   Medium
  • 170°F or 77 °C   –   Well done

Ready to be trasferred to the kitchen

When the meat is done to satisfaction, remove from the fire and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Carve the meat into 10mm thick slices and serve.

Back in the kitchen, Mrs Chips showing knife skills that oughtn't to be trifled with.

HICKORY SMOKED Fillet of BEEF; Pommes de terre et salade - a meal that nearly cost us our fingers.



About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
This entry was posted in Humour - or humor, Recipes. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Meat eaters–Mind your fingers

  1. I’ve not eaten meat like this for so long! I’m EXTREMELY jealous.

    • Hi Frugal,

      Thanks for popping by. I hope your visit has been entertaining. I’ve just seen your blog and it is excellently laid out – and profoundly inspiring. I’ll be visiting regularly and I’m looking forward to having a bash at some of your recipes.

      I have to confess that the meal in this blog is not a regular occurrence as the fillet certainly is a luxurious cut of beef. However, we live in an area where cattle and game are farmed for beef and venison – for which we are extremely grateful (I’ve just had to politely decline an offer of 120kg of prime venison (Eland) – because I don’t have a large freezer…sigh… I irritatingly dropped that into the conversation just to make you even more jealous [chortle]).

      I haven’t been to the UK so have no experiential data for comparison – but the piece of fillet in the article (after spicing) would probably cost about £10 to £12 in SA. In a ‘reasonable’ restaurant near where we live, a similar amount of money would buy a meal comprising a 200g piece of fillet with a modest dollop of veg – and a glass of house wine.

      Please feel free to visit again as I will be adding more articles on our recent trip to Namibia, which will include some camping recipes.

      Chat soon

  2. Fat Gary says:

    What a lovely piece of meat, and that’s quite an interesting smoking device you have there! I’m definitely on a bit of a smokey food kick atm, I’ve been smoking things left right and centre in my weber-san but I would love to construct a cold-smoking chamber of some sort too. Unfortunately it’s about to turn colder than a polar bear’s big toe here so probably won’t be doing too much more outdoor cooking this year.

    Also I’ve procured a small wooden shipping crate and some potassium nitrate so hopefully I can finally get a start on my biltong production. The air in the house is usually very dry in winter from the central heating so I hopefully shouldn’t have any mould issues 😀

  3. I concur with the smokey flavoured food kick… You’re not perhaps some long lost cousin are you? Not sure the pricing of a Weber in the UK, but at R1600 plus accessories in SA – I’m out of my league. See below for an idea on a cold smoker.

    I did soles the other day in the Cobb, and gadzooks!; it was a taste-gasm of note. We chose the delicious East Coast soles (slightly smaller but more flavoursome than their West Coast cousins) and I concocted a ‘rub’ which consisted of some herbs in a garlic, lime and wine butter. After 5 minutes on the Cobb, I added just half a cup of apple-wood chips for the smoking (just wanted a delicate smokey flavour…. Turned out very well.

    Re the Cobb thingy: is the website for the whole shebang. Pricewise it’s about £100 or say, Zimbabwe, but I think it’s excellent value for money and outstandingly fuel-efficient.

    I’m keeping my eyes open for a computer network cabinet going on auction. I think this could make an excellent smoker/biltong cabinet. The built-in fans provide the necessary air currents (which can be ducted outside – to cure the neighbours of any ills) while one or two light bulbs (on a dimmer inside the cabinet) might provide any heat/drying required when making biltong. If one covers openings (like the base of the cabinet) with a fine gauze, and mounts the assembly on a couple of bricks in a shed (even constructing a piping arrangement from outside where the source of the smoke is kept on the go – my mouth is watering as I type.

    Just a note on the wooden crate which I have picked up from my reading. I guess it depends on the crate but I was warned to keep an eye open for chemically treated wood which may impart unwanted flavours into the biltong. If you think this might be a problem, simply line the crate with foil.

    Good luck with the tong squire. Looking forward to hearing how you got on.

  4. Sass says:

    Words………….I have none

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