You might also consider what is known as "branded" meat. This may be either a particular breed, such as Black Angus, or from a particular producer, such as Coleman Natural Products or Niman Ranch. Each has its fans; in our experience, they are all at least somewhat better than no-brand versions.

A first-rate steak like this tastes wonderful with nothing on it but good salt and freshly cracked black pepper, but to make it a bit more of an occasion, try spreading an herb paste on the meat; it's a simple and perfect complement to the deep, earthy flavor of the beef.

Serves 4

2 T minced garlic

1/4 C roughly chopped fresh oregano

2 T paprika

2 T cumin seeds, toasted (or 1 T ground cumin)

3 T grainy mustard

1/4 C olive oil

1/3 C red wine vinegar

1 giant porterhouse steak, about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. For a live fire grill: Build a fire in your grill, banking the coals so that about 3/4 are on one side of the grill and 1/4 on the other. When the coals are covered with gray ash and the fire on the side with more coals is hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above the grill surface for 1 to 2 seconds), you're ready to cook. For a gas grill: Preheat the grill with all burners on high and the lid down for 10 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, oregano, paprika, cumin, mustard, olive oil, and vinegar, and mix well. Sprinkle the steak generously with salt and pepper; then, coat generously with the spice paste. If you have time, let the meat sit for 1 to 2 hours, unrefrigerated; if not, just go ahead and grill.