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Pūlehu Steak with Hawaiian Seasoning Salt Rub

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Tender, juicy pūlehu steak with a delicious Hawaiian seasoned salt rub, grilled over kiawe wood. The perfect recipe for your next BBQ. You won’t be disappointed.

sliced pulehu steak

Just a little charred edges, flavor packed crusting, and oh so juicy center. I mean what isn’t there to love about grilling up steak on the barbeque?

Hello summer. Hello grilling season. Hello warm nights perfect for cooking on an open flame outdoors. Recipes like grilled shrimp kabobs, grilled pork chops, or grilled teriyaki chicken kabobs.

Summer, or really anytime in Hawai’i, is a perfect time for grilling. And you can’t have grilling season without a great pūlehu steak in your arsenal.

What is pūlehu?

Pūlehu is the Hawaiian word for broil, or to cook with direct, intense, radiant heat. Here in Hawai’i it is often used to describe cooking on the BBQ grill.

There are a few secrets to a great pūlehu steak, one being the seasoned rub. This is the powerhouse of flavor and takes your grilled steak to another level.

Hawaiian seasoning salt rub ingredients

  • Hawaiian salt. Also known as pa’akai. Pa’a meaning hardened or solid and kai meaning ocean. This is a larger rock salt variety and can be found at most local grocery stores in Hawai’i or online retailers.
  • ‘Alaea salt. This is another type of Hawaiian rock salt. It has a reddish color and carries an earthy flavor. It is unrefined sea salt that has been mixed with volcanic clay to give it its distinct coloring.
  • Garlic powder 
  • Ginger powder 
  • Pepper 
  • Onion powder
pulehu steak hawaiian seasoning salt rub

Another important component of a great pūlehu recipe is the type of wood you use to cook the food. Common wood used in Hawai’i include:

  1. Kiawe or mesquite is one of the more popular types of wood used for grilling. The kiawe here in Hawai’i has a slightly sweeter aroma to it than the mainland. Kiawe trees are an invasive species in Hawai’i and can be easily found on most of the Hawaiian islands. Be careful as they are filled with thorns.
  2. Guava is another popular wood also giving a subtle semi-sweet aroma.

What cut of steak is best for grilling?

There are a handful of cuts of beef that are best for grilling, but it will depend on your preference. I like to use ribeye which has great marbling that makes the meat juicy and full of flavor or NY strip which is tender and a little more lean. Some other great cuts are t-bone, tenderloin, and top sirloin. 

pulehu steak

What temperature to grill steak?

Steaks are best cooked on a grill heated to 450-500F. The high heat will sear and caramelize the outside of the meat creating a depth of flavor. Cooking at higher temperatures will cook the meat too quickly and often dry it out or even burn it.

Should you let your steak rest before cutting?

Cooking a steak at higher temperatures causes the fibers in the muscles to contract. When you let a steak rest before cutting this allows the fibers to relax, the juices to run back in to the meat, and keep your meat tender and juicy.

pulehu steak seaoning rub

Is pūlehu steak keto?

Meat and poultry are often staple ingredients on the keto diet. Beef steaks are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals thus making it a good fit for the keto diet.

How long do you grill steaks?

The length of time that steaks are grilled will depend on the doneness that is desired as well as the thickness of the meat. This can be anywhere from 8-15 minutes over high heat.

pulehu steak and veggies

What is the temperature of cooked pūlehu steak?

The USDA suggests an internal temperature of 145F or medium. Cook to 125F for rare, 135F medium rare, 150F medium well, and 160F well done.

What to serve with steak?

As I always say, you can’t go wrong with some sticky, white rice. Another staple here in Hawai’i is mac salad. Grilled veggies, corn, or mashed potatoes also go well.

pulehu steak

How to store?

Cooked beef can be stored in an airtight container once cooled and kept in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Can you freeze cooked pūlehu steak?

Cooked cuts of beef steak can be kept frozen in an airtight zip top bag or container for 6-12 months. Be sure to get as much of the air out as possible. This will help prevent freezer burn.

Other great beef recipes

How to make pūlehu steak?

  1. For the steak: Trim excess fat along the edge of the steak. This will help prevent grill flare ups and over charring. Pat the steak dry. Brush with avocado oil
  2. For the Hawaiian seasoning salt: To a small bowl add Hawaiian salt, ‘alaea salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, pepper, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.
  3. Liberally season the steak with Hawaiian seasoning salt. Set aside and allow to rest 20-30min prior to grilling.
  4. Heat half of the grill (if using charcoal/wood, place on half the grill, or if using burners light ½ of the burners only)  to high, about 500F.
  5. Place steaks directly over the flame and sear for 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  6. Move steak to the unlight side of the grill, close the lid, and cook until desired doneness temperature. For rare 120F, medium rare 130F, medium 135F, medium well 140F, and well done 150F.
  7. Remove steaks from the grill and place on a cutting board. Tent with a piece of foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. ENJOY!
sliced pulehu steak

Pūlehu Steak

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Tender, juicy pūlehu steak with a delicious Hawaiian seasoned salt rub, grilled over kiawe wood. The perfect recipe for your next BBQ. You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients

For the steak

  • 2 steaks, boneless ribeye
  • Avocado oil

For the Hawaiian seasoning salt

  • 3 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
  • 1 tablespoon 'alaea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  1. For the steak: Trim excess fat along the edge of the steak. This will help prevent grill flare ups and over charring. Pat the steak dry. Brush with avocado oil
  2. For the Hawaiian seasoning salt: To a small bowl add Hawaiian salt, ‘alaea salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, pepper, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.
  3. Liberally season the steak with about 2 teaspoons of Hawaiian seasoning salt. Set aside and allow to rest 20-30min prior to grilling.
  4. Heat half of the grill (if using charcoal/wood, place on half the grill, or if using burners light ½ of the burners only)  to high, about 500F.
  5. Place steaks directly over the flame and sear for 3-5 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  6. Move steak to the unlight side of the grill, close the lid, and cook until desired doneness temperature. For rare 120F, medium rare 130F, medium 135F, medium well 140F, and well done 150F.
  7. Remove steaks from the grill and place on a cutting board. Tent with a piece of foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. ENJOY!

Notes

*FDA recommends the safe internal temperature of beef to be 145F.

*Other steaks great for grilling: NY strip, filet mingon, T-bone, porterhous, skirt steak, sirloin.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 6415mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 34g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

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By on July 15th, 2021

About Relle

Aloha, my name is Relle and welcome to my little home on the internet where I like to share all my favorite Hawaiian recipes (and local ones too).

I am a wife, mom of two, and nurse practitioner here in the beautiful state of Hawai’i. I was born and raised in Hawai’i and I am of native Hawaiian descent. In my spare time I love to cook and bake and I have compiled many of my favorite recipes here for you to enjoy.

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