barbecue | chilies | meals | meat | mexican | onion | recipe | steak | tomato | vegetables

Onion rings, pico de gallo & chili-rubbed steaks.

July 7, 2009

I was going through some old magazines in the drawer of my mom’s coffee table and happened upon 3 old Bon Appétit‘s, two from 2000 (July and September) and one from 2001 (March). In addition to how different the magazine was then compared to now (it was much thicker then, but I think it had a lot more advertisements, also, the photography is beautiful but not as artsy as it is now) it got me contemplating how different the world was since then. First off, 9/11 happened. We’re in two wars, George Bush isn’t President anymore (I thought that would never end), the economy has tanked, a lot of the restaurants mentioned in the older magazines probably don’t exist anymore thanks to the tanked economy, and we made history by electing a black President. Fashion has changed considerably since then, also. I know my style has certainly changed. But food- food remains the same. Particularly barbecue. Sure there are variations on a theme, but a good recipe never goes out of style!

The three old Bon Appétit‘s, Sept. 2000, March 2001 and July 2000
July 2000 (left) and July 2009 (right)

The July 2000 issue was the annual Barbecue Issue. Now, 9 years ago I was 19 so I wasn’t really interested in cooking or barbecuing anything myself, nor was I really interested in Bon Appétit magazine (plus that was the year I met Jay so I was a bit preoccupied I suppose)… but I missed out on a lot looking back. This issue is chock full (did I just say ‘chock full’? I must be 90 years old) of amazing recipes and meal ideas.

The recipes I’m sharing today are from that very issue (and are also coincedentally the cover recipes for that issue): chili-rubbed steaks, pico de gallo and red chili onion rings. I didn’t use rib-eyes, which is what the recipe calls for, I used sirloins, but it doesn’t matter. You can use any steak you like with this rub. You could even use chicken or shrimp too. The steak rub was off the hook (wow, isn’t that a blast from 1999!). The homemade onion rings are AWESOME. A-W-E-S-O-M-E. And the pico de gallo? Amazing. But then again, I could live on pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla chips for the rest of my life and be happy. I omitted the jalapenos because my 91 year old grandmother was eating this with us and probably wouldn’t have enjoyed that surprise.

Needless to say, it was another score for me in the cooking department. Thanks to chef Stephan Pyles who contributed these recipes to the magazine.



  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
  • 4 14-16 ounce bone-in ribe-eye steaks, about 1 ½ inches thick (You can use any steaks you want, this is just what the original recipe was for, like I said I used sirloin)


  1. Mix first 4 ingredients in pie dish. Coat steaks with spice mixture and transfer to another dish. Cover; chill at least 8 hours.
  2. Spray grill racks with nonstick spray; prepare barbecue (medium heat). Grill steaks to desired doneness, moving and turning occasionally to prevent chili rub from burnin, about 20 minutes for medium-rare.
  3. Serve with pico de gallo and onion rings.



  • 1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno chilies (about 2 medium)*
  • 1 garlic clove, minced


  1. Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover; chill.



  • 2 large onions, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, separated into rings
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  1. Place onions in a bowl. Pour milk over; let stand 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  2. Whisk flour, chili powder, cumin, paprika and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Pour enough oil into a large pot to reach depth of 3 inches. Heat to 350 F.
  4. Working with a few onion rings at a time, shake off excess milk. Dip into flour mixture, coating lightly.
  5. Add onion rings to pot; deep fry until golden, about 45 seconds. Drain and serve.

I plan on going through and making things from these old magazines all summer. So stay tuned!

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  1. i agree…food..remains great through the ages..the good recipes that is.
    i love looking at the old cookbooks I find at the thrift shop too!

  2. I’m really excited to go through the recipes and make some stuff, and its really funny to see the old ads. Even though its only 8 or 9 years ago it seems like forever ago!

  3. looks amazing as usual 🙂 some of my best meals have come out of “older” cook books. my grandmothers were the best> thanks for sharing

  4. I love old recipes and cookbooks. I love how even the lighting people use when photographing food has changed. Pictures of food from the 70’s make me so happy! 🙂

  5. e: Old cookbooks rule. Especially desserts, because they have no skim milk or butter substitutes, they’re hardcore and serious with like 4 pounds of butter. But yeah for sure old and vintage cookbooks are awesome.

    Amanda: I LOVE how the food photography used to look! Esp. in the ’60’s and ’70’s. I have a bunch of cookbooks here from then and the pictures (or drawings in some cases) are so strange compared with now. Strange but wonderful.

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