When you step into Steven Huff’s office, you will notice many things. The wall of law books, the wall of liquor and spirits, the shelves full of cooking books, the framed issues of Sports Illustrated featuring several Pittsburgh Steelers on the cover.

Huff, a lawyer with Johnson, Miner, Marlow, Woodward & Huff, Prof. LLC, is known by friends as much for his cooking, as for his legal work.

A native of Sioux City, Iowa, he first got involved with cooking when he was in college at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). His parents worked often, so suppers were microwaved TV meals every night.

“I get to UNI and they didn’t have enough dorm space, so they paid for me to have an apartment,” Huff said. “The stipend was enough that after I paid for the apartment, I’d have about $75 left over for groceries. That became the grill budget.”

He started with bratwursts and hamburgers, and moved on to bacon-wrapped tenderloin, vegetables and beans. After a while, he started making “fancy” meals like eggplant parmesan.

“The grill was the tool that made the rest of my food world more accessible,” Huff said. “I could start doing Indian, Thai, Japanese. Then there are these things called books and you can read and they invent this inter-web thing. Information is so much larger and more available and instantaneous, and word searches make particular concepts really easy to find and study and produce something. That’s how it happened.”

After college, he began his clerkship in Iowa’s fifth judicial circuit and settled in Chariton. The former headquarters of Hy-Vee, produce still moved through the town and Huff was able to continue making food of all kinds.

“All (of Hy-Vee’s) big storage garages and truck shipping and groceries came through Chariton,” he said. “You still had a great grocery store for a tiny 1,100 person county seat. Now I’ve got a buffet, even though I’m locked in this area where there isn’t a restaurant for 45, 50 minutes – who cares?”

In 1999 Huff moved to Yankton and has since cooked for fundraisers and friends.

“I just started doing them because something had to happen to make fundraising a little bit easier for me to do and more accessible for other organizations to be able to use and have a good value, a good draw attached to it,” Huff said. “At some point, you can’t do 40 of those meals; you want to do three or four so you don’t blow your market out. Plus I don’t want to have a second job; I don’t want to make (cooking) not fun. So I’ll do three or four, maybe five a year.”

One meal he cooked was for Jake Hoffner, the mayor of Yankton. Hoffner was celebrating his 60th birthday and didn’t have a way to feed his 40 invited guests. Hoffner called Huff and Huff agreed to cook for his party.

Huff decided to cook porterhouse steaks, due to Hoffner’s bias towards red meat. He used a recipe he learned from “The Barbeque Bible” by Steven Raichlen. Tweaking it to fit the Midwest pallet better, he calls the recipe “Jake’s Steaks,” after the mayor.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

What you’ll need:

Mustard powder

White peppercorn (or any pepper is fine, too)

Soy (instead of Worcestershire sauce)

Lime JuiceSteak (preferably 1-1 ¼ inch thick)

Warm grill up to medium-high heat (your hand should last only two seconds above the fire).

Rub mustard powder onto the steak.

Rub in soy sauce.

Rub on white peppercorn.

Rub on lime juice.

Huff said dry-wet-dry-wet is the best order, that way the marinade doesn’t become unwieldy and slide off the steak.

When your grill is warmed up, sear each side for 5-6 minutes(less if high winds are present).

Cook to preferred temperature (Huff prefers medium-rare).

Let steak rest off grill for a few minutes, to keep juices in the steak.


Coffee-rub onion rings

Cut white onions 3-4 times horizontally.


¼ cup pepper

¼ cup salt

2 tbsp. chili powder

1/8-1/4 cup paprika

1/8-1/4 cup brown sugar

¼ cup ground coffee

Rub coffee mix onto rings, cook on grill until desired.


Don’t shuck.

Put on grill for 15-20 minutes.

Shuck after cooking.


2 parts decent rye/bourbon

1 1/3 parts decent sweet vermouth

2 dashes of bitters

Stir in shaker glass with crushed ice.