Juicy, Tasty Ribeye
How to easily turn steak into an amazing culinary delight
For me, there are five simple stages of enjoying an amazing Ribeye steak.
- Buying the right Ribeye
- Brining the steak
- Bringing the steak to room temperature before cooking
- Cooking the steak
- Letting the cooked steak rest
Now, let’s look a little closer into those four stages.
- Buying the right Ribeye
My focus for buying any steak is the ‘marbling’ I can see through the packaging. I’m not the kind of guy who’d spend a hundred dollars or more on a steak. So, Wagyu Kobe beef is pretty much not on my menu. However, I do look for good marbling because it just tastes better. Chris Fuller writes about THE RIGHT KIND OF MARBLING, “Marbling is important to steak because it adds flavor (the right kind of flavor), juiciness as it melts into the steak when cooking, and tenderness because the fat is much more tender than the muscle fiber in the steak. “
Regardless of whether I buy my steaks at Ralphs, Vons, or Whole Foods, I can always see through the plastic packaging and decide if the steak is marbled enough for my purpose. I do look for grass-fed and often organic steak, though. That’s just my preference with most of the items I buy at a grocery store.
2. Brining the steak
I learned that brine (salt) actually helps dissolve some of the muscle fibers, which helps to reduce the toughness of meat. The result is a more tender cooked steak. It so happened that I didn’t like the wet brine with a salt solution. Dry brine is what I chose and it works best for me.
Masterclass says it best: “Dry brining is a way to brine a steak without using any liquid, relying on a coating of salt and pepper and a set period of time — anywhere from 45 minutes to 48 hours — stowed in the refrigerator to work its magic. This allows the salt to more effectively permeate the cut of meat and tenderize it at the same time. The depth of flavor achieved with a dry brine is a level up from a basic season-and-cook.”
You don’t need a large amount of salt, though. A very thin layer is enough. Rub it into the meat with your fingers. I let the steak sit in the refrigerator for about two hours and that gives the meat the right kind of tenderness for me.
3. Bringing the steak to room temperature before cooking
Letting the meat come to room temperature before cooking makes a difference, I can assure you that. It means that your steak will cook more evenly. The logic behind is pretty simple. If you cook your meat until the inside measures a certain temperature, but that inside starts out with a higher temperature than the outside, the steak won’t be cooked evenly. It’ll likely be overcooked on the outside. So, usually 30–60 minutes works to get it to room temperature, depending on the thickness of the steak.
4. Cooking the steak
So, my Ribeye is at room temperature and I can pat it dry with a paper towel. I usually cook my steaks in a large cast-iron skillet. I bring the skillet to the highest temperature with a little bit of vegetable oil. While it’s heating up, I mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, soften about two tablespoons of butter, and take 2 or 3 twigs of fresh Thyme out of the refrigerator.
I can now carefully add the steak into the hot pan and cook it for a minute on each side. Then I add the butter, garlic, Thyme, and swirl them around in the pan, scoop it onto the steak, and let it cook another minute on each side. That gives it additional flavor and, depending on the thickness, results in a medium-rare steak. Take it out and put it on a cutting board.
5. Letting the steak rest
This is something that took me a while to get used to. Only when I did it wrong a few times did I realize that slicing into a steak fresh off the pan or grill would make the juices spill out on the cutting board. Now I let my meats rest for 10–20 minutes allowing the juices to redistribute. Sometimes even a little longer. It’s worth it, folks. It’ll taste so much juicier. And it won’t cool down too much so you can still enjoy a nice, hot steak.
If you think that’s a lot of work to cook a steak, just consider the headline of my article. I want you to cook a great steak to an amazing culinary delight. Everyone can throw a steak on the grill and hope for the best. My way gives you restaurant quality taste you can impress your guests with.