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Jun 18, 2008 09:18 PM

Buttering beef while cooking... do you?

I've noticed a lot of cooking shows with chefs using copius amounts of butter while cooking beef/steak. Not a dab to get the pan going, or some flavoring at the end. More like drowning!

Usually these shows are not the instructional variety a la Emeril/Alton, etc. but the shows where chefs are competing or where the show catches "behind the scenes" snapshots.

It's also rare to see print recipes that call for heavy buttering. I'm guessing a lot of people might get freaked out if a recipe called for 7 sticks of butter! So it begs me to ask:

- Is it one of those hidden restaurant "secrets" to use a lot of butter in cooking good beef/steaks?

- If so, what are some techinuqes that can be adapted by the home cook? For example, would you continually baste a steak on the grill?

- Any other thoughts? For example, I usually use dry rubs on grilled meats as I don't like how "wet" meats react... but I'm also not working with professional grade ovens/burners/etc/

Me and your local dairy council thanks you in advance!

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    1. The only time I ate at Ruth Chris they served my steak drowning in butter. It was the most DISGUSTING thing I'd ever tasted. Normally I love butter. Butter in a baked potato, on pancakes, but NOT steak. It overpowered the taste of my New York steak. I will never go back.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kate is always hungry

        That's part of why I asked. It seems to be a fave technique of many top end steak places. Peter Luger is oft mentioned as the best steak house in the country and they seemingly use a lot of butter to prep top offerings. I'm not questioning it... just wondering. Does it make a great piece of beef that much better, or does it end up messing with the original flavor?

        1. re: tastyjon

          Let me clarify--it was almost 14 years ago, and I still RECOIL when I think of it. The butter was all I could taste. When I think of my favorite steak dinners, I never detected any butter. It's been a while since I've been out for steak and I am very old school so I would probably stick to places like Pacific Dining Car and stay out of "top end" steak houses.

        2. re: Kate is always hungry

          me too me too. i was so put off by the butter that i barely ate the steak. DH who sometimes will eat anything managed to finish it off. almost glad to hear someone else was put off by the butter. i somehow think it may be a camouflage for inferior meat but if Peter Luger's does it... havent eaten there but heard raves.

        3. My favorite place for steak, Second St. Bistro in Pomona serves Steak Frites with a slab of butter melting on top.

          OMG it is sinful and wonderful at once.

          **I've had it once, thought of it many many times**

          I have never cooked steak w/butter, but I have been seeing it on shows also. It seems to be a mixture of butter and oil.

          1 Reply
          1. re: laliz

            for a steak or something that only has a quick cook I don't bother - instead I make a flavoured butter to serve ontop of the steak - blue cheese and butter or sundried tomato pureed with butter are favourites.

            However my favourite prime rib recipe from Fine Cooking requires basting with butter during the cooking process - that and the fact that the roast to covered with rosemary, thyme and crushes garlic cloves makes a fabulous flavour. Very buttery.

          2. What Ruth's Chris does is nothing like what Peter Lugers does. Ruth's Chris puts the cooked steak in a pool of bubbling melted butter and Peter Lugers (and lots of other steakhouses) puts butter on the steak after taking it out from the broiler and it melts into the meat.

            I have never cooked a steak in butter but have always been interested. They way I've seen it done on TV, is after the first side is seared in the butter and the steak is flipped, the seared side is continually basted with the hot butter. I haven't done it yet but will try it one of these days. I'd imagine you'd have to use a lower temp than normal for pan cooking a steak otherwise the butter would burn.

            1. I don't think one can properly cook steak in butter, at least the way I like it done--seared over very high heat and then finished in the oven-rare. The butter would burn. I do like a seasoned butter plopped on the top the minute it is done. mmmm. The steak in france is often served with a pat of butter on the top-delish! This is not like the Ruth Chris steak that is absolutely drowning in butter (unflavored at that) which is really off-putting imo. I wonder for those who like steak cooked on the more well-done side if basting in butter would keep the meat moist? Has anyone tried this?