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Help Me Make Perfect Ribeyes on a Cast Iron Grill

+ + Hi Hounds + +

I'm going to be preparing dinner in just a couple of hours, and tonight the menu consists of a pair of lovely ribeye steaks -- something new to my culinary repetoire. Not being the most red-blooded red meat eater, my experience with various preparations of meats is largely confined to poultry and fish, with an occasional foray into pork. Steaks are something I do only on very rare occasions. Tonight is one such rare occasion.

Mindful of the fact that ribeyes can be among the most flavorful and satisfying of steaks, I'm slightly worried that my lack of experience with them could translate into a missed opportunity (or worse yet, a burnt disaster). Fortunately for me, there's YOU. The beloved Chowhound community.. here to offer the advice, insights, and experienced know-how that I lack. I bow humbly before you and request your assistance.

Here's what you need to know:

I have in my possession 2 half inch thick ribeyes sitting in the fridge. I have a new double-sided Lodge griddle/grill (cast iron, of course) that I'd like to break in with the steaks.. and I have spices and oils aplenty.

What I'm looking to do: cook them with minimal fuss -- prefer a simple seasoning of salt and pepper to time consuming marinades (tonight at least.. want to eat before too long) -- and without over cooking. One will need to be medium rare, the other (my girlfriend's, that is) cooked all the way through -- no pink (sad, I know).

What I'm unsure of:

1. Should I bring the steaks to room temperature before throwing them on the grill?
2. Should I brush the steaks with vegetable of olive oil before grilling -- or should they be dry?
3. Should I season steaks before throwing on the grill or after?
4. Where should I set the flame? Medium? Medium high? High?
5. How many minutes per side for medium rare (roughly)... and how many for "cooked all the way through" without turning it into tough shoe-leather?
6. Finally, if you were going to season them with more than salt & pepper, what would you use? A rub of garlic on 'em? A dash of.. cumin? No idea.

Basic things all, I know.. but as I said, I've never made them before, and I'd like some pointers before cook, so I don't just wing it and ruin my ruby beauts.

As always, thanks for any and all help -- very much appreciated.

I'll post post-feasting to report on the results.

=)

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  1. Hmm, 1/2 inch thick eh? That's pretty thin.

    As to your questions, here's my 2 cents:

    1. Room temp.
    2. No oil.
    3. Season before (I prefer just kosher salt and ground black pepper)
    4. High
    5. Medium rare for 1/2 inch steaks would be about 1 minute per side, and let it rest for 5 minutes off-griddle. Well done about 3 or 4 minutes per side.
    6. No idea, I just go with salt and pepper.

    Good luck.

    1. -Half inch thick isn't very thick. I'd let them sit at room temp for about a half hour.

      -You should brush the grill with oil just before applying the steaks and you can season them with salt and pepper when you take them out of the fridge.

      -Make sure the grill is very hot(smoking) when you put the steaks on

      -As I said before, a half inch isn't very thick, so about 3 minutes a side, or less, for medium rare. And you;ll want them to rest a couple of minutes after cooking

      -If they're good quality steaks keep the seasoning simple so you can enjoy the full steak flavor. Just salt and pepper and perhaps a little rub with a fresh, crushed garlic clove.

      1. Edited, as I read the op as 2 inch thick!

        First question? Have you seasoned your cooking pan??

        If you have then:

        1. Should I bring the steaks to room temperature before throwing them on the grill?

        Yes. Absolutely.

        2. Should I brush the steaks with vegetable of olive oil before grilling -- or should they be dry?

        no. if your pan is seasoned, then just a teeny wipe of oil in the pain is all that's required

        3. Should I season steaks before throwing on the grill or after?

        My rule-of-thumb here is not to season, but that's just me

        4. Where should I set the flame? Medium? Medium high? High?

        HIGH!!! You want that sucker SMOKIN"!

        5. How many minutes per side for medium rare (roughly)... and how many for "cooked all the way through" without turning it into tough shoe-leather?

        This pretty much depends on all the other factors combined. For med rare I usually go 3 mins per side. I am of the only-turn-them-once school of thought. I have no idea on cooked through, cos I never do it. MAybe 4-5 mins? I think you can tell by touch rather than time, Med rare steak should have a bit of bounce.. a bit of give, when you poke it.

        Alternately, you could cook your g/f's first and put it in a mod oven while you do yours. That would firm it up a bit.

        6. Finally, if you were going to season them with more than salt & pepper, what would you use? A rub of garlic on 'em? A dash of.. cumin? No idea.

        The other important thing to do is let your steaks rest after you cook them. Whack them on a plate and leave them alone for at least 10 minutes. While they're resting, I'd deglaze the pan with some wine, a knob of butter and a grind or two of pepper.

        1. I'm no pro at cast iron, but I would season your grill before you use it the first time. Google will steer you to a number of articles on seasoning cast iron.

          As to your questions:

          1. Room Temp
          2. Dry with paper towels, no oil.
          3. Season with salt and pepper only two minutes before.
          4. High - let the pan get really hot.
          5. For 1/2 inch, maybe 3 min. per side. Touch your thumb to your middle finger - the fleshy part of your palm below your thumb feels like medium rare.
          6. Don't use cumin or garlic...

          1. That's thin for rib-eye, but then, it's your steaks.
            Room temp for the meat (about 1/2 hour).
            I have a Calphalon griddle (yeh for tax returns!!), and I get it hot, then brush a bit of oil on it (hot meaning when a bit of water "dances" on it).
            Fresh ground Black Pepper and ground sea salt are what we prefer.

            We likes ours medium, but we get them an inch thick. Yours won't take long to cook being a half-inch in thickness. Probably about a minute to 90 seconds on each side, then let them rest for a few minutes on a foil covered plate.