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How Do You Top Your Steak?

I know many purists want nothing to do with sauces, butters, etc. atop their steaks. For them, salt and pepper is topping enough. I can dig it, but I also like to go the other direction from time to time, and when I do, it is usually with a composed butter. Aside from, well, butter, my steak butter contains a bit of salt and pepper, lemon juice and lemon zest, and a healthy amount of fresh thyme. Gobsmackin' delish on a NY strip, if I do say so myself.

But enough about me.

What do you lot chuck on your chuck?

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    1. re: roro1831

      Usually nothing. But every blue moon or if NY strips are on ridiculous sale (I'm usually a rib-eye man), I'll fork together some blue cheese and butter, sometimes with a little minced rosemary or thyme. Once or twice when it was that time of the year here in the PNW, I've made a really nice dried porcini and wild mushroom sauce with a little butter and herbs and shallot and wine and porcini-water reduction. Also a fan of au poivre, with extra salt.

    2. Sliced mushrooms, onions, and peppers (Bell, mild green, or hot green peppers depending on mood) sauteed in drippings from the steak, with some raw sliced garlic on top.

      1. It depends on what I'm eating. If I am eating a plain-grilled ribeye, it needs nothing more. If I'm eating bistec, I want it with grilled onions and lemon juice. If were doing a cut that needs a little more help, I might dip it in sesame oil or maybe a miso or doenjang sauce.

        1. If I do a compound butter, it's usually a bit of sage, stone ground mustard, butter, parsley and minced shallots.

          Generally, just a quick pan sauce with a little butter and wine or worchestshire, with a spoonful of horseradish plopped on top.

          1 Reply
          1. re: weezycom

            I second that pan sauce wholeheartedly - butter/worcestershire emulsion.

          2. I like a little wasabi/butter combination. Especially on a rib eye.

            1. Incidentally, I seasoned a T-bone last night with the obligatory salt and pepper, but also copious amounts of dried mustard and a pepper sauce called Holy Jolokia. After applying the above to both sides of the steak, I mashed it in well with a fork, allowed to marinate ca. 30 minutes and then cooked. Mos' delish.*

              *This is a riff on a Steven Raichlen recipe.

              1. I like my steak with mushrooms and onions in red wine sauce. Sprinkle the steak with garlic salt, then take crushed peppercorns and pat into the meat with a little olive oil and cook in cast iron skillet, remove from pan. Add sliced mushrooms and onions, sauté until they begin to brown. Add some red wine and reduce, then add a pat of butter.

                1. Mix smoked Spanish paprika into your butter. Mmmmmmm.....

                  1. Flank steak gets a garlic paste made of mashed garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and salt made with mortar and pestle (this is great on lamb, too). Ribeye usually just s and p because it's so flavorful, but occasionally, gorgonzola or roquefort cheese or a compound butter.

                    I like grilled, broiled or sauteed mushrooms and onions on the side.

                      1. Blue cheese and/or grilled onions

                        1. I used to go nuts with Bearnaise sauce. After I learned how to make it, I started putting it on filet, but went overboard and also put it on fattier cuts of grilled steak, including NY Strip.

                          Now I make Bearnaise only 3-4 times a year.

                          I've been known to finish a grilled steak with plenty of butter. Can add garlic, pimiento and minced parsley for compound butter.

                          I've been playing around with a buttery Blue Cheese sauce recently on and off.

                          1. Sherried Mushrooms - LOTS of Them. :P

                            1. Fresh mushrooms are the best when I can get them, well-seared with plenty of butter. Bernaise, a compound butter. or aioli if I made steak and potatoes.

                              1. If I have some karashi on hand I will usually schmear a good amount of that on my steak. I also like to do a compound butter that has lemon zest, shallots, thyme, rosemary, and sage in it. I have also eaten it with harissa and holy crap is that good.

                                1. Usually nothing, but I plan on trying compound butters when grilling season rolls around (it can't get here soon enough, for the record). A little pad of garlic butter on top sounds might fine.

                                  Otherwise, I will make the occasional pan sauce for basting. Nothing more than butter involved there.

                                  1. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire (is that the only thing they make?) and salt.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: BangorDin

                                      Actually it isn't, I remember a long time ago my mother bought some Lea and Perrins that was made for chicken. Made with white wine, it was quite tasty and they still make it. Also saw they make a thick worcestershire sauce as well as another steak sauce

                                    2. worchestershire and ketchup

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: laliz

                                        Ketchup, eh? My dad--requiescat in pacem--would have approved.

                                      2. The Pioneer Woman features a blue cheese-onion sauce for steak in her blog today. Looks pretty yummy.

                                        1. If there's a limit to how much freshly cracked black pepper to put on a steak, I haven't found it, yet - and not for lack of pushing the envelope! '-)
                                          Salt doesn't happen until the end, if it happens at all - and sel beats any other, IMHO - just a touch, mind you. '-)
                                          Truly, our fave involves peppering the raw meat well, then, coating well in corn starch seasoned with copious Savory (ground) + Hungarian Paprika & some fine sea salt, whisk well, press well, brown well on all sides with the help of tongs and revel in the undeniably jucier results! YUM!
                                          Yesterday, I did a sandwich baggie of top sirloin tid bits this way for 12.5 year-old + me to nibble / scarf while browning (2) clods of top sirloin in the same fashion for braising for dinner + the other half-as-thick section of muscle that comes-with... After (3) passes, I found the perfect angle to slice it ubber-thin and she and I devoured the whole thing standing at the carving board by the kitchen sink as the (2) clods continued to brown...
                                          Eventually, she noticed the blood had oozed (I let it sit 20mins, so IDK on that score!) and said she wasn't having more...
                                          I reminded her she wants to be "just like Edward Cullen", tossed the last chunk into the space between the two searing clods (In the long rectangle electric skillet from Target) and she liked it better then...
                                          It was EXQUISITE as-was, no additional anything at all!

                                          That said, all my life we've appreciated a home-kill beef's taste when grilled at the hearth's fire with seasoned oak & Heinz Catsup to go with!

                                          Smothered in so many onions the steak's secondary... YUM!

                                          Adding 3:2 ratio of onions: bell peppers

                                          And, the discovery at 16 of FAJITAS - I'll never forget THAT! Topping steak with all that is a bit much, but as a lover of chowed meats, 8:10 times I'd rather slice up the steak, chow it & add my day's version of "fajita mix" than have the meat be the center stage attraction anyway... Yesterday's 5 pounds, or so, at the kitchen sink "don't count" - We've been transitioning to the raw organic vegan lifestyle since July 2006 and find ourselves backsliding quite a bit this winter - must be some missing micronutrient?

                                          Of supreme importance: The caliber of meat
                                          Secondary: What's put on after cooking

                                          There's a seldom-seen something special for topping steak I'll always appreciate: Mushroom Catsup the method is in one of my 1800s cookbooks and OMGosh - killer terrific -
                                          Have excellent bread ready and finish off with that, sopping your way to the state of coma '-)

                                          Soooo worth searching out and concocting!

                                          All-time _worse_ topping for steak? That ubiquitous Steak Diane (I believe it is called) topping for broiled London Broil... tomatoes, etc ~ UGH! Simply UGH! Thanks to that, to this day we're all anything but fans of London Broil - which we hear-tell can be quite the delight, _if_ cut on the nearly diagonal...only...

                                          All-time _strangest_? T.G.I.F., c. 1976 "Stuffed Steak" with Swiss Cheese, Onions & Mushrooms, as I recall. Even as a teen, I knew it was simply _wrong_ to do that to a steak... Now, I appreciate how the "semi-butterfly", if you will must have been Corporate's way of shaving cooking time by half - at the expense of the diner's experience - the mushrooms, onions & cheese could have gone atop the perfectly lovely otherwise steak...

                                          When in doubt: Dust with seasoned corn starch, heat pan to at least 400 degrees, sear and enjoy!

                                          1. I usually marinate a steak, so it often doesn't get anything. But if it's a plain steak, other than salt/pepper, caramelized onions or a red wine sauce with a bit of balsamic is always good. Sometimes a compound butter if I have fresh herbs.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              You've reminded me:
                                              My little brother came for a visit and shared his newly found love of Italian salad dressing - not for salad - for marinating meats!
                                              Beef - Chicken - it doesn't matter - pour a bottle of Italian dressing on it and it's transformed, to him tell the tale. I haven't tried it - we don't buy dressing; we make our own...
                                              He's also, apparently into "injecting flavors" - I'm not sure if the marinade would be injected, too...
                                              I can see the balsamic being tremendous on some bites of beef - it is surely bliss shared with a bowl of beans fresh from the pot! '-)

                                              1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                That's what we did in college, marinated steaks in Italian dressing; but they were cheap cuts of meat so I guess it's ok when you don't know any better.

                                            2. Usually, nothing but salt and pepper but every once in a while, I'll top a filet with goat cheese, sundried tomatoes and a basil lemon butter sauce. Mmmm. Now, I'm hungry.

                                              1. Bad Steak doesn't deserve a topping and a good steak doesn't need a topping (with the exception of salt and pepper!)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. The alltime best seasoning for red meat, in addition to salt and pepper, is allspice. It makes steak "steak-ier." Its a main component in worcestershire sauce. The addition of garlic (granulated is actually preferable here) and smoked paprika turns it all out very nicely. After this, more elaborate toppings seem to get in the way of the meat.
                                                  Also, seasoning the meat with salt and pepper for some time prior to cooking (refrigerating it loosely wrapped in wax paper) is the best thing that can happen to any meat.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: snackorameal

                                                    Your phrasing, "all time best" immediately brought to mine one herb alone: Savory!
                                                    In Bulgaria this is "Cubritza" and to-die-for-perfection!
                                                    The beef prepared yesterday had much both on it and in the braising liquid. Ideal!
                                                    Like your use of "allspice", it seems to me my use of Savory receives not so very much mention in cooking as one would expect (based upon personal consuption and preferences).
                                                    Beef & Savory - Savory and many foods - are, once experienced, never to be neglected companions again '-)
                                                    Enjoy some Savory in all this butter & beef and a higher-still plane of pleasure will be revealed. :-)

                                                  2. I'd consider myself more of a purist when it comes to steaks but I have to admit, some melted blue cheese on a perfectly cooked NY Strip is hard to beat. Not too much sauce though :)

                                                    1. Flank Steak needs more the S&P.
                                                      Here is my all time quick and favorite marinade for flank steak. Put steak in a zip lock bag.
                                                      1/2 Cup Soy
                                                      1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
                                                      4-6 Cloves Minced Garlic
                                                      Marinade overnight. Then broil 4 mins each side. Slice across the grain very thin.
                                                      People LoVe it!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: httpmom

                                                        add some Dijon mustard and we're making the same stuff. I just mash the garlic cloves, though, brutally, rather than mince.

                                                      2. I usually only top my steak with my knife and fork...but if I have a cut that's less than stellar and needs some help, either a little Pickappeper sauce or HP does the trick. Even in these cases, I use very little.

                                                          1. re: ricepad

                                                            Now I don't feel so guilty for that mini clod 12.5 & me ate standing at the sink, fresh from browning off to braise, ubber thinly sliced, yesterday! '-)

                                                            1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                              Want a change from butter? Brown butter is what you seek, brown butter. It's nutty and still so buttery. Just the ticket.

                                                          2. Ok I'll admit it- I like A-1. Let the flames begin........

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: vafarmwife

                                                              I don't dislike A1, and will use it on occasion, but I prefer Newman's Own steak sauce. Lower in sugar than most and really good tasting. One thing I really don't want on a steak is sugar.

                                                            2. I tried a recipe tonight for a steak sauce that was honestly phenomenal. I used half to quickly marinate sliced pineapple (if you haven't had grilled pineapple and steak together, you can't judge until you know!) and we absolutely loved it.

                                                              Devil's Steak Sauce, Bernard Montgomerie, from allrecipes.com with minor tweaks http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Devils-S...

                                                              1/4 cup raspberry preserves
                                                              1/4 cup brown sugar
                                                              1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
                                                              1/4 cup tomato paste
                                                              1/4 cup malt vinegar
                                                              splash of fish sauce
                                                              10 drops (or so) sriracha
                                                              salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

                                                              Place all in sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk to incorporate & bring to simmer. Take off heat.

                                                              This honestly was one of the best things I've tried off of allrecipes.

                                                              1. PK, why some freshly roasted green chile, of course, and maybe a little Monterey Jack cheese and run under the broiler until bubbly. A red chile sauce as well.
                                                                Go Lobos!

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                    Anchovies are surprisingly good as well.

                                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                      A little surf and turf, so to speak. ;-)

                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                          Surf & Turf = Something from the surf/sea/ocean/water paired with something from the land/turf e.g., Steak & Lobster, or in this case Steak & Anchovies

                                                                          1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                                            Yeah, but I don't do anchovies. Don't do oysters either, by the by, but Pdk knows that already. ;)

                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                              Oopsies! I thought, "Afraid you lost me there, bro." meant with the "surf & turf" reference.

                                                                  2. If it's not a great cut of meat, I might touch it up with a little butter and/or Mayacamas savory salt (sold, these days, only though their mail-order outlet, as far as I can tell). If it's a really mediocre piece of mean, A1 sauce.


                                                                    1. Usually don't have anything on my steak but S&P...maybe mushrooms or sauteed onions on the side...BUT...there are times I have minced some shallots, chopped some parsley and thrown them into some hot olive oil and poured them over the steak...very good combo and great with the meat.

                                                                      1. One of my favorites is a Michael Chiarello recipe. For us, I season and cook the steaks rare, then spread a mixture of roasted garlic and dijon mustard with fresh grated parmesan cheese on top. Place under the broiler for just a minute to heat the topping and melt the cheese. Sounds crazy - I know - cheese on beef - but it is really really good.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: 1gardenmom

                                                                          Can't imagine anything better than cheese on beef. Whether it be cheddar, Roquefort or parmesan, it's likely to rock n' roll.

                                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                            Hey, how about Monterey Jack on top of the chile, on top of the steak!!!! The Mexicali steak!

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              Unforgiveable omission on my part. Profoundest apologies.

                                                                        2. Like many others here, usually just kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, but when dining out I may get bearnaise, peppercorn, horseradish or mushroom sauce on the side. I sometimes also make one of those four sauces when cooking for a group at home.

                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                            If it isn't too much to ask, would you please share your very most popular horseradish sauce with us here?
                                                                            To date my all-time favorite is served in gravy boats at Bollinger's Candlelight Pavillion (formerly Berringer's), in Claremont, California, I believe it is... A lush wonder! :-)
                                                                            Try as I have, I've yet to equal it, much less surpass it in magnificence. Maybe yours will be just what I'm looking to recreate? '-)

                                                                            1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                                              I don't do anything fancy. I grind a fresh root in the food processor, then mix with just enough white vinegar to make a thick paste. That's my basic horseradish condiment. For a sauce I mix that with sour cream and a bit more vinegar to make it just barely pourable. Voila!

                                                                              And no, I didn't forget to mention salt - I don't add any. The flavor of fresh horseradish is strong enough that you don't need it.

                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                IN Russian, the horseradish sauce you make is called Xren (said gutterally), but you know that already.

                                                                                1. re: BobB

                                                                                  This "white vinegar": Heinz?
                                                                                  This sour cream: Daisy?

                                                                                  1. re: SusanaTheConqueress

                                                                                    Usually but it's not critical. Fresh horseradish conquers all!

                                                                              1. I saute mushrooms in 5 tbsp butter about 5 min. then add a can of beef broth, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic, and a splash of worsh. simmer 1/2 hr to reduce. On to the steak.