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Restaurant Quality Steak (ribeye)

We bought some ribeye's and cooked them up, seared them in a cast iron pan, and the crust never really surfaced on the entire steak, just the edges a little bit

also the flavor was just ok, didnt have that wow factor, they were good cuts of ribeye

How do you get that crust all the way across the steak (brick with tin foil on it?)

Also what do you need to do to the ribeye to give it a bit of wow...salt and pepper and butter is our usual seasonings - what are we missing?

is it a rub, is it a marinade, worchester, etc - please help with your best steak ideas

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  1. I always get into this debate with my brother. I prefer to use the broiler over a cast iron pan.
    Turn it on and let it get really hot-20 mins or more.
    Make sure the steaks are room temp, I rub with a touch of canola oil, salt and pepper, and small amount of chili powder. Directly under the broiler. Keep an eye on them, they cook quick. I prefer thicker steaks for this process. Otherwise they cook through before you get that crust you seek. If the steaks are still soft (rare) after broiling, turn down the oven and let roast until done (5-8 min more). You have to adjust the process to the thickness of the steaks and heat of your oven. Once you get it down, its the second best way to cook steaks at home. The first being over a open hardwood charcoal fire.

    1. You need to have a dry (not watery) surface, since water saps energy. You need to have a little smear of oil, I think to conduct heat and help the rendering; I oil the steak, not the pan. Of course, you need a hot pan, I usually wait until I see the first wisp of smoke, drop the steak, then turn down the heat a little. For maximum sear, you'll only flip once. But if they are thick steaks, you should use the oven, too, or turn the heat down to medium, lest you burn the outside and have a raw center.

      To get some dry-aged funk, you need to leave it uncovered (on a rack, preferably) for about 3 days in your fridge.

      5 Replies
      1. re: jaykayen

        I agree with "jaykayen" that dry aging yopur steaks will improve the flavor. Also salting and peppering your steak a few hours before cooking allows the spices to penetrate deep into the steaks (some pre-salt a few days before cooking).

        Links to Food Network Host Alton Brown's Home Dry Aging Method for steaks:

        http://www.ifood.tv/blog/how-to-dry-a...

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

        1. re: Norm Man

          never salt your meat too long before cooking, it sucks the moisture out...

          1. re: nljoh2

            I respectfully agree with Norm Man. The water loss is beneficial, and only improves the flavor of the steak. I will salt way ahead of cooking time to get that moisture out of the steak.Water is not what makes a steak tender and juicy.

            1. re: rudeboy

              Yep. Salting and giving it a day or two in the fridge, uncovered really concentrates the flavors.

            2. re: nljoh2

              That's also the idea behind dry aging, the way the finest steaks are aged.

        2. I have eaten at nearly every major steakhouse east of the Miss. River and all the chains...and have grilled steaks at home for 45 years. Here is how to get a good restaurant quality ribeye:
          First, the meat. USDA Prime is best, but only a few specialty grocery stores or butchers carry it. Try Lobel's in New York, or Allen Bros. Google them. They carry dry and wet aged, and in my opinion, dry is by far preferable.

          Also, the meat should be bone-in. It gives the meat more flavor and makes it juicier. If you can't get USDA Prime, get a nice grocery store steak which will most likely be Choice. Get it at least 1.5 inches thick, and again, bone-in.

          To prepare the meat, I get it out an hour before I want it to hit the grill. Since ribeyes are already heavily marbled, I open up the steak and cut out the large nugget and vein of fat, and then re-attach the spinalis dorsi (cap) back to the larger part with a skewer. This will cut down on flareups as well. The spinalis dorsi is the best part of any steak ever.

          Sprinkle the steak with kosher salt, and kind of pat it in. Use more than you think necessary. I avoid other seasonings until the steak is done (ground pepper, and particularly garlic, which will burn and get bitter.) The salt will help the steak crust over as well.

          Use an outdoor grill for best results. A small cheap Weber does the trick, and Weber is all that I have ever cooked on. Start a fire with real charcoal in a charcoal chimney with newspaper. The coals will be ready in about 15 minutes. Pour them out and let burn down until flames are gone and they are glowing. Charcoal burns hotter, longer, and cleaner than briquets. Steakhouses use professional broilers that get up to 1500-1800 degrees, and a charcoal fire duplicates that best.

          Cook the steak for a few minutes until seared, and then turn and sear other side. I like a little crustiness. Avoid flipping the steak every minute. Leave it there and the crust will develop.
          Finally, move it to a cooler part of the grill, and put the cover on grill. Allow to cook to medium rare.
          Take it up and let it rest for about 5 minutes for the juices to redistribute. Season with ground pepper and perhaps a pat of garlic butter.

          Meanwhile, your cabernet or petite sirah should be ready to pour and then, ENJOY!. I think this is an art and have spent a lifetime working on it!.

          14 Replies
          1. re: steakman55

            Good points, Norm and Steakman. I have come to like my results on the grill and the skillet, but recently fell in love with the broiler. It is an infrared job, and gets really hot. You can see the surface bubbling while under the broiler.

            One important and interesting thing not said yet is that, as I understand it, by salting at least a half hour in advance, you can actually first see the kosher salt pull water out of the steak onto the surface. What happens next is that the surface dries up again, as the now salted moisture is drawn BACK into the steak. Like a marinade, you bring flavor into the meat. I add a little oil, coarse pepper and some granulated garlic, and then cook. Fat steaks for me go about 4-5 minutes under the broiler, each side, then rest and come out nice and med to med-rare.

            1. re: woodburner

              another vote for the broiler
              nice
              I really prefer it to the cast iron pan sear

              1. re: AdamD

                Question, for the broiler pan, does it matter what type of material that it is, i have a very old broiler pan that has to be circa 1980 - is there any advantage to getting something from say a william sonoma that would conduct heat or hold heat more effectivly or is it more along the lines of a charchol grill, basic works just fine

                Unfortunatly i am not able to grill outdoors with my present location so will have to stick with broiler / cast iron

            2. re: steakman55

              After 50+ years...Couldn't have said it better myself Steakman ~~ Time permitting I do prefer burning down about 80% seasoned white oak, and 20% hickory to create the coals...Something magical about wood coals...Lump charcoal otherwise

              1. re: steakman55

                Steakman- Sans the butchering pre cooking, i use the exact same technique. There s nothing better than the crusty texture v a soft butter interior of a nice ribeye.

                1. re: steakman55

                  Ron Swanson...is that you? :-) this is supposed to follow Steakman's first post....

                    1. re: woodburner

                      it was a joke, but got placed in the wrong spot- Ron Swanson is a character on Parks and Recs, a tv show.Ron has made a study of steaks, grilling and steakhouses. It was meant for steakman 55

                  1. re: steakman55

                    Fairway has a case of dry aged prime steaks, too. I don't buy it because I want grass fed, but it sure does develop color.

                    1. re: steakman55

                      Steakman pretty much has it down. Hot, hot, hot is a major key to the sear. I don't know if anyone has mentioned patting your steak dry first, but that's another things some home cooks miss, especially if you are putting it in a pan, it needs to be dry, or it will steam instead of sear. If I'm feeling "southwestern" I make a rub of kosher salt, garlic granules, cumin, Mexican oregano, and cayenne. Otherwise, salt and butter is all a great steak needs.

                      1. re: arashall

                        All,

                        I know I'm coming in very late to this thread, or rather "reigniting" it just in time for summer. But I'll just second or third the need for a good dry surface on the steak to get the color and crust you want.

                        I've unwrapped, washed, patted dry the steaks and then let them sit overnight (maybe even two nights) uncovered in the fridge. This definitely dries out the surface and helps enormously. I do this with whole chicken before I roast it, also.

                        1. re: EarlyBird

                          I do much the same, after a dry rub, and I buy 2" thick ribeyes. I bring to room temp for an hour, then grill on direct high heat for about 4 minutes per side, then indirect high heat for about 4 more per side, then rest under loose foil for 10 minutes for med/rare (I take it off the grill when instant read says about 120-125). Great char all over with no sootiness (clean grill and lower grates) and very juicy inside.

                      2. re: steakman55

                        Was really impressed with your post. Especially cutting out the fat nugget to help prevent flare ups.
                        I too love dry aged, long bone ribeyes. My favorite Steakhouses are Charlies in Orlando, Bob's in Dallas, Gibson's on Rush/Chitown. Charlies was the best, Bob's had the nicest char and gibsons is an all out steak event. Went to a Shula's in Pennsylvania and was grossly disappointed. Steak was pasty, dry and un-flavorful. Thanks for your post, I'm going to try cutting the fat rock on the middle tonight.

                      3. What restaurant are you talking about?

                        Morton's? Luger's? Sizzlers? Outback? Prime? Cut? Someplace else?

                        Without a specific restaurant, it's hard to give you direction or guidance.

                        For example, at a place like Morton's or Ruth's Chris you can request a char on your steak and they'll leave it under the salamander at close range for a bit. So, unless you have a salamander at home, it's going to be difficult to replicate.

                        But the best way to cook a steak at home -- regardless of whether you are trying to achieve "restaurant quality" one -- is to do the following:

                        1. preheat your oven to 450F
                        2. then get your cast iron pan screaming hot (like indoor fire alarm warnings hot)
                        3. sear your steak on each side in the cast iron pan for about a 1 minute per side
                        4. finish off in your preheated oven to the degree of doness that you prefer

                        Plate and rest the steak for 10 minutes then dig in.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Yep, that's my technique as well. You should also make sure that your steak is room temp. It sounds like you might have tried to griddle a cold steak.

                        2. Personally, I find the recommendation of using cast iron for steaks is over-rated immensely on this site. It's good for the initial searing, but when transferred to the oven, it promotes uneven cooking. I would agree that the broiler would give you the best char in the home oven....without using an outdoor grill.

                          17 Replies
                          1. re: fourunder

                            I get bagged on for it but I don't care anymore. I use the GFG and I get a pretty darn good sear on my steaks. Here's my recipe and method (and what I enjoy with it)...

                            Garlic Grilled Steak...

                            Plug in the GFG and let it heat up for at least 10 minutes.

                            Take 3/4 to 1 inch steak of your choice & warmed to room temp (I usually like either a rib eye or New York strip steak). Optional rinse with water and pat dry with paper towel. First one side, then the other...Squeeze on several drops of lime juice over the meat don't drench and spread it around with your finger to cover it completely. Sprinkle on a fair amount of meat tenderizer and poke over completely preferably with a meat fork. Coat over with butter-flavor non-stick cooking spray. Next sprinkle on a generous amount of garlic powder. Finally add a generous amount of fresh milled black pepper.

                            Place in the GFG and grill to desired doneness. Let steak rest approximately 5 minutes before eating.

                            I've found that the heat up time I recommend and 6 or 7 minute grilling time produces a great tasting steak with a seared crust top. I I could be wrong, but I think the seasonings recommended also help in producing the seared crust top.

                            Oh so good with my Baker Blue baked potato. Baked potato split mashed with a 'moist' blue cheese added & melted under a broiler & then drizzled with Mexican crema (a table cream) 'all mixed up'.

                            As far as a 'restaurant' quality steak is concerened? As far as I know you'll never be able to purchase one in any store/market as you can only buy Choice (grade) cuts there. Prime (grade) cuts are reserved for the restaurant(s) industry.

                            1. re: crt

                              You can absolutely buy prime meat at the retail level.
                              The main difference between what you buy in a store and what is served in a restaurant is the cooking process, aging process and for some of the larger chains, the animal's diet (Im not sure, but I think some of the chains like morton's have their suppliers raise their animals on a specific diet).

                              1. re: AdamD

                                I can only recount what I read in an article in either NYT or WSJ, but here it is:
                                Until the recession/great recession/whatever you choose to call it, buying Prime Meat at retail was extremely difficult - something like 98% of the prime meat available went wholesale (restaurants). But, since people are eating out less in general, wholesale is consuming less of the prime supply and more is going to retail, including to outlets like Costco.

                                But back to the cooking: If I can't grill (I live in NE), I prefer to sear on the stove top (stainless or cast iron) and finish in the oven (either in the same pan or on a pre-heating pan). I must admit that I am not knowledgeable on broiler usage. I have NEVER had an issue getting a good sear on the stove top, but the pan does have to be hot and the steak can't be wet, otherwise you get steam. If the steak is thin, I guess you can do the whole thing stove-top, but otherwise the all-around heat of the oven is needed to properly finish. The only other thing I will say about stove top is that it won't work well if your steak is bone-in because you won't get consistent meat-to-pan contact. So if you steak is bone-in, go broiler all the way.

                                1. re: DMW

                                  I have no doubt the best cuts go to restaurants. But for as long as I can remember (I am over 40), no matter where I have lived (CT/NY), there has always been a place to buy very very good prime steaks. They cost a fortune, but you can certainly get them. Usually a specialty meat store, as opposed to a supermarket, but always available.

                                  1. re: DMW

                                    Costco and many neighborhood butcher shops carry prime meats. A supermarket near me carries dry aged prime meats. Some local steak houses have butcher shops attached selling prime meats. You can mail order prime meats.

                                    Why you'd put lime juice, tenderizer or use GFG for any of them is a whole 'nuther thang.

                                  2. re: AdamD

                                    There are also, of course, varying levels of Prime. Restaurants like Luger snatch up the best. Supermarkets get the left overs.

                                    1. re: AdamD

                                      having worked in several fine-dining steakhouses, they pretty much ALL buy their meats from a very few suppliers, including allan brothers mentioned up-thread. less than 2% of all beef is prime beef. the difference in flavor is remarkable.

                                      steakhouse broilers/grills get up to between 800-1100 degrees. nothing you can do with a home broiler and/or cast-iron pan will get close to that.

                                      besides them all using different seasonings pre-cooking, they also finish the steaks with something. butter at ruth's chris, au jus at morton's, rendered beef fat ("the love") at morton's, etc.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        The beef fat is at Luger, not Morton's, no?

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          sorry, typo. beef fat at smith & wollensky. not sure about luger's. morton's uses au jus.

                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        I pondered this over my morning coffee, and have decided it must mean George Foreman Grill. Not a tool I have in my kitchen.

                                          1. re: fourunder

                                            Makes sense. Thanks for the clear thinking!

                                            1. re: fourunder

                                              I have one...collecting dust in the basement! Highly overated.

                                          2. re: crt

                                            "Sprinkle on a fair amount of meat tenderizer and poke over completely preferably with a meat fork. Coat over with butter-flavor non-stick cooking spray."

                                            Could you give me the rationale(s) for 1) meat tenderizer, 2) poking and 3) nonstick cooking spray? Please. All three of those things seem completely counter-intuitive IMHO.

                                            Re prime meat, not sure where you live but Costco and Whole Foods, at the very least, carry prime meats.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              We order our steaks from Allen Bros when they have special offers, they are fork tender and taste like real steak should taste. Expensive, yes; so we cut back somewhere else.

                                            2. re: crt

                                              Wegmans on the east coast has dry aged prime. Also many butchers can get DAP if requested.