Swamp Donkey – Ribeye Steak! (Part Two)
Heeee-hawwww! Feeling good today, Carnivores? I am! The Swamp Donkey took a night off from drinking and only had a few beers. Gotta rest the liver every now and again. So where were we? Ahhh, the ribeye. Let’s continue.
You’ve got your charcoal grill. You’ve got a meat thermometer. You’ve got lump charcoal, a starter chimney, and a match. Damn, I’m just giddy today. This is so exciting. Most importantly, you went to the butcher and bought a 3-inch thick USDA Prime ribeye steak! You’ve never been more ready in your life to enjoy the feeling of greatness.
Doesn’t that steak look beautiful. Take a moment to hold it, say a prayer of thanks to the cow, the farmer, and the butcher. And now the most important part of grilling: think about the people you will be feeding. Throughout the cooking process, I ALWAYS keep those people in mind. I cook with love, with the desire to see smiles on their faces. It makes the food taste better. No kidding – ask Trader Z – he’s connected with the Zen.
Temper your meat. Say what, Donkey? It is critical that you let your steak come to room temperature before grilling it. If I’m grilling at 7:00, I’ll set the steak on the counter at 3:00 – in the butcher paper. This allows the meat to cook more evenly. Do it.
About 1 hour before grilling, put a heavy seasoning of kosher salt on all sides of the steak. For a quality steak, this is all the seasoning you’ll need. But here’s a cool trick. We’re going to make a compound butter to add some flavor as a finishing touch. Let a stick or two of salted butter come to room temp in a bowl. Add some chopped flat parsley and some fresh lemon juice (you can use other spices, garlic, etc.). Mix it all together well. Plop the mix down onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a log shape. Tie up the ends, and stick it back in the fridge.
Now, let’s get the grill going. You know how. You’ll want to get the grate clean, and rubbed down with some vegetable oil. Make sure you have the charcoal pushed to one side of the grill. This allows you two areas to move the steak in and out of the direct heat. Get the coals red hot. Leave the top of the grill off.
We want to cook the steak to an internal temperature of 125-130 degrees. That temp will continue to rise once you rest the steak and will end up at a perfect medium rare. And we want to get a really nice, uniform crust on the meat.
Author’s Note: Some people like to have defined grill marks on their steaks. WHY? So it looks cool? What about the gaps between the marks? No caramelization, no great color, no flavor! Go to a fine steakhouse, and you’ll see that you want the entire surface of the steak to be a deep, dark brown. Every bite is full of flavor. Grill marks are the hallmark of Tampa natives.
There are several schools of thought on how to grill a steak: sear, reverse sear, active, passive. In time, I’ll demonstrate each. But let’s keep it simple for this steak. We’re going to sear the sucker. Drop that big boy directly over the coals and let it sit there a minute. Then move it around with some long grilling tongs. We want that whole side of the steak to be bubbling and turning brown (no grill marks). KEEP MOVING the thing, as we’re being active! When it’s nice and brown (a total of 3-4 minutes for a thick steak), flip it. Grill that side the same way. I like to baste with a little olive oil as I’m grilling, but that’s up to you.
Every step of the way, I want you to be checking the internal temp of your ribeye. That Thermapen is your friend. Once you have both sides of the steak a deep, rich, brown & bits of black, move it to the cool side of the grill. It will continue to cook there, just watch the temps! When the internal temp hits 125 degrees (for medium-rare), take that beautiful baby off the grill.
It is critical that you now let that steak rest. At least 10 minutes. Just let it sit on a plate on your counter. This allows the juices inside to redistribute. While you’re doing that, you can get your side dishes ready and have a big shot of whiskey.
Get your homemade compound butter out of the fridge. It’s show time! Slice your ribeye on an angle into pieces about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Spread it out beautifully on a serving tray. Pour some of the juices over the top. Cut your compound butter into discs and place several of them on top of the steak. If you have a kitchen torch (you should), fire those pads of butter enough to get them melting. Guests love the torch – great visual!
You’re done! You did it! Enjoy that magnificent Prime cut of ribeye. A big Napa cabernet will pair nicely. We’ll cook something else next week. Relax and have fun. Happy trading!
Mr. Bojangles says Hello to all you new Carnivores.
Anyone that wants to connect with Donk about grilling or other BBQ and steak or cooking matters can email him at [email protected]