I like steak. Especially good ‘ole Nebraska corn-fed beef. This week, for my ILP, I tasked myself with making “The Perfect Ribeye” with a reduction sauce. I had heard methods of how to make The Perfect Ribeye, but had never actually tried it, so I had to do a little research. I found an article (from Business Insider, of all places) that somewhat explains the first part of the process. From my prior understanding, this is actually a two-part process. The first step is to sear it on the stove top, and then finish it in the oven. The meat never even touches a grill. Crazy, right? Let’s start from the beginning though.
Every year, we get half of a beef from my wife’s grandparents. If you have the chance and/or means to purchase homegrown beef, do not (I repeat, DO NOT) pass it up. This meat is 100 times better than the stuff you buy at the grocery store. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Any ways, I got some steaks out of the freezer this morning before we ever had breakfast so they would have time to defrost. I let them sit on the counter (most people may not agree with this defrosting method, but we’ve never had an issue) until I was ready to cook them, at about 6 pm. I seasoned them with Montreal Steak Seasoning about 30 minutes before I put them in the pan. The pan I used was a Lodge cast iron skillet because it can be used on top of the range as well as in the oven (I will cover this in a bit).
While the steaks were resting before I put them in the skillet, I started making the reduction. I will admit, my wife walked me through this part since she doesn’t really go by a set recipe. We started by putting a stick of butter in the pan and melting it. Then we added the rest of the ingredients: onion, sliced mushrooms, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, soy sauce, and red wine. I can’t really put quantities here because she didn’t have me measure them out. She just said “stop” and I stopped. So I stirred it all together and brought it to a slow boil and just let it reduce (meaning the liquid cooks out of it) while I was getting ready to cook the steaks.
Now comes the fun part: cooking the steaks. There were four steaks, so I cooked them in sets of two. Admittedly, I cooked the first set differently than the first set. For the first two, I got the gas range fired up with the cast iron pan on top, thinking that it would get hot enough to put a good sear on the steaks. Well, I was wrong. While I did manage to cook them, they were definitely not seared. I cooked the steaks for a minute on each side on top of the oven, and then put them in the cast iron pan, in a 500°F oven for two minutes (I was kind of winging the second part of this process because I couldn’t find a recipe that I was really happy with). The steaks still turned out good, they just weren’t exactly what I was looking for. So I had an idea – I put the pan in the oven before I put it on the range so that it would get hot enough to sear the steaks. Viola! Much better results on the second batch than the first.
The reduction was definitely the perfect complement to the steaks. Some argue that if a steak is cooked correctly, that you don’t need a sauce to go with it. I would disagree. This reduction was the finishing touch on this meal.
As a side note, my wife put together some roasted vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and grape tomatoes) to go along with this meal. I didn’t help with them, but they complimented the meal very well.
While I don’t think I necessarily made “The Perfect Ribeye” I can definitely see why this method would generate that result. I will continue to try to master this process, especially this winter when it’s frigid outside.