Hey, everyone! I'm excited to share the first recipe for MTCC! I'm publishing this as a free post for everyone to view, so if you know of anyone who you think might enjoy this newsletter, please forward this to them!
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Everyone should know how to make a great steak at home. And while there are a lot of ways to cook steak, this method is by far my favorite.
At its core, cooking steak comes down to two primary goals– develop a crust on the outside, and cook the inside through to the desired temp (without overcooking it). To that end, we're taking a two-step approach. First, we're going to sear our steak over very high heat. Then we're going to turn the heat down and baste it with aromatic-infused butter. The high-heat sear will develop our crust, while the butter baste will provide a more gentle heat to cook the steak evenly and through.
We're going to pair this with a fun riff on one of the all-time classic steak sauces– chimichurri. Black garlic is a fermented version of garlic that's jet-black, slighty sweet, and full of umami. It provides an incredible, lightly sweet counterpoint that pairs perfectly with both the herbs in the sauce and the steak itself. If you don't have black garlic you can certainly use raw garlic instead, but I highly recommend seeking it out, as it really makes the sauce extra-special.
This method can be used to cook many different cuts of steak– I've used it for NY strip, underblade, Denver steak, oyster steak, and a bunch more. For this recipe I'm using ribeye, which is one of my all-time favorite cuts. It's super flavorful, presents beautifully, and lends itself really well to this way of cooking. I'd recommend starting with a ribeye to get the hang of this technique, and then experimenting with other cuts.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when cooking steak is not using the right type of pan. Non-stick and other thin-walled pans are a no-go here– they won't get hot enough initially, and they'll instantly loose so much heat when the steak is added that you won't get a proper crust.
Cast iron has the advantage of getting really hot and retaining heat well. Carbon steel and stainless steel pans will also work. All three of these pans will retain enough heat to get the hard sear that we're going for.
Quick note– cast iron does a great job of retaining heat, but it can take a while to heat up. I usually put the dry skillet over a burner on high heat for several minutes before I cook my steak. You may have to turn on the fan over your stove, but don't be afraid to really dial up the heat here– it's essential.
This recipe calls for two types of fat– beef tallow or ghee to sear the steak, and grass-fed butter to baste it. Tallow and ghee hold up well to high heat– so they allow you to get your sear without burning the oil.
Later on in the cooking process, we'll turn down the heat and add in butter. If you attempt to sear in butter, the milk solids will start burning and you'll be left with unpleasant flavors. We'll add in the butter once the sear is complete, and then we'll use a more gentle heat to melt the butter, infuse it with aromatics, and baste the steak to complete the cooking process.
Let's get into it!
Black Garlic Chimichurri
- 1 bunch parsely
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 bunch oregano
- 3-4 cloves black garlic (or 1 clove if using raw garlic)
- 1 tbsp chile flakes
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- olive oil
- Pick your herbs. For the parsley and oregano, pick off the leaves. For the cilantro, simply cut off the bottom part of the stem and use the rest.
- Finely dice all of the herbs and add them to a bowl.
- Cut up the cloves of black garlic as finely as possible. Black garlic is sticky, so it tends to clump together– just do your best to get a nice mince.
- Add the black garlic to a bowl with the herbs. Add in your chile flakes, red wine vinegar, and salt. Add in enough olive oil to get a good sauce-like consistency, and mix everything together.
- Taste test it– add in more salt, vinegar, or oil as needed until you're happy with it.
- Set it aside while you cook your steak.
Seared and Basted Ribeye
- 1 large ribeye steak
- 2 tbsp beef tallow or ghee
- 4 tbsp grass-fed butter
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed with the side of a knife
- 3 sprigs of rosemary
Step 1: Dry Brine
The single most impactful thing you can do to make your steaks taste better is to salt them ahead of time (a process known as dry brining). By salting the steaks well in advance of cooking, you allow the salt enough time to permeate through to the center of the meat, locking in moisture, improving texture, and improving taste.
Ideally, you'll want to do this 24 hours ahead of when you cook. This is even more important if you're cooking a thick cut of meat. That said, as long as you can brine it at least an hour before you cook, you should do it. Anything less than an hour will actually work against you, drawing moisture out of the steak but not giving it enough time to re-absorb. If you're not going to brine ahead, salt your steak right before you cook it.
To brine the steak, you simply want to generously salt it on all sides. Grab a big pinch of salt, hold it several inches above the steak, and sprinkle it all over in an even distribution, coating all sides. I recommend using Kosher salt here (I like Diamond Crystal or Redmond) rather than flakey salt, as the smaller crystals will absorb better.
Once it has been brined, cover the steak and put it in the fridge until you're ready to cook. Try to remove the steak from the fridge at least 30 min before cooking to allow it to come up to room temp. Pat it dry with a paper towel before searing to absorb any excess moisture and prime it to sear.
Step 2: Sear
Searing a piece of meat over high heat is what allows you to get those incredible complex flavors that result from a process known as the Maillard reaction. To do this, we need a pan that's ripping hot.
Set your pan over a burner on the highest heat setting for a few min. Carbon steel and stainless steel will heat up after a minute or two– cast iron takes a bit longer.
Once the pan is hot enough that it's just starting to smoke, add 2 tbsp of tallow or ghee to the pan. Once that has melted, lay down your steak and sear on the first side.
After 2 minutes or so, you should have a beautiful brown crust on the first side. Different steaks will cook differently, so check it as you go and don't go off timing alone. Once the first side has a nice crust, flip the steak and continue cooking until the other side is browned.
Step 3: Baste with Butter and Aromatics
Once both sides have developed a proper sear, turn the heat down to medium, add your butter to the pan, and allow it to melt. Once it's mostly melted, add the crushed garlic cloves and rosemary directly on top of the butter.
Now, you want to baste the steak with the melted butter. To do this, grab your biggest spoon (I'm a big fan of these Mercer spoons) and use the handle of the pan to tilt it slightly towards you, creating a pool of butter at the base. Use the spoon to scoop up this liquid and gently wash it over the steak, covering as much of the surface as possible. As you do this, make sure to flip the steak every 30 seconds or so to make sure it's cooking evenly from both sides.
At this point, you want to start checking your steak for temperature. If you've reached the point where you can go by touch alone, congratulations! If not, there's no shame in using a meat thermometer.
Your steak will continue to heat up by a few degrees during the resting process, so plan to pull it off the pan at the following temperatures:
- Medium: 135°
- Medium-rare (recommended): 125°
- Rare: 120°
Step 4: Rest
Once you've pulled your steak off the pan, set it onto a cutting board to rest. The rest is an absolutely essential part of cooking a steak, and it's a step that's often overlooked or skipped.
When you cook a steak, you're blasting it with heat from the outside. This causes the juices within the meat to rush towards the center of the steak and away from the edges. Resting gives the meat time to relax, which allows those juices to redistribute back throughout the entirety of the steak.
Cut into a steak too early after cooking and the juices will spill out all over your cutting board. Allow the steak to rest, and the juices will stay within in the meat, improving both the taste and texture of the final product.
As a general rule of thumb, I like to rest my steaks for 5-10 minutes after cooking. I'll usually cover them with a piece of aluminum foil or a plate to prevent too much heat from dissipating during the rest.
Step 5: Cut, Sauce, and Eat
Once your steak has rested, it's time to cut and serve.
One concept that's important to master is cutting against the grain. If you're not familiar with this concept, I've provided a visual reference here. This is most important for certain cuts like flank and skirt, but it's always worth doing.
Slice your steak against the grain, and lay the slices onto a plate. Top it with a generous portion of the black garlic chimichurri, and serve immediately. I love to pair this with a side of potatoes and a simple salad with a nice acidic dressing.