Last weekend, we smoked 6 pork butts and 2 whole briskets for a friend's fundraiser dinner. Doing all of that cooking makes one hungry, right? So I made these steaks on one of our Big Green Eggs.
Pan Seared Steaks vs Grilled Steaks
When I posted this on Instagram last weekend, someone asked "Why the pan?" for grilling steaks. You know I love grilled steaks, that's obvious, but a pan seared steak can be just as amazing. Both have their strong points but the advantages of cooking steaks in a pan include:
- Pan searing steaks creates an even crust across the surface.
- Pan searing steaks allows you to use the basting technique that a lot of chef's utilize to add flavor.
- Pan searing steaks retains the brown bits (aka sucs) that are the foundation of great pan sauces.
Basting steaks is when you see a chef tilt a skillet and repeatedly spoon the butter and seasonings back over the steak. This builds flavor and helps the formation of that great crust. In this case, I had fresh tarragon growing in the front yard and tallow that we made from rendering down brisket trimmings, so that's what I used instead.
Standard flambe warning - Fire is dangerous. Igniting alcohol can be dangerous. You should wear protective equipment, have extinguishing methods available nearby, and know what you are doing. Google "how to flambe safely" if you aren't experienced at this.
Pan Seared Ribeye with Bourbon Sauce
- 2 10-ounce ribeye steaks, left out at room temperature for 1 hour
- NMT Beef Rub V.2
- 2 tablespoons beef tallow or other high temp oil
- 1-2 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon roasted garlic paste
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1/2 cup stock
- 1 tablespoon cold butter
- Set up your grill for direct heat, place the skillet in the grill, and preheat to 400°f for 15-20 minutes.
- Immediately before grilling, pat the steaks dry and season the steaks liberally on each side.
- Add the tallow and tarragon to the preheated skillet. Sear the steak for 4 to 5 minutes on the first side. At 4 minutes, I check the bottom to see the color and crust development. If it needs a little more cover, I'll let it go another minute.
- Flip the steak and cook for 2 minutes. Then, wearing appropriate safety gear and keeping the pan on the grill, tilt the pan towards you and start spooning the tarragon infused tallow over the steaks several times over the final 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the steaks to a resting rack over a plate or pan. Remove the tarragon sprigs but don't worry about individual leafs that have fallen off. They will add to the sauce. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- Add the diced shallot and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring a few times. Add the roasted garlic paste and cook until the shallot is tender, about another 90 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the grill, add the bourbon, and staying well back from the pan, immediately light a long stem lighter over the pan to ignite the alcohol fumes. Be ready for the big fireball that will quickly die down in a few seconds.
- Return the pan to the grill, add the stock and stir, scrapping up anything on the bottom. Stir in the juices collected under the steaks. Let simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes or so. Remove from heat and swirl in the tablespoon of cold butter to blend.
- Season a plate with some of the beef rub (just a few pinches). Place sliced ribeye on top of the seasoning and drizzle the bourbon sauce over the slices.
- Beef Rub - My rub has a few hard to source ingredients but the nuances of the seasonings really add to it. However, 50/50 quality coarse black pepper and kosher salt works wonders on beef.
- Steak Doneness - This is for medium rare. If someone held a gun to my head and MADE me cook a steak medium or medium well, I'd do it this way and then finish roasting it to temp.
- Roasted garlic paste - We make our own about every 2 weeks. We buy a bag of garlic, slice off the tops, drizzle with oil, season and roast at 350°f for an hour or so. But you can buy the tubes or small jars of garlic paste and that works too.
|I was buying supplies for the charity dinner and Food City had these great looking USDA Prime Certified Angus Beef ribeye steaks. They weren't cheap but I couldn't pass them up.|
|We grow fresh tarragon in our front yard, it's great with beef, chicken and in Bearnaise sauce. Dried tarragon is so strong. If I can't use fresh, I'll use something else entirely.|
|You want a heavy bottomed skillet so cast iron is ideal. The pan I'm using here is my go to skillet for the grill - a Lodge SK8 10.25" cast iron skillet [Amazon affiliate link]. It fits perfectly inside a large Big Green Egg.|
|Crisbee Stiks have made our cast iron maintenance program easier. We had heard all the hype about it but until we tried it, I didn't get it. It's just so convenient to do every time after cleaning, I find that I'm doing a much better job of doing my maintenance. Now if I could just buy it locally off the shelf instead of having to mail order.....THAT would be more convenient.|
|Grill marks are pretty but the crust is where it's at!|
|Basting the steaks with the tallow that's been simmering the beef and tarragon. Liquid gold! I do this several times, then let it sit briefly, then do it some more. You'll also want to wear some seriously heavy duty gloves because that pan will be HOT! We bought a pair of Dragon Knuckles gloves about a month ago and I've been very happy with them.|
|Great action shot by Alexis on this one. I've done plenty of these, so I'm comfortable holding the pan while doing a flambe, but it is safest to do it while the pan is resting on a heat proof surface. That's our new smoker in the background.|
|Sauce for steaks is a "less is more" kind of thing. You want the beef to shine, not drown in sauce.|