Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blackened Steak Experiment

Can you feel it in the air?

It's coming.  I see it on the buds of tree.  I hear it in the voices of birds.  I smell it in the....ACHOOOOOO.... pollen floating around.  Yes I'm talking about SPRING!  Dig out and thaw out people, SPRING IS COMING SOON.

It was a beautiful blue sky day today and it couldn't be wasted inside.   Today was a day for playing in my open air kitchen on the deck.   I decided to blacken a ribeye steak, something I have not done before.   Steak doesn't need anything more than salt, pepper and charcoal, but I was in the mood for something different.

"Blackening" does not meant burned meat.  Blackening is a high heat cooking method that creates a dark, spicy seasoning crust on properly cooked meat.  Since it is high heat, it works best with relatively lean proteins such as fish, steaks, and pork chops.   This method was invented by famed chef, Paul Prudhome, so you can imagine the seasonings are Cajun based.

Blackened Ribeye Steak

2 ea ribeye steaks, at least 1" thick

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp thyme, ground
1/4 tsp oregano, ground
1/4 tsp celery seed 

1/2 cup butter
1 clove garlic minced
1 tsp Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning  (You could substitute some of the blackening rub or a cajun rub)

Special equipment:  Cast iron skillet

One of the most important parts of proper blackening is making sure your cast iron skillet is cooking over a "rocket hot" grill, basically as hot as you can get it.  If you are using a normal charcoal grill, use Kingsford Competition Briquettes or lump charcoal for this one, they burn hotter. [Click here for a great explanation by John Dawson of Patio Daddio.]

Preheat your cast iron skillet.  Trust me, don't cheat here.  The entire process depends on a HOT HOT skillet.  Let the skillet preheat for 10-15 minutes.   

Not a skillet but plays one on TV.

Yeah, that's not a skillet.  I got a spider rig from the Ceramic Grill Store this week.  When cleaning last night, I noticed that the upside down lid to a Lodge #12 cast iron dutch oven makes a concave griddle that fits the spider rig PERFECTLY!  

Rub your steaks heavily with the rub on both sides.  Set aside.

Make your garlic butter mix by heating all the ingredients for a few minutes in a small sauce pan over medium heat.

Now it is time to drop the hammer on these steaks.  Pour some of the garlic butter mixture on one side of each and place that side down on the skillet.  Be prepared for some serious smoke.  That is why you do this outdoors!

Cook for a few minutes (2 minutes med-rare, 3 minutes medium) and then flip.  Ladle a little of the garlic butter mixture over the steaks.  Be careful when doing this because splash overs can cause a flash fire.  (My Facebook followers will see the uncensored video of this.)  If that happens, don't panic.  Just close the grill top and the fire should extinguish itself quickly.  

Remove the steaks from the grill to a raised rack to rest for 5-10 minutes.  I use a baking cooling rack over a plate, but you could just steal the rack out of your toaster oven.  When you put the steaks flat on a plate to rest, the heat trapped between the meat and the plate will "steam" the meat pores open, releasing the juices.  Raising the steaks prevents that. 

When serving, top with a little of the garlic butter mixture.

My test steak turned out darkened just right but not burned at all. 

And the inside was still nice and juicy.  

I prefer my steak medium-rare and this one turned out medium but that is because I gave both sides an extra flip for about 45 seconds each.  Next time I'll stick with the 2 minutes per side for medium rare or use a thicker steak.   The flavors were bold and a bit of a party, just like you would expect from Louisiana.   

Cheerwine Comes To Knoxville
The Carolina soft drink company is celebrating their expansion into Tennessee with a special event at Calhoun's on Neyland Drive this Thursday, March 3rd.    Guests can win various Cheerwine prizes, including an iPod, T-shirts, 12-packs of Cheerwine and goodie bags. Hors d'oeuvres and light refreshments, including drink specials, will be served.   If you are interested, visit Cheerwine on Facebook, at, to RSVP for a coveted invitation.


  1. I know. I am loving this weather, but I am such a worry wart, I worry that it will get really cold again and kill stuff. I've got to stop worrying and go grill a steak.

  2. Wonderful. I wanted to try this last summer but could not get my act together. Now I have to wait for spring in Michigan... maybe in 6 weeks.

  3. Looks like a winner! The Cajun and I were at a BBQ Throwdown Competition/Festival today consuming far more BBQ any two peeps should be eating. Have to admit with all those Green Eggs and smokers I couldn't help but think of both you and Larry!

  4. I am so excited for spring. I wish there were a way to will it to come sooner. I'm kind of over this whole 30 degree weather thing.

    I love the crust that comes from blackening a steak or chicken or pork. So good. Yours looks perfectly done!

  5. We have Robins all year round, but we had our first official Robin fight a few days ago, which means they're vying for rights to our back yard to attract a female. Thanks to you I'm craving a steak.

  6. being able to blackened meat properly is a technical skill, that looks like you have mastered. I can't say that I have ever blackened meat but, I Have enjoyed it, the flavors are fabulous.

    These last couple of days the weather has been grand. This evening we are taking our Sunday Supper to the patio-It is supposed to be a stunning day, with temps hovering around 80.


  7. Looks delish! I'm in SLC visiting the fam - showed your post to my dad, the "frisbee" maker - everything he grills, he burns, thus the frisbee nickname. He's going to try this for dinner tonight - with my help - I'll be standing next to his grill with a fire extinguisher. Say the top 3 who made it to Vegas - I was hoping for a miracle...but alas, I shall continue to be a grill-challenged-goil! xo, Nan

  8. I looked at the facebook video and am sure glad you finally got a set of long tongs. We've blackened fish and chicken, but not steak - will have to try it.

  9. Hey I am coming to Nicklesville in late June, ready for a hook up again? Well, I would be getting the better end of that bargain LOL

    A friend of mine mentioned Cheerwine, what is it? She lives in NC.

    My grill has been on top of the snow since fall :)

  10. that looks like an amazing steak to me! i love the rub you used.

  11. Ah, Paul Prudhome. You used to see him everywhere. I wonder what's happened to him.

    Your steak is cooked to perfection Chris. I haven't blackened anything in a long time either.

    Cheers for Cheerwine coming to your area. It's such a novelty. I never heard of it until I moved to North Carolina. I've had people in Florida actually ask me to bring them some Cheerwine. Can you believe it?

  12. I love blackened fish and chicken, though I have never blackened my steaks. Seems like the next logical step!! The steak looks wonderful, Chris!

  13. Now I get it. I always wondered how a steak gets that nice black char without becoming well done.

  14. I have a flank steak in the fridge right now... I may just use this rub on it. YUM!

  15. Dang those ribeyes look great. After the Great Snow Debacle* of 2011, I'm so ready for Spring!

    *Made us all crazy thinking we were getting snow for the first time in 35 years and nothing...nada...not even a flake!!

  16. This looks delicious! Perfect for out BBQ. It's just turning to autumn here but someone forgot to tell the weather :)

  17. I made this rub last night for my flank steak and it turned out AWESOME. You rock my friend... thanks for the recipe.

  18. Thats a great looking steak! I going to give this one a try. I got a cast iron 1/2 moon grate for my BGE, this will be a perfect recipe for that.

  19. I watched your video and could almost smell that delicious searing cow flesh! You know, in Montana the warm weather is still pretty far away. All your talk of tree buds and pollen make me a little cranky. I'll survive . . . sigh.

  20. I have been craving blackened steak for a long time so I ordered a Lodge 12" skillet through walmart ('ship to store' it was under $20) and a Bayou SP10 jet burner from Amazon (under $45 shipped to my door). Unsure of the results, I mixed up the spices and applied them to some Burger patties (85/15) My infrared thermometer showed the skillet climb to 680 in just a few minutes, so I dropped one on and backed off the heat a little, down to 580. 2 minutes on each side and then finished in an oven.
    Wow. Absolutely the best hamburger I have ever had. Can't wait to pick up some Steak.


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