Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reverse Seared Cowboy Steak Sandwich

This sandwich defies a bit of conventional wisdom. 

Instead of throwing the steaks over rocket hot flames for a few minutes per side, I used the “reverse sear”. The “reverse sear” is a technique championed by Chris Finney where you slow roast the meat first and THEN sear it at the end. Reverse searing gives the most evenly cooked steaks I have had.

I received a free sample of McCormick's Grill Mates Cowboy Rub, one of their new flavors for 2011. It is an audacious rub with ground chilies, garlic, onion and other seasonings. It has a touch of coffee in it which may sound weird but that has been a big trend in beef rubs. I dislike coffee as a drink. However, a hint of ground coffee in a beef rub brings out a rustic edge to your steaks and I like it.

Are you ready for this? I cooked it on the gas grill side of my Smoke Hollow grill combo unit. Yes, I used a gasser. My Big Green Egg friends are laughing at me right now, but 70% of Americans that grill use a gas grill. I just want to show that you can replicate the techniques of what I do on my Big Green Eggs on other types of grills.

Reverse Seared Cowboy Steak Sandwich
serves: 4

4 teaspoons McCormick's Grill Mates Cowboy Rub (divided)
½ cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 Tablespoons steak sauce
2 ea strip steaks, 1” thick
8 slices French bread, about ½ thick and cut at a sharp angle
8 slices manchego cheese
4 leaves green leaf lettuce

Mix together the mayonnaise, steak sauce and 2 teaspoons of the Cowboy Rub in a small bowl. Let it chill in the refrigerator.

Rub the steaks with the remaining 2 teaspoons of the Cowboy Rub. Use a little more if needed to cover the entire steaks.  Let the steaks rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Flavor you can see.  I like the coarse texture of this rub.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at 250f. For a gas grill, this would be turning on one burner at one end and leaving the others off. Adjust the single burner until your cooking temp is 250f. 

Only the burner on the far right is on and it is on low.  The pan & rack rig was not needed after all.

Slow roast the seasoned steaks at the other end of the grill (thus “indirect) with the lid closed until the steaks hit an internal temperature of 125f. This took about 40 minutes for mine but cook according to the internal temperature, not time. Don't worry, the steaks will not look done at this point.

Now sear the steaks for just about a minute per side. For charcoal, you would just move them from the indirect to direct heat. For gas grills, crank up the burner to high for a few minutes with the lid open and then move the steaks over the direct heat.
I used the Smoke Hollow's sear burner.  Worked great!

Remove the steaks from the grill and let them rest for at least 10 minutes. Meanwhile toast the bread slices on the grill.

Slice the steaks as thinly as you can. Try not to eat it all while's for the sandwiches.
Medium rare all the way through. 

Top one piece of toast with lettuce and two slices of the manchego cheese. Add one fourth of the sliced steak. Top with another piece of toast that has been slathered with the Cowboy mayonnaise. Repeat for the other three sandwiches.

Biting through the crisp toast into the tender steak is Nirvana. The tang of the bold mayo and the hint of saltiness from the manchego cheese balance each other. We've made this three times and it is even better when the steaks are grilled over coals and oak.


  1. I've seen folks use this technique on Food TV a few times. I'm thinking about how I can dupe it on my stovetop grill. Coffee rub on steak is truly awesome. I use espresso powder. This has been craving a steak.

  2. Oh Boy, great post. Been reading on this and plan to try next time I cook my steaks.

    And the gas grillers out there are cheering. Some day i hope to have my egg (or two eggs like the cool kids have) and be all snooty, but until then, me and Hank Hill love our propane.


  3. I actually love using coffee and a little cocoa in my rubs these days. There is just something that delicious that they bring to the meat.
    This sandwich sounds fantastic. I'll have to give the reverse searing a try, I have not done that before. Thanks for the new cooking method!!

  4. That's cookin with gas... I must try this inside out method. My main issue is my wife will not let the meat rest. She thinks I just do it for pictures.

  5. OK, now I'm drooling over that sandwich!!! That's new to me with the reverse searing and I will tell Bill about it for the next steask on the grill. I love love coffee so the rub has to be great so I'll be looking for the rub.

  6. wow, you are right so perfectly even! I have to try this.

  7. I'm not laughing because that is one amazing looking steak. EXACTLY how I like it - medium rare. On a side note, you used manchego cheese. I have a recipe I want to make next weekend that calls for it and I've never seen it. I don't think it's a big seller in Toronto. I'm thinking I'll have to try Whole Foods as they seem to have everything I can't get at my regular grocery store. Anyway, your sandwich looks mouthwatering!

  8. Aaah, I'm drooling on my keyboard. That looks SO GOOD!

  9. That is an outstanding sandwich Chris and the steak looks perfect. It's 5:10am and I'm craving a steak sammie.

  10. I'm pretty sure a real cowboy would immediately remove the lettuce leaf and then shoot it. Fries look awesome.

  11. I would definitely like to 'nibble' on this!

  12. That looks absolutely mouth watering! The steak is perfectly cooked. Nicely done my friend.

  13. Is it wrong that I want this for breakfast? Wow...this is one amazing sandwich, Chris! Thanks for showing us that you can cook on gas, too (even though I'm sure you didn't enjoy it nearly as much)! :-)

    Kim in MD

  14. Have I told you how much you amaze me? Wow your steaks look amazing. Mine NEVER turn out like that! I will have to try that slow cooked technique then the quick sear (or reverse sear, as you call it). Your sandwich seriously looks beautiful, like professionally put together and photographed.

  15. Love the idea of the reverse sear. I must try this!

    I also didn't know Manchego was a salty cheese. I've not tried it thinking it was bland. My bad. I love salty cheese.

  16. I think a lot of restaurants employ that trick... GREG

  17. Oh, my goodness! Your steak looks INCREDIBLE! You were not kidding, that is amazing. I am going to try this next time. Thanks a bunch for the tip. I like your blog and I am happily following you now!


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