Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Ribeye Steak with Green Peppercorn, Roasted Garlic, and Smoked Chile Compound Butter

Grill marks look mighty sexy on a steak.  Just the image of those cross hatch marks on a juicy ribeye steak can start mouths watering.  But the even golden crust of a skillet or griddle seared steak has it's advantages.  

Certified Angus Beef ribeye steak on a Craycort cast iron griddle

Advantages of a Griddle or Pan Seared Steak

  1. You get to keep the sucs (bits stuck to the pan) for a fond to make delicious pan sauces.
  2. You don't have to do rotations to get cross hatch marks.
  3. You maximize the amount of the Maillard reaction  on the whole surface of the steak instead of just where the grill marks are. 
The last one is really important to me because maximizing the browning means maximizing the flavor.  Here's how we cooked a few steaks this weekend. I'm writing the recipe as most people would - 1 steak per person.  But the older I get, the more I shift to lesser portions, a half of a ribeye is more than enough for me.  Substitutions for ingredients are listed below in the notes section.

Grilled ribeye steak with compound butter of roasted garlic, green peppercorns, smoked red chile

Ribeye Steak with Compound Butter 


  • 4 ribeye steaks 1.5" thick, left at room temperature for 1 hour
  • 1/4 cup beef seasoning
  • beef tallow or other high temperature oil

For the Compound Butter

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1 tablespoon crushed green peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon Smoking Goat Farms smoked red chile
  • 2 pinches Himalayan pink salt


  1. Make the compound butter.  In a medium bowl, mix the compound butter ingredients together until thoroughly blended.  If using right away, leave it out.  If making for later, store in the fridge and take out 1 hour before using.
  2. Preheat your grill to 450°f (medium high) set up for direct heat.  Place your cast iron pan or griddle on the grill with plenty of time to preheat.  For me, that means putting it on when I first light the coals and then waiting 10 minutes once the cooking temp reaches 450°f.
  3. Season the steaks on both side with the beef seasoning.
  4. Sear the steaks.  Add the tallow to the pan and as soon as it is melted and shimmering, add the steaks.  Cook until it gets a golden crust on the first side, about 3 minutes, and then flip.  Do the same for the other side.
  5. Roast the steaks.  Once seared, shift to an indirect set up and let the steaks finish roasting to an internal temperature of 128°f, about 10-12 minutes.  Place of dollop or two of the compound butter on each steak during the last 5 minutes.
  6. Rest the steaks.  Rest the steaks on a cooling rack for a few minutes while you put the plates together.  You don't want to trap the heat between the bottom of the steak and a flat surface, as that will cause more moisture loss per  
  7. Serve.  If I have any butter leftover, I like to put a smear of it on the plate.  Sometimes I put it directly on the butter as a board sauce, like Adam Perry Lang does.  Other times, I put it to the side to use more like a condiment.  It's up to you.


  • Beef Rub - If you don't want to make my beef rub and you don't have a commercial beef rub on hand, you can always just season the steaks liberally with kosher salt, coarse black pepper, and granulated garlic.
  • Green Peppercorns - These have a unique, mild fruity flavor compared to black peppercorns.  I used to be able to buy them at Publix but now have to mail order them.  If you can't find just the green at the store, you can use the tri-color peppers that most stores sell.
  • Garlic - We almost always have roasted garlic on hand because it holds well and it's an easy way to flavor boost many recipes.  You can just substitute finely minced raw garlic instead but it's sharper in flavor so use less, to taste, about 1 teaspoon to a half tablespoon.
  • Smoking Goat Smoked Red is quite spicy and smoky.  Think of it as a cross between the flavor of ancho and the heat of cayenne.  You could also use Hell Flakes or just crumble up some red chile flakes.

Lodge cast iron skillets that fit on a large Big Green Egg or kamado grill
A few of our skillets that fit into a large kamado grill - two 10" Lodge and one 8" Lodge.  Lodge is my default cast iron pan choice because they are a Tennessee company in South Pittsburgh.

The green peppercorn goes exceptionally well with beef.  It has more flavor and less sting than black pepper, even though it's the same fruit, just harvested earlier.  I think it's worth the hassle to get it through mail order.
How to roast garlic on a kamado grill
Here's how we fire roast garlic.  We set up a small kamado grill for indirect heat at 350°f.  Cut the tops off of whole heads of garlic, season it with salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.  Then we roast it for an hour.  When done, we allow it to cool and then just squish out the pulp.  We mash that together with a bit of olive oil and you get a roasted garlic paste that will hold in the fridge for a week or two.  Ours never lasts that long because we use it first.

Compound butter featuring Smoking Goat Farms Smoked red chiles
Smoking Goat Farms is a farm in nearby Grainger County and I see it in the local country stores and "local products" section of grocery stores like Butler and Bailey Market.  It has the heat of red chile flakes but the smoke flavor of ancho or chipotle.

A sizzling ribeye steak in a Lodge cast iron skillet on a kamado grill
The first night we made this, I used a skillet on the grill. 

How to use a cast iron pot for indirect cooking on a kamado grill
Instead of putting in a plate setter to switch to indirect, I used the cast iron pan as a heat deflector of sorts.  I just put a resting rack on it and the steak on top of that.

Griddle insert set up from Craycort Cast Iron Grates.
The next day we repeated the recipe but this time used a griddle instead. This is Craycort's newer grate for a large Big Green Egg, more room and a better fit.  They are one of our equipment sponsors and I'll have a full post about the upgrades in the near future.

Golden crusted steak on a Craycort cast iron griddle
One difference between a pan and a griddle is making sure you don't use too much oil or it can seep over the edges of the griddle and down into the coals where it can smolder or flame up.

Craycort cast iron grate is one of the most flexible and durable accessories out there.
The sizzle of the griddle is a good indicator of proper cooking temps.  If it's not sizzling, your temps are too cool and your meat is just sitting in warm oil rather than building a delicious crust.

Spinach Maria cooked in a cast iron dish on the grill
While the steak was roasting, I made a batch of Spinach Maria to go with it.

Trip To The Ranch

One of the perks of having Certified Angus Beef as a sponsor is that I get to take a trip to one of their ranches later this Spring.  You’ve heard the adage ‘if you love your work you won’t have to work a day in your life’. It’s true – just ask a farm family. Raising Angus cattle is hard work requiring 24-hour on-call service, but these folks love their families, the land, and the cattle who roam there. See for yourself …