Monday, July 8, 2019

Ribeye Steak with Compound Butter

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I received no compensation for this post.  But in full disclosure, although I took the year off from working directly with Certified Angus Beef® Brand, I have been sponsored by them in the past and plan to return to the program next year.

I stopped by Food City before Independence Day to pick up a chicken for a recipe I had in mind.  But I had to pick up a steak when I saw that they were having a big sale on Certified Angus Beef® Brand steaks.  I still got the chicken...I just got a steak, too.

Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks at Food City
Food City had USDA Choice and Prime C.A.B. ribeyes on sale for a price I couldn't ignore.
Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks from Food City in Knoxville
I hand-picked this beautiful USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steak.

A Bit about Steak Quality Terms
Are you confused by all of the Angus beef offerings these days?  In addition to USDA grades of Prime, Choice, and Select, at the meat counter you now see vague terms like premium, champion, and more.  Let's take a look at what it all means.

  • USDA Inspection - In the US, all beef is inspected.  Inspection is mandatory and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service is checking to make sure that the beef is wholesome, safe, and properly labeled.  Think of inspection as the bare minimum requirements that beef must meet to be sold to the public.
  • USDA Grading - Grading is voluntary and it is paid for by the meat producer/processor.  Grading gives you an idea of quality in terms of tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.  It is determined by looking at the ribeye at the 12/13th rib break 24-48 hours after harvest.  It is illegal to mislabel grades
    • Prime - The best - a young steer with abundant marbling.  Prime is often sold to restaurants and high-end hotels and can be difficult to find in retail stores.
    • Choice - High quality but less marbling than prime.  For me, this is my standard - I want choice or better.
    • Select - Fairly tender but because it has less marbling than Choice and Prime, it may lack the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.
    • Standard, Commercial - Often sold as a store brand.
    • Utility, Cutter and Canner - This is where canned beef hash and tubes of cheap ground beef come from.
    • "no roll" - Since grading is voluntary, beef that is inspected only is called "no roll".  Since it isn't graded, technically it could be prime level beef.  But typically when a producer/processor chooses not to request USDA grading, there is a reason. 
  • G Schedules - G schedules are an additional quality certification used by the federally licensed graders. Certified Angus Beef® Brand is the original beef certification program and their G-Schedule uses 10 science-based standards for marbling, size, and uniformity.   

Why Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks are better quality

Not All Angus Is Equal
Here is the reason that I always stress Certified Angus Beef® Brand and not just "premium black Angus".  C.A.B. only includes USDA Prime and the upper two-thirds of USDA Choice.  

If you look at this USDA comparison of beef certification programs and their G-schedules, you will quickly find that many other G-Schedules with quality sounding names like "premium natural black Angus beef" actually have much lower standards.  Not only do some allow the lower third of USDA Choice, but they also include USDA select!

So not all Angus brands are equal. Know what you are buying.

Certified Angus Beef USDA Prime ribeye steak
I trimmed the ribeye steak competition-style.

compound butter recipe for ribeye steak
I made a simple compound butter for our steak.  Four tablespoons unsalted butter, about 1/4 teaspoon Slap Ya Mama's cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt.  

Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks grilling on a Big Green Egg mini-max
I seasoned the steak with my finely ground NMT Beef Rub v.2 recipe.

I grilled the ribeye steak for 4 minutes per side at 500°f.  My set up was a Big Green Egg Mini-Max with a Woo rig to raise the cast iron grate to about 2" from the coals.

Most people put compound butter on a steak after it comes off the grill.  I've started to put it on the steak right after I flip the steak, so the grill heat thoroughly melts the butter across the steak.  

Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks
This steak was so tender, perfectly seasoned and amazing that it never touched a plate - Alexis and I ate the whole thing straight off of the cutting board.

Big Green Egg Mini-Max TLC

I took the picture below of my Mini-Max while grilling this steak and noticed how dirty it has gotten.  

The dimples all have grime in them, the handle is dirty, the nuts are corroded, and I still hadn't replaced the temporary handle that I made about 2 years ago.  Time for some TLC.

Routine maintenance for a Big Green Egg Mini-Max
I used a mild detergent for the ceramics, a degreaser for the exterior painted metal, and an alcohol-based cleaner for the thermometer glass.  I scrubbed it all over with a nylon scrub brush. 

Routine maintenance for a Big Green Egg Mini-Max
Normally I just use a whisk broom but today I used a small vacuum because I had it handy.

Kick Ash Basket for Big Green Egg Mini-Max
I put the interior ceramics back in and refilled my Kick Ash Basket.  

My handle broke early on and I made this temporary handle.  My dealer got the warranty part pretty quickly, I just never got around to installing it until now.

Nice, new handle.

Big Green Egg Mini-Max
There, that's better.