Sunday, April 19, 2020

Book Cook: Ribeye Steak with Brown Butter Bacon Sauce

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

Brown butter is clarified butter's wilder brother.  Where clarified butter is polished and mild, brown butter is edgy and has a boisterous flavor.  It is nutty and fragrant from the browned milk solids. Chef Tuffy Stone harnesses that raucousness to create a multifaceted steak in his recipe:  New York Strip with Brown-Butter Bacon Sauce and Balsamic Drizzle.  

Ribeye Steak with Brown Butter Bacon Sauce from Tuffy Stone's Cool Smoke book
I used a ribeye steak instead.  This recipe would work amazingly with any of the major steaks, such as;  strip, ribeye, porterhouse, or filet. 

Cool Smoke:  The Art of Great Barbecue 

I first learned about this book from the author himself at a Smithfield event back in 2016 when he was in the midst of the writing process. 

Tuffy Stone sharing wisdom about cuts of pork at Smithfield's lab in Smithfield VA
Tuffy Stone sharing his wisdom on cuts of pork and how their position on the animal affects your cooking strategies.  

This was a limited and informal event, so we had ample opportunity to talk with Tuffy about his vision for the book, recipes that he was developing, and his experience with the process.  Tuffy spoke passionately about wanting to focus on simple, approachable food that still rocks the palate.  I couldn't wait to pre-order the book and was thrilled when it came out in 2018.

brief review of Tuffy Stone's Cool Smoke: The Art of Barbecue
Tuffy Stone is well-known as a judge from the BBQ Pitmasters shows and a multiple-time BBQ World Champion. He is also a classically trained chef.  He draws on all of those talents and knowledge in his first book - Cool Smoke: The Art of Great Barbecue. [Amazon Affiliate link]

Ribeye Steak with Brown Butter Bacon Sauce

The original recipe calls for NY Strip Steaks.  I went with ribeye instead.  Not for any strategic reason, it was only because the Certified Angus Beef® Brand USDA Prime ribeye steaks were the best looking in the case that day.  

Certified Angus Beef brand ribeye steak from Food City
Several people have asked about why I always trim my steaks competition style.  I don't, really.  The butchers at my Food City trim their ribeyes that tightly.  The ONLY trimming I did of this ribeye is shown here, so it's already almost competition style.  Competition steak cooks do this mainly for appearance.  What this tight cutting means to home cooks is that you are only paying for steak, not waste or scrap. 

Ribeye Steak featuring the Santa Maria Rub from Certified Angus Beef brand's website.
Tuffy uses only salt and pepper, which is all a good steak really needs anyway.  I used the Santa Maria Rub recipe from Certified Angus Beef® Brand's website because it is a basic salt/pepper beef seasoning, and I already had it made up.

Tuffy's Brown Butter-Bacon Sauce fits his simple yet flavorful vision.  He simply browns a half-cup of finely chopped bacon until partially cooked.  Then he adds a stick of butter and finishes cooking another 3 or so minutes. It's done when the liquid turns amber, the milk solids turn brown, and it smells nutty.  
 Tip:  It is easier to see the visual cues for brown butter if you use a light-colored pan.  I used a cast-iron skillet because that's about all I use anymore.

The Oklahoma Joe's Rambler is an excellent steak cooker and portable grill.d
My grill of choice for this cook was my Oklahoma Joe's Rambler, one of my three steak-cookers along with my Big Green Egg Mini-Max and my PK Grill Original.  I like these 3 grills for steaks because they are small and can provide the intense heat needed for steaks without burning a butt-ton of fuel.  This particular grill has a small footprint but has a surprising amount of space, an adjustable charcoal tray, and is half the price of the other two.  That said, the other two grills have limited lifetime (BGE) and 10-year (PK) warranties versus 2 years for the OKJ.  I like them all, so pick your poison. 

I filled the tray with Tennessee hardwood lump charcoal and fired it up with my gas torch.  This is more spread out and shallower than a fire bowl full of lump in an Egg, so I start it in more spots (6-8) than a full-sized Egg (1-3).

Oklahoma Joe's Rambler and other small grills get up to temperature more quickly.
Another good thing about small grills, in general, is that they get to temp more quickly.  I grilled these steaks at 500°f on the Rambler.

I grilled the steaks to an internal temp of 125°f, which was about 4 minutes per side.  

I've been slack in getting this posted, but this was about a month ago during one of our Spring cold snaps.  I fired up my tractor-tire firepit to stay warm while I cooked.  It was also an excellent way to burn off some wood that wasn't fit for a smoker.  

As always, I rested the steak on a cooling rack.  This was before Trevor moved back home from college due to the COVID-19 closures, so I just did one steak for Alexis and me to share.

Finally, I poured the Brown-Butter Bacon Sauce and a reduced balsamic vinegar on top of the ribeye steak before slicing it.

Certified Angus Beef Brand Ribeye Steak from Food City
I usually don't sauce my steaks, but I'll be darned if this wasn't a delicious ribeye!

 If you want to take your grilling and BBQ game to the next level, get Cool Smoke and cook through these recipes.  With Tuffy's book and a little practice, your friends will think that you're the World Champion pitmaster.

Kevin Sandridge of the BBQ Beat interviews Daniel Vaughn

The latest edition of BBQ Beat is out, and Kevin talks with Daniel Vaughn, the BBQ Editor for Texas Monthly. Here's some of the good stuff in the podcast.  

  • Daniel's friendship with Anthony Bourdain during and after the publishing of Prophets of Smoked Meat
  • BBQ restaurants that deserve more press than they get
  • The impact Daniel's Texas Monthly BBQ reviews have on BBQ restaurants
  • Why Daniel fears one particular style of Texas BBQ may be at risk of becoming a thing of the past
  • How to know the best time to hit that BBQ spot you've been dying to try
  • What it was like working with Sam Jones on his book about whole hog BBQ
Kevin keeps his ear to the ground and always has the latest news in the BBQ world.