Monday, June 28, 2021

Cowboy Ribeye Steak with Crispy Potatoes and Black Beans

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This weekend, we bought a 20-ounce, black Angus, cowboy ribeye steak from Butler and Bailey Market. We grilled it on the Big Green Egg and served it with some crispy skillet potatoes and black beans for a delicious meal.

Cowboy Ribeye Steak, crispy potatoes, and bush's best Sidekicks

Well, it was labeled as a cowboy steak but semantically, there is room for debate about that. What exactly is a cowboy steak?

Bone-in Ribeye, Cowboy Ribeye, and Tomahawk Ribeye

This was definitely a bone-in ribeye steak but it depends who you ask as to whether it is a cowboy steak. All three of these steak names come from the beef rib primal. The cowboy and tomahawk are both derivatives of the bone-in ribeye. 

  • Bone-in Ribeye Steak - Any ribeye steak with a bone is a bone-in ribeye, duh. Typically when I see that term used, it is referring to a ribeye steak with a small piece of the rib bone still attached.
  • Cowboy Ribeye Steak - The Field Guide To Meat declares that a cowboy steak is simply a bone-in ribeye steak (38). Other sources, such as this Certified Angus Beef page state that a cowboy ribeye has a short frenched bone. In other words, the wedge of meat called the lip is removed to show barebone at the end.
  • Tomahawk ribeye steak - The tomahawk is a ribeye steak with the full rib bone exposed. It makes the most dramatic presentation but it adds nothing to the flavor compared to cowboy or bone-in ribeye steaks.

Cowboy steak vs tomahawk vs bone-in ribeye
The triangular-shaped wedge at the bottom of the bone is the point of contention. If it was removed along that fat line at the bottom of the steak, then it would definitely be a cowboy ribeye. As is? It maybe is a cowboy steak but definitely is a bone-in ribeye steak.

If this has you confused, don't worry. All three cook and taste the same. Just remember what Bill Shakespeare once said while pontificating about steaks on the grill - "A ribeye steak by any other name would taste as sweet."

The Grill Set-Up

This was a short, quick-cook and the grill setup was straightforward. I loaded a large Big Green Egg (the one in the Challenger cart) with a Kick Ash Basket full of Brazillian lump charcoal. I lit it in 3 spots for 30 seconds per spot with a propane grill torch. I left the vents wide open until the grill hit 300°f and then shut the vents down to about 1" open and stabilized the grill at 350°f. 

Big Green Egg in a Challenger Designs cart
My plan was to cook the veggies at 350°f and then raise the temp up at the end to grill the steak.

The Sides

The sides were rather simple.

  • Potato hash featuring Yukon gold potatoes, diced onion, sliced mini-sweet bell peppers, diced jalapeno, Kinder's Master Salt, and black pepper.
  • Black Beans with corn and bell peppers in a chipotle sauce. 

Making skillet potatoes on the Big Green Egg
I sauteed the potatoes in hot oil for 10 minutes, tossing them about every 2 minutes. Then I added in the diced onion and let it go until the onion was tender and almost translucent about another 2-3 minutes.

Big Green Egg in a Challenger Designs cart
Then I added the bell pepper, jalapeno, and Kinder's seasoning and tossed until cooked through, another 2 minutes or so.

Bush's Best Taco Fiesta Sidekicks
My secret recipe for the beans. Easy, no? When we need a quick side, we grab a can of Bush's Beans. They only took about 5 minutes on the grill in my trust Finex sauce and bean pot.

Cooking with cast iron on the big green egg
Finishing up the potato hash. At this point, opening the lid every 2 minutes to stir and opening up the lower vent raised the cooking temp to 450°f. This got the potatoes crispy and got the grill hot enough for the steak. 

The Steak Cook

If the steak was any thicker, I would have reverse seared it. But I was hungry and wanted to eat sooner, so I went with a simple direct grill of 4 minutes a side at 450-500°.

I lightly coated both sides with a small amount of peanut oil. Maybe a teaspoon per side, just enough to put a sheen on it. The oil serves as a binder and promotes browning.

My older son gave me some seasonings for Father's Day. I used black pepper and this Kinder's Master Salt with garlic, sea salt, and butter. The flavor was bold and mouthwatering, I've been looking forward to trying it.

Bone-in Ribeye Steak on the Big Green Egg
If your grill doesn't sizzle and smoke when you first put your steak on it, it is probably nowhere near hot enough yet.

The cast iron grates from Craycort make killer grill marks and are durable
I gave the steak a quarter turn on each side to get cross-hatch marks. 

Bone-in ribeye steak on the big green egg
In the last minute, I put a tablespoon or two of garlic butter on which will cause a flare up or two when it drips over the sides, but nothing to worry about for a short period of time.

As always, I rest our steaks on a cooling rack - a trick I learned from Putting hot meat on a flat surface traps heat and steams the fibers, causing more loss of juices. This prevents that. I tried it side by side once and was convinced. 

Cowboy ribeye steak dinner for two from the Big Green Egg
Cowboy ribeye steak dinner for two! 

The Results

The steak was fantastic, one of the best we've done in a long time. The lively flavor of Kinder's Master Salt created an eruption of taste. I'd say it's the best garlic salt I've ever used and it translates quite well to the finished steak. 

The crispy potatoes were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. The Kinder's worked its magic on those as well. 

The beans were tangy, savory, and didn't require any doctoring, they were good right out of the can. I always keep 2-3 cans of Bush Beans on hand for quick side dishes. It feels like I'm cheating but it always tastes good, so who cares?

Keep the fires hot and the grates clean, my friends! 

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