Sunday, August 11, 2013

Chef Bolek's Two Pound Ribeye

One of the "regular" features on the Chef Bolek blog is Steak Night.  The story behind Steak Night begins with my beautiful wife, Clare.  She is a pescatarian, and, thus, does not eat red meat.  Given that Clare is one of my principal inspirations for cooking, I make a lot of seafood and vegetable dishes.  Red meat, such as steak, is off the menu.

However, there was usually one or two nights per week when Clare had either work or personal obligations that prevented us from having a meal together.  Those evenings presented the opportunity for me to cook and eat red meat.  Originally, the goal of Steak Night was to make the biggest steak I could find, apply a spice rub, and cook the steak to medium rare.  I would serve the steak to myself with some white rice, whose sole purpose was to absorb some of the meat's juices (or some hot sauce) as I ate the steak.  Over time, and as this blog grew, Steak Night became an opportunity to try to make different types of beef recipes, research how different cuisines prepare beef, and to experiment with different ingredients.  This led to recipes and dishes such as Gaucho-Style Steak with Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce, the Inferno Steak, and Green Hatch Chile Rubbed Bison Cowboy Steak.

Recently, while shopping at Costco, I came across some two-pound ribeyes.  This brought back memories of the original Steak Nights, with the huge hunks of meat, straight forward rubs, and grilled to medium rare.  I bought a package and decided to make a simple rub of spices that often made their way into the rubs of the past: smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and cumin.  I usually make a lot of a rub so that it can be applied liberally to all sides of the meat.

Grilling a large piece of meat can be difficult, because inevitably the meat does not have the same thickness throughout.  This means that some parts will cook faster than others.  I have a general rule of about four to five minutes.  After the first four to five minutes, I turn the meat by 90 degrees.  After the second four to five minutes, I flip the steak.  After the third four to five minutes, I rotate the meat again by 90 degrees.  I then check the temperature with a meat thermometer, with 130 degrees Fahrenheit (medium rare) being the goal.  I then figure out how much longer the steak needs to remain on the grill to reach about 135 degrees or so before I remove it to rest.  It is important to keep in mind that a steak will cook at least five degrees while resting.
The dish is completed with some white rice, which as I noted above, is used primarily to gather the juices of the meat as it is sliced.  At first, I just used minute rice (which is really not all that good).  Now, I use basmati rice.  Whatever rice does not soak up meat juices usually gets doused with some hot sauce. 

That is the old-school, traditional Steak Night: a massive dish of food.  I probably could have finished off the dish in one sitting while I was in my prime.  It now takes a couple of sittings. Or, better yet, a couple of friends to join me. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 4 (or 1 Chef Bolek)

2 pound ribeye
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
Extra virgin olive oil

1.  Prepare the rub.  Mix all of the ingredients together.   Apply olive oil to all sides of the ribeye.  Add the rub to all sides.  Make sure that all sides are coated evenly with the rub.  Let the ribeye sit for about 10 to 15 minutes.  

2.  Prepare the rice.  Prepare the rice according to the instructions on the package. 

3.  Grill the ribeye.  Heat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you have a three burner grill, turn off one burner.  Place the ribeye over that burner.  Cook until you reach the desired doneness, such as 130 degrees for medium rare or 140 degrees for medium.


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