"My favorite animal is steak." Fran Leibowitz
I am what some people might consider a ribeyeholic. Faced with the choice of any steak, or any cut of beef for that matter, I am always going to go back to a perfectly marbled, 1 1/2 to 2 inch thick ribeye.
So I decided to apply the results of my experiment of different steak preparation methods where I discovered the power of The Big Chill and apply them to a ribeye. If you haven't read that article, it will help you understand why I am recommending this technique.
The result? By following the controlled water bath, rapid chill, smoke, and reverse sear method, I was able to create what, according to my wife, was the best ribeye I have ever made at home. So why such a complicated cooking process? The short answer is, you've spent good time and money selecting the perfect steaks so why would you want to muck them up in a rush to make dinner? With a little planning, you can take advantage of the texture and tenderness benefits produced by sous vide while also striking the perfect balance of smoke and color via the reverse sear grilling method. In addition, the rapid chill between those two steps not only make a true reverse sear possible, it also allows you to prep the steaks well in advance then grill and serve when you are ready. Once cooked, finish the steaks with a compound butter or nice olive oil and enjoy the fruits of your labors!
Reverse Seared Sous-Vide-Que Ribeye
Makes. 2 steaks, 2 to 4 servings
Takes. 2 hours to sous vide, 1 hour to chill, approximately 20 minutes to grill.
Special tools. Sous vide immersion circulator. One gallon sealable freezer bags
Serve with. A big red wine like a Syrah (a.k.a. Shiraz) or a dark beer
2 (1 1/2" thick) ribeyes, USDA Choice or better
2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
About the black pepper. You want a coarse grind so you get pops of pepper when you chew.
Optional. Large grain salt to sprinkle on finished steaks just before serving.
1) At least three hours and up to two days before cooking steak, prepare a sous vide immersion circulator such as Joule by ChefSteps according to instructions and set water temperature for 131°F. Brush steaks with olive oil and season liberally with Kosher salt and black pepper.
2) Place each steak in a separate vacuum seal bag or zipper freezer bag. If using freezer bags, carefully submerge them in the water bath until most of the air has been removed and then seal. Once bags are submerged, cook for two hours.
3) Prior to the end of the sous vide process, fill a large container with a 50/50 mix of ice and water. Once steaks are finished, still in the bags, place them in the ice water for 30 to 60 minutes to quickly reduce the meat's core temperature. Place steaks in the refrigerator until ready to grill (up to two days ahead of time).
4) Prepare a grill for 2-zone cooking. On a charcoal grill, place a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets to one side of the grill's charcoal grate in order to create direct and an indirect cooking zones. You want one side scorching hot and the other side at about 225°F. Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is as hot as possible and the other half is approximately 225°F.
5) Once the grill is ready, remove chilled steaks from the bags and place on the cooler side of the grill as far away from the heat source as possible. Position the lid on the grill with the fully opened top vent positioned directly above the steak in order to force the smoke over and around the meat.
Allow the steaks to smoke until they reached an internal temperature of 115°F (note: a remote thermometer such as the Thermoworks Smoke allows you to set and monitor the internal temperature while attending to other matters such as side dishes).
6) As the steaks cook, combine room temperature butter, parsley, and garlic and blend well. Set compound butter aside until ready to use.
7) Once the steaks reach 115°F, open the lid and quickly sear the steaks while frequently flipping until an even crust has formed. At this point, the internal temperature of the steaks should be in the medium rare range, 130 to 135°F. It is best to aim for the lower temperature in order to avoid possible overcooking during carryover.
8) Remove the steaks from the grill, plate, and top with compound butter (and optional large grain salt) before serving immediately.