Some things in life are almost impossible to wait for: your first kiss, season premieres of your favorite TV show, and a perfectly cooked ribeye steak. Mastering the ribeye takes skill, patience, and a big appetite.
Fortunately, by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know exactly what it takes to buy, cook, and serve a ribeye steak.
What Is a Ribeye Steak?
The ribeye steak is one of the most sought-after cuts in the world of red meat. Although the cut typically contains the rib bone, you can get a ribeye with or without the bone.
Choosing a ribeye steak with the bone will add more flavor, but it will also be harder to cook properly. If you’re new to cooking steak, we recommend you start with a boneless ribeye cut.
A ribeye steak consists of a long tender muscle called the longissimus dorsi, which runs from the hip to the shoulder. Since this muscle is less used than others, it’s far more tender. The longissimus dorsi also contains a significant amount of fat, which adds flavor and moisture. As a result, the ribeye is commonly referred to as the “beauty steak”.
Where to Buy Ribeye Steak
You can normally find ribeye steaks at any supermarket. However, for higher-quality cuts, you’re better off going to a butcher shop. When shopping for red meat, be aware of smells, colors, and aesthetics. As the name suggests, red meat should be dark red. Sometimes red meat can appear brownish, which just means it was exposed to oxygen.
Ribeye steaks typically have a lot of marbling (speckles of white fat throughout the surface). The more marbling, the better the steak will taste.
Ribeye cuts should be tight and firm. If the meat looks like it’s about to fall apart, it’s likely lower-quality. You should also consider things like the sell-by and use-by date when buying a ribeye steak.
The most important aspects you want to look for when buying a ribeye steak are:
- Color: When choosing a steak, try to find a cut with no brown spots. While steaks with brown spots are still safe to eat, they aren’t as fresh.
- Marbling: It is a term to define how much fat a steak has. Fat allows the steak to retain its natural flavors and the taste of your seasoning. Look for a ribeye steak with lots of marbling.
How to Cook a Ribeye Steak
There are a few ways you can go about cooking your ribeye steak. Some people like to throw it on the grill, but you can also use your oven or stovetop. For this article, we’ll stick to the classic method of pan-frying a ribeye steak to perfection.
We recommend using a cast-iron skillet for a great sear on your steak.
The best part about pan-frying a steak is that it brings out more flavors and makes your meat look amazing. It doesn’t require any special equipment (like a grill), and you don’t have to wait for your oven to preheat.
Pan-Fried Ribeye Steak Recipe
- 24-oz. ribeye steak at room temperature
- Freshly ground pepper and salt
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 1 tablespoon of oil (preferably canola oil)
The first thing you’re going to want to do is reach for your kosher salt. Kosher salt is better than fine table salt since the meat absorbs it more easily. You’ll also want to grab your freshly ground pepper to add to the flavor.
Make sure to coat each side of the steak with enough salt and pepper that there’s a visible layer of seasoning. You don’t want to cover it with too much salt, but ensure that there’s enough to coat the entire surface of the steak.
After seasoning your steak, let it rest for a few minutes. Then, come back to it and add another hit of salt. This time, we recommend using flaky sea salt. This type of salt makes your steak juicier and more appealing to eat.
- Heat oil in a cast-iron pan over medium heat.
- Place your steak in the center of the pan (you may want to hold it at arm’s length to avoid getting splattered by the hot oil). Cook 1-2 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes.
- Lower the heat and push your steak to the side of the pan. Add the butter, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.
- Let the butter cook until it starts to foam (around 90 seconds).
- Carefully sear the steak with butter for 1-2 minutes and flip it one last time.
- Check the internal temperature of the steak. We recommend cooking it to 120 degrees F for medium-rare.
- Let your steak rest for 15 minutes before serving. This is important! We know you’re ready to eat now, but resting makes the steak juicier.
Steak can be intimidating to cook, but the sooner you try, the sooner you can perfect your technique. With a little practice, you can have a gourmet steak at home rather than only enjoying steak at a restaurant. It’s a great way to impress dinner guests or your significant other, too.
Once you’ve mastered the pan-fried ribeye steak, consider adding different seasonings, like brown sugar, onion powder, and smoked paprika. The possibilities are endless!