If I’m going to splurge on an expensive cut of meat, my money’s on a thick, bone-in ribeye — specifically this herb butter-basted ribeye. Why? Because fat is where that distinctive beefy flavor comes from, and man oh man, the ribeye has fat in spades. A ribeye steak is tender and juicy thanks to its gorgeous marbling and fatty cap.
It’s a thing of beauty that only needs two things — the right cooking technique and a fat pat of good-quality salted butter mixed with garlic, lemon zest, thyme, and freshly ground pepper.
How to cook the perfect ribeye steak
Pan-frying, grilling, and broiling are all excellent options. For me? The best way to cook a ribeye steak is quick, over high heat a cast-iron skillet and basted in an herby compound butter. As the steak cooks, the melted butter turns into a kind of sauce, making the ribeye deeply crusty and richly flavored.
Let’s get started.
First, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season liberally all over kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. We want to remove any excess moisture that might prevent the ribeye from browning.
Next, get a large cast-iron skillet ripping-hot over high heat. Add enough canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan thinly, and heat the oil until it just begins to smoke.
Add the ribeye steaks one at a time and cook turning every one to two minutes, until a golden crust forms on both sides of the steak. Do this for about 4 to 5 minutes. Here’s a cooking tip — frequent turning helps form a gorgeous crust without creating those brown bands of over-cooked steak beneath the surface.
Now, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter mixture. Tilt the skillet toward yourself and spoon the foaming butter over the steak repeatedly. This is the butter-basted portion of the butter-basted ribeyes. Continue to flip and drench the steak in butter until an instant-read thermometer registers 125°F for medium-rare, about 8 to 10 minutes more.
Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Cut steak away from bone and slice against the grain. Season with sea salt and some more herb butter.
Herb Butter-Basted Ribeye Steak
- cast iron skillet
- Two 1 ½ lb 1.36 kg bone-in ribeye steaks
- 2 tbsp 30 ml canola oil
- 8 tbsp 113 g cultured butter or salted butter, room temperature
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
- Zest of one lemon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, mash to combine butter, thyme, garlic and zest with a pinch of salt and pepper. Transfer the butter onto parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll into a log and chill for 2 hours.
- Pat steaks dry with paper towels and season liberally all over kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 Tbsp canola oil over high heat until shimmering. Cook the steaks one at a time turning every 1-2 minutes until brown and crusty, about 4 minutes in total.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the 2 Tbsp of the butter mixture. Tilt the skillet toward you and spoon the foaming butter over the steak repeatedly. Continue flipping and basting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°F for medium-rare, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Repeat with the other steak.
- Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and rest for 10 minutes. Cut the steaks off the bone, then slice across the grain and serve.
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