Guys, I honestly thought I didn’t like steak that much. BUT OH WAS I WRONG. This Ribeye Steak recipe is unreal! You will not believe how tender and juicy it is! Salting well ahead of time is the secret. Oh, and tons of garlic butter. I’ve got all the details for the best way to cook ribeye steak, grilled or on the stove top!

ribeye steak recipe

Happy Wednesday! I just heard yesterday that nail salons are opening in California this week. Amazing news! Not that I’ve been so desperate to get my nails done, but I really was afraid that my favorite place would go out of business. I mean it’s been 3 months! How could any business survive that long?? Are most places where you are opening up? It’s about time!

how to cook ribeye steak in a cast iron pan

We are even heading to the lake tomorrow, the kids are super excited. It will be so nice to get out of the house! We’ve all been cooped up for way too long. Bring on the sunshine and junk food. (Oh, are lake days not synonymous with eating an entire bag of Cheetos for you? You will probably live longer than me.)

grilled ribeye steak sliced in a pan

Quarantine brought out all these weird traits for me. Like take shopping. I already didn’t like shopping. Any kind: grocery shopping, clothes shopping, you name it. And the shut down gave me this magical excuse to never go beyond the bare minimum of getting food.

grilled ribeye steak sliced on a cutting board

Now I have to face the fact that we are down to one roll of toilet paper and all my kids are wearing high waters because they need bigger clothes and I’ve been too lazy to shop online. (Speaking of TP by the way, I felt so lucky that we bought a giant package of it right before the shut down. We had plenty and I never dealt with crazy lines or anything. I had zero toilet paper stress. I kind of feel like I missed out on a quarantine rite-of-passage.)

Grilled Ribeye Steak

Now that it’s full on summer time, that means it’s grilling time! Just in time for Father’s Day this weekend. Every dad loves a good steak right??

cooking ribeye steak with a spoon of garlic butter

I’ve always been a little ho-hum about steak in general. I usually don’t pick it at a restaurant, and when I make it at home it usually comes out tough. Turns out I was just making it wrong, surprise surprise! I wanted to master making a killer ribeye steak, so I did a bunch of research and came up with my favorite way to do it! The secrets are to salt your steak well ahead of time, let it dry out uncovered in the fridge to get an amazing sear, cook it in a screaming hot cast iron pan, and to douse your steak in copious amounts of garlic butter. Copious, I say!

grilled ribeye steak recipe with a spoonful of garlic butter

If you are a steak fan, you might have thought that steak couldn’t get better than steak. But that was before you added butter. Trust me. It’s a game changer!

What is Ribeye Steak?

Ribeye steaks are cut from the upper rib cage area. This section is lightly worked and has lots of fat marbling, which makes it perfect for super hot and fast cooking, which is what we are doing today.

how to grill ribeye steak raw steak on a plate

(Note: this photo was taken about 5 hours AFTER I salted it. It’s completely absorbed into the steak. More about salting below!)

Look at all that beautiful marbling! There are 3 grades of meat that you will see in most stores: USDA Prime (the best), Choice (middle), or Select (You really oughta marinate and slow cook that sucker.)

Not every place is going to label their steaks with Prime, Choice, or Select. But if you are at a high end grocery store they will probably only be selling nicer steaks anyway. You can always ask the butcher, too. The most important thing to look for is lots of white marbling, which are veins of fat throughout the red meat. Fat=flavor! Those white veins of fat will melt into your steak as it cooks, making your steak ultra tender and juicy.

pan fried sliced ribeye steak

Ribeye is expensive. If you’re spending this much money on a cut of meat, you don’t want to mess it up. It’s not hard, you just need to follow instructions and for heaven’s sake get a meat thermometer!

How to cook Ribeye Steak on the Grill

I think the best way to cook a ribeye steak is in a cast iron pan on the grill. (This is how I make hamburgers too. It’s life changing.) Remember how fat=flavor? If you grill on a rack, some of that beautiful flavor just melts into your grill, and is lost and gone forever. A pan means you get to keep it all. When you cook meat this hot and fast, it’s going to smoke like crazy, and doing it outside means your smoke alarm won’t go off!

best way to cook ribeye steak salted steak in the fridge

First start about 24 hours in advance by salting the heck out of your steak. (You can do as little as 4 hours too). I use about 1 teaspoon kosher salt per side of steak. First the salt draws moisture out of the steak, but then it absorbs it all back in, taking the salt with it and incorporating flavor throughout the entire steak. Put it in your fridge uncovered. I know this feels weird. But this gives the salt a chance to work it’s magic and dries out the steak so that you get a really fantastic sear on the grill.

boneless ribeye steak searing in a pan on the grill

Just look at that gorgeous brown! Yum.

garlic butter in a bowl and how to cook a ribeye steak on the grill

After you have seared both sides, turn the heat down to low. Now it’s time for some garlic butter. This stuff is magical. It browns the minute it hits the pan. Use a spoon to get all that flavor incorporated into your steak.

Keep dousing it and cooking on low until your steak reaches the temperature you like. Get a decent meat thermometer!

pan fried ribeye steak basted with garlic butter

Doesn’t it look amazing?? It only takes about 10 minutes. Don’t forget your hot pads! Aren’t you glad to be doing this outside and not in your house? Remember to take it off the heat 5 degrees below the doneness level you want. It will keep cooking off heat.

I know putting cast iron on the grill is kind of an untraditional method and you might not have a skillet. I’ve provided instructions in the recipe for how to do it on the grill rack if you don’t have a cast iron pan.

If you want to cook it on the grill rack, the method is basically the same. Super high heat sear, flip and sear again, turn the heat down and finish on low, then top with garlic butter off the grill. See recipe for details!

How to cook Ribeye Steak on the stove

Full disclosure: You WILL set off your smoke alarm and possibly your neighbor’s smoke alarm if you make this recipe inside your house. IT’S WORTH IT. I’m telling you.

how to cook ribeye steak in a cast iron skillet

First up: get yourself a decent cast iron pan. Can you make this steak in a regular pan on the stovetop? Yes, if it is a really heavy pan. Do not use your dinky no-name $10 pan that you got for your first apartment 15 years ago. It just can’t handle this kind of heat! You need something heavy. And no teflon if you can avoid it. Cast iron is preferred because it gives you the best sear of your life.

ribeye steak recipe sliced with garlic

It is exactly the same as cooking this in a pan on the grill: sear both sides of the meat on super high heat, then turn the heat to low and douse the whole thing repeatedly with garlic butter. It’s quick and easy! Just have a towel ready to wave next to your smoke alarm! This is why I like to do it outside on the grill! All the flavor of pan fried ribeye, none of the smoke and mess.

What to serve with Ribeye Steak

You HAVE to try this Ribeye Steak with a dollop of mashed potatoes. Or a mountain of mashed potatoes, if you’re like me. Eric is always trying to make steak night into this healthy thing. “Let’s have it with salad and corn on the cob!” And I crush his low carb dreams with 5 pounds of Aunt Shirley’s Mashed Potatoes. Because steak + potatoes = life.

ribeye steak on a plate with mashed potatoes and garlic butter

You don’t even need any gravy, if your potatoes are creamy enough. (I’m telling you, make Shirley’s. She is the creamy queen and won’t let you down.)

The butter sauce for the Ribeye is cooked so hot and so fast that it browns almost immediately, giving it this delectably deep and nutty flavor, totally distinct from regular butter. It’s SO good on top of whatever else is on your plate. I mean, have you ever just drizzled brown butter over your mashed potatoes? HEAVEN. (I even have an entire recipe dedicated to Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes.)

grilled ribeye steak recipe on a plate with mashed potatoes

Other side dish ideas to go with your steak: Roasted Potatoes, Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Coleslaw, Greek Salad, Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans, Orange Olive Salad, corn on the cob, grilled veggies, or throw your steak in this Apple Gorgonzola Salad and make a meal of it if you want to be healthy like Eric. I’m #TeamPotatoes forever.

I hope you get to try out a good ribeye steak soon! Make it for dad this weekend! He will love you!

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How to Cook Ribeye Steak

Serves 2     adjust servings

Guys, I honestly thought I didn't like steak that much. BUT OH WAS I WRONG. This Ribeye Steak recipe is unreal! You will not believe how tender and juicy it is! Salting well ahead of time is the secret. Oh, and tons of garlic butter. I've got all the details for the best way to cook ribeye steak, grilled or on the stove top!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ribeye steak, well marbled
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil

For the butter sauce

  • 3-4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced into strips
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • additional salt, as needed

Instructions

  1. Choose your ribeye steak: You can buy either bone-in or boneless steak for this recipe. The most important thing is to buy a high quality steak (read: expensive. Mine was $15/pound.) The grade of the meat should be labeled USDA Prime, or Choice if you are desperate. Don't buy Select, it is not appropriate for this cooking method. The steak should be well marbled, which means that you can see lots of swirly white veins of fat all over the meat. Fat=flavor. Bring it on.
  2. Prepare your ribeye steak: At least 4 hours or up to 48 hours before you want to eat, prepare your steak by rubbing it with a ton of kosher salt. For 1 pound of steak, I used 2 teaspoons kosher salt (one teaspoon per side, and make sure to get the edges too). This sounds like a lot! But something magical happens while it sits for so long: the salt first draws out the moisture, but then absorbs it back into the meat and tenderizes and flavors the entire steak, not just the outside. Place the salted steak on a plate and put it in your fridge uncovered. Yes, uncovered. This allows the steak to dry out and give you an incredible sear when you cook it. (NOTE: If you are using table salt (regular salt that you find on the table in any restaurant) then use a total of 1 and 1/2 teaspoons).
  3. 30 minutes before cooking: Get your salted steak out of the fridge and set it on the counter for at least 30 minutes. Don't cook a cold steak, it will be overdone on the edges and undone in the middle. Just before cooking, drizzle the steak with 1-2 teaspoons canola or vegetable (or any high heat) oil, and rub it all over the steak. Don't be shy.
  4. Make the garlic butter sauce: In a small bowl, add 3-4 tablespoons butter and melt it in the microwave. (The more butter you use the more drizzling sauce you will end up with.) Add 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary. (Use 1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and rosemary if you don't have fresh). Use the side of a chef's knife to smash two cloves of garlic. Peel them and slice the garlic into strips. Add the garlic to the butter. Stir it together and set aside. If you have fresh thyme and rosemary, prep the sprigs you are using and set them nearby.

Grill Method with Cast Iron Skillet

  1. Place your dry cast iron skillet onto the grill rack. Preheat your grill to high heat and shut the lid. Ours got up to 700 degrees F. It should take at least 15 minutes. The higher the better! (If you are using a non-gas grill, set up two heating zones: one for high heat, and a separate zone for low heat.) Make sure the cast iron preheats as long as the grill, you need it super hot.
  2. If you haven't done it yet, drizzle the steak with 1-2 teaspoons canola or vegetable (or any high heat) oil, and rub it all over the steak. Be generous.
  3. Be prepared with hot pads, tongs, a meat thermometer, the garlic butter, and a spoon. Check the temperatures in the notes and decide now what doneness level you are cooking your steak to.
  4. Add the well-oiled meat to the dry skillet. It will smoke like crazy. Sear the meat with the grill lid open for 1-3 minutes, until you have a very dark brown sear. Flip the steak with the tongs and sear the other side for about 1-2 minutes until it is nice and brown. Keep the lid open.
  5. Turn the heat down to low (or move your steak to the low-heat zone) and check the temperature of the center of the steak. When your steak is about 5-10 degrees below when you want to take it out (usually a little after turning the heat to low), add the garlic butter on top of the steak. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the pan if you are using them. Use the hot pads  to tilt the pan to the side and let the butter pool on the edge. Dip the spoon into the butter and continually douse the steak with it, over and over. See photos. Move the garlic slices around with the butter and make sure that they spend enough time in the pan that they get slightly browned, but once they reach that point, spoon them on top of the steak and leave them so they don't burn. (Same with the thyme and rosemary sprigs.)
  6. Once you have turned the heat to low, if you want medium rare steak (you do), it should only take about 5 minutes to finish cooking. I took my steak off the heat when it reached 120 degrees F. Keep in mind that the steak will continue cooking off-heat and will raise in temperature about 5 degrees.
  7. Transfer the steak and all juices to a plate or rimmed platter. Cover with foil and wait at least 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving. Be sure to pass the butter sauce at the table so your guests can spoon it over their steak!

Grill Method without Skillet

  1. Preheat your grill to high heat. Ours got up to 700 degrees F. The higher the better! It should take at least 15 minutes. (If you are using a non-gas grill, set up two heating zones: one for high heat, and a separate zone for low heat.) Make sure your grill grates are clean.
  2. If you haven't done it yet, drizzle the steak with 1-2 teaspoons canola or vegetable (or any high heat) oil, and rub it all over the steak. Don't be shy.
  3. Prepare the garlic butter. To a small saucepan, add 3-4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme), 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary), and 2 cloves sliced garlic. Add the fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs to the pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until the butter has turned brown and the garlic is lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Oil the grill grates a bit and add the steak over high heat. Shut the lid and sear for about 1-3 minutes, until grill marks show. Flip the steak and sear the other side for another 1-3 minutes. Turn the heat to low. (Move the steak to your low-heat zone if you aren't using gas.) Cook the steak over low heat  with the lid shut for another 3-5 minutes until a meat thermometer registers 5 degrees below the temperature you want (it will continue cooking after you remove it from the grill). See notes for doneness temperatures. For medium rare, a 1-inch steak should take about 9-12 minutes total on the grill. I like to remove my steak when it has reached about 120 degrees.
  5. Remove the steak to a plate or rimmed platter. Immediately spoon the cooked garlic butter over the top of the steak. Cover with foil and wait at least 5- 10 minutes before slicing. The steak will continue cooking and will raise in temperature about 5 degrees.

Stovetop Method

  1. If you haven't done it yet, drizzle the steak with 1-2 teaspoons canola or vegetable (or any high heat) oil, and rub it all over the steak.
  2. Place your dry cast iron skillet on the burner and turn the heat to high. Let the pan preheat for at least 5 minutes. It may start smoking and that's okay.
  3. Add the well-oiled steak to the dry pan and sear for 1-3 minutes, until it is a deep golden brown. Use tongs to flip the steak and sear the other side for another 1-3 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking.
  5. When your steak is about 10 degrees below when you want to take it out (usually around the time you turn the heat to low), add the garlic butter on top of the steak. Add the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the pan if you are using them. Use the hot pads  to tilt the pan to the side and let the butter pool on the edge. Dip the spoon into the butter and continually douse the steak with it, over and over. See photos. Move the garlic slices around with the butter and make sure that they spend enough time in the pan that they get slightly browned, but once they reach that point, spoon them on top of the steak and leave them so they don't burn. (Same with the thyme and rosemary sprigs.)
  6. Once you have turned the heat to low, if you want medium rare steak (you do), it should only take about 5 minutes to finish cooking. I took my steak off the heat when it reached 120 degrees F. Keep in mind that the steak will continue cooking off-heat and will raise in temperature about 5 degrees.
  7. Transfer the steak and all juices to a plate or rimmed platter. Cover with foil and wait at least 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving. Be sure to pass the butter sauce at the table so your guests can spoon it over their steak!

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