We want to talk about the finest cuts of beef you can prepare. The ribeye steak. The perfect combination of tender meat and beef flavour. A ribeye steak that doesn’t need more than a bit of salt and maybe a little butter.
You can only achieve that result with a good quality steak, and they are often not cheap. But good meat does not have to be cheap, in our opinion. We prefer to eat a delicious piece of meat a few times a week rather than a mediocre one every day. We like to think that this is how we contribute to the environment.
Of course, we don’t know your budget, but we recommend that you always buy the best ribeye you can afford. In any case, try to avoid the really cheap steaks. Sometimes you’re lucky, but in general, you will not experience the perfection that we will promise you.
What should you pay attention to when you are going to buy a good ribeye?
You should look for a ribeye that’s at least 2 fingers thick with a nice amount of intramuscular fat. That is the fat that runs through the meat as thin white lines. That fat is soft and will melt during preparation, giving you a tender mouthfeel. Then this fat will spread through the ribeye, giving the whole steak more flavour.
The fat in and on the meat has another use than just tenderness and flavour. Fat insulates and protects the steak from overheating. That is of course very handy because we are going to prepare this ribeye on the barbecue.
You don’t have to go for Wagyu with an extreme amount of intramuscular fat right away. It is indeed delicious meat and is a unique taste experience. Still, in our opinion, it has nothing to do with “real” meat.
Which ribeye steak do we recommend?
We have, in our opinion, bought one of the best steaks we could find. A Rubia Gallega ribeye. It’s a beautifully marbled steak of the Rubia cow found in the North West of Spain. The cows walk around there for 2 to 4 years before they are slaughtered. These animals had a good live, and you can taste it.
The meat looks beautiful and has a deep, sometimes salty taste. That’s because these cows eat grasses and herbs outside in the ocean air year-round. Unlike grain-fed beef, this meat still has a truly unique flavour.
This way of fattening, the age at which the cows are slaughtered, and the space they are given determine that the Rubia Gallega ribeye are more expensive. But we promise you that you will serve one of the best steaks you have ever tasted.
Clean the grill
Before you start, make sure the grates are clean. With clean grates, the meat will not stick. With a ribeye, you don’t really have to worry that the meat will stick to the grates, but burnt pieces of fat from the previous barbecue party could end up on your steak. This doesn’t look or taste good.
You should clean the grates immediately after barbecuing or just before the meat goes on the grill when the grates are hot. Then you take a sturdy brush and use it to remove the largest pieces of caked fat, barbecue sauce and herbs.
And because we are going for a perfect steak, we clean the grates extra good this time. We take some paper towel with olive oil and use it to wipe away the last bits of grease.
We prepare a thick ribeye with a reversed sear
With the reversed sear, you make sure that the steak heats up slowly, after which you grill it for a nice brown crust. This preparation method ensures even cooking without the so-called bullseye effect with a raw core and different degrees of doneness further out.
For the reversed sear, we need 2 zones. 1 with indirect heat and a medium temperature and a zone with direct high heat. On a Kamado Joe, we place half a plate setter in the divide and conquer system and above it the grates. If you have even larger steaks or more than one, you can place both platesetters and grates. In the first-mentioned setup, which we use, you created 2 zones at once.
The first step of the reversed sear
We set the temperature of our Joe to about 140°C (284F). For an extra smoky flavour, you could place a chunk of smoke wood. But we want to taste the meat as it is meant to be, so we leave it at that.
The meat goes straight out of the fridge onto the grill. We do not let it reach room temperature. That takes too long, and with a reversed sear, the meat has enough time to heat up.
We insert a digital core thermometer into the meat to monitor the doneness from outside the Kamado Joe. In the first phase of the reversed sear, we go for a core temperature of approximately 45°C (113F). If you remove the steak from the grill, it will continue to cook for a bit. That’s because a lot of heat is still flowing in from the surface.
This is the result after the first step. Although we have not used smoking wood, the meat has acquired a beautiful dark red colour. The fat is soft and has a golden brown colour. Put the steak in a safe place while you prepare the grill for the next step.
The second phase of the reversed sear
We open all ventilation at the top and bottom to heat up the kamado as high as possible. Then we wait until the grill is hot, and then we grill the steak so that it has a nice crust.
If you want, you can try putting a nice set of grill stripes on your ribeye. That just looks great, and maybe it will taste better in your head because of those stripes. And you are right. Those stripes are the result of the Maillard effect. Heating creates a series of reactions between sugars and acids that cause the meat to brown and change the taste that we associate with grilled meat.
So if those stripes are so good, why stop at those single stripes? We turn and turn the steak until we have that Maillard effect with a beautiful dark brown crust all over the ribeye. Keep a close eye on the steak during this phase. The soft fat creates flare-ups that can burn your steak. A black edge here and there is not an issue. But if you can write with your steak, then you’ve just gone too far.
Every now and then, you stick a separate core thermometer into the meat to check the core temperature. Each steak has its own perfect doneness, and for a ribeye, it is 55°C (131F). Then the meat is still beautifully pink, juicy and tender.
Lower core temperatures are for lean steaks such as the tournedos or tenderloin. Higher core temperatures are a mortal sin. If you like well-done steaks, cut the sides off the steak. We’re not going to make it better for you. If you order this type of steaks well done, we will not become friends.
What should the outside of a perfect ribeye steak look like?
The ribeye is best when the fat is golden brown and the meat as brown as a chestnut. That is just before the moment the meat starts to char. If the outside is to your liking, but the inside is still too raw, you can continue cooking the steak indirectly.
If the inside is already a perfect 55°C (131F), but the crust is still too pale, let the meat cool slightly outside the grill and heat the kamado a little more. With the divide and conquer system, you can place the grates to its lowest setting. This way, the distance between the glowing charcoal and your steak is the shortest and the temperature the highest.
If the steak is to your liking, it can be taken off the grill. The steak has already rested between the 2 phases of the reversed sear, so extra rest is unnecessary. The meat will not continue cooking after you pull it off this time.
Season a ribeye
Now that you have prepared the perfect ribeye steak, there is only 1 step left, and that is to season the meat. This steak needs nothing more than salt and a little butter. The salt enhances the delicious taste of the beef. This is a thick steak, so don’t be too careful with the salt.
The herbed butter does the same as the soft fat in the steak. It provides a tender taste experience and a more complete taste in your mouth. We had a little herb butter in the freezer, so that came in handy now.
Could you eat the steak without salt and butter? Of course, you can, but we recommend that you give it a try for the ultimate ribeye steak sensation.
This will be the result if you have followed the above tips and tricks. The most beautiful ribeye you have ever seen. You can be proud of this if you show this. Just make sure you’re upfront when everyone starts grabbing.