8-4: T-Bone Steak

I don’t cook steaks often–in fact, these days I don’t really cook them at all. However, once in a while an exception can be made. 8-4: T-Bone Steak sounds exactly like what it is: simple and classic.

My dad is a steak man–in honor of Father’s Day “holiday” this weekend, let’s have a beefy adventure. ?

Not too much to this one–this is about as classic “meat and potatoes” as you can get. I went to a lot of fancy steakhouses growing up (like I mentioned, my dad is a steak man) and became well acquainted with massive slabs of meat and giant baked potatoes.

Ingredients. Now, I know this recipe is literally titled “T-Bone Steak”–and that is not a T-bone steak (better known now as a porterhouse) in the picture, it’s a bone-in ribeye. Porterhouse steaks are actually two other cuts of steak (the filet mignon and the strip) separated by the bone. I had picked up this ribeye at the market, and since I so rarely make steak and I’d like to finish this project sometime this century, we’ll make do with this just to get it checked off the list.

I know the recipe calls for 4 potatoes, but there’s only 2 of us, so 2 will have to do. Rinsed them off and poked them with a fork. It’s tough to see but trust me, I did. I’m going to be cooking these potatoes at a higher temperature than prescribed (you’ll see why in a minute), so they’ll go for a bit less time–maybe only 45 minutes instead of the full hour.

Keep them on a separate pan instead of the prescribed rack–you’ll need the flexibility. Put them on the bottom rack (or wherever is farther from the heat source) and keep them on their own timer–check them after 30 minutes, but it’ll probably take closer to 45-50.

Broke the rule–I salted it before cooking. Here’s why–I’m cooking this differently than what they say. I grew up with terrible oven-cooked steaks, and I refuse to dishonor this VERY nice-looking piece of meat by baking it slowly in an 375ºF oven.

Instead, I’m going to pan-sear it in a VERY HOT cast-iron and finish it in the oven, restaurant-style. Prepare to cut that 30-minute baking time down to less than 10 minutes. Because I’m cooking it fast, I’m lazy, and it’s not a porterhouse with the awkward T-bone in it, I’m going to leave the bone in.

Here’s how to do it–remember those potatoes you have baking in that 400ºF oven, with that open top (or near the heat source) rack? That’s your pre-heated oven, already ready to go. Efficient! If you’re not making potatoes, start preheating the oven.

On your stovetop, start getting that cast-iron pan REALLY hot. Once it’s REALLY hot, drop a pat of butter in. Before that butter burns but after it melts (keep it moving in the pan, and mix in a bit of canola oil once it’s melted to raise the smoke point), get ready to toss that steak in there.

Salt/pepper/spice it JUST before it hits the pan, and don’t put more on until right before you’re about to flip it. The longer the salt sits there, the more moisture will be drawn out of the meat and it will ruin your sear.

First round in the pan is 3 minutes–time it if you have to, I do. Flip the steak with tongs and with a oven mitt or towel protecting your hand (cast iron pans are HOT if there’s no protector on the handle), immediately grab the pan (just-flipped-and-now-searing steak and all) and put it in the oven on that open rack. Set your timer for 3-5 minutes for rare-medium rare, 5-7 minutes for medium range (low to well), and 8-10 minutes for well done.

Keep in mind that these times may change based on the size of your steak and how your oven cooks. It takes a few tries to get it right, but you’ll get the timing pretty quickly. If you know how to temp steaks by feel, you can use that method too.

After the oven. Both sides have nice color and a much richer flavor due to the sear and butter, and it only took me 10 minutes instead of 30.

Hopefully you’ve timed your potatoes right (start them about 20 minutes before the steak) and they’ll just be getting done around the time your steak is finished resting.

Baked potatoes–much easier to see the fork marks now. Some bake them in foil, but they can bake naked too. ?

Mixed up the herb butter (basically a compound butter) in my mini-processor. Steak is resting under that foil–a 5-10 minute rest will keep more of the juices in when you finally cut into it.

Parsley butter–it’s very…leafy.

After resting. Some juices have leaked out, but that’s inevitable.

I like it even a touch rarer than that, but otherwise I think that came out just right. I think I did this one for about 6 minutes in the oven, but my oven cooks a bit hot.

Final plate. I used a bit of fancy flaked sea salt on top, but otherwise–keeping it simple and classy, just like those stuffy old steakhouses I used to frequent.

Grade (using my method): A+