Ask the Critics: What Should I Do with Rib Eye?
Andrea S. Asks: What is the best technique to cook a juicy rib eye?
Dear Andrea: A rib-eye steak makes for a fine dinner almost any way you cook it, but when cooking meat myself, I like to keep things simple. It's a pretty thick cut of beef, so I'd suggest grilling it over a charcoal grill (using a hearty salt-and-pepper rub or an olive-oil-and-rosemary marinade). But I can't do that, since I live in a Manhattan apartment with no outdoor space. Thus, I would sear it on top of the stove and then transfer it to the oven once it has a nice brown crust to finish the cooking process. I'd also add a knob of butter and a sprig of rosemary or thyme, napping the meat with butter right before letting it rest. That's just me, though, so I got in touch with some experts for additional pointers.
Takashi Inoue, the chef at Takashi -- a temple to all things beefy -- seconded the grilling idea and offered these tips on the best way to cook the rib eye. "Two key words to grilling meat: hot and brief. Your grill should be very hot before placing meat on it. Once it starts cooking, its time on the grill should be short," he says. "Flip the piece of meat over when the bottom side has just started to change color and the fat begins to appear on the top surface. Don't turn the meat over and over -- this will make the meat lose all of its delicious juices."
Jake Dickson, the owner of Dickson's Farmstand Meats, also shared some helpful hints about cooking rib eye indoors. Noting that the ideal rib-eye cut is about 1¼ to 1½ inches, he suggests first taking the meat out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking so that it's room temperature when you cook it. "Don't be afraid to use salt to season your steak; a lot of people under-salt their meat. A little bit of pepper is good, too, but try to avoid green herbs and rubs because they might burn," he notes. "Preheat a cast-iron skillet or other heavy pan for about 10 minutes on high heat (be sure to have an exhaust fan on or a window open). Some people like to put canola or grape-seed oil in the pan, but a rib eye is generally fatty enough that you don't need it." He then suggests cooking the meat over high heat for three to four minutes on each side. If you have a meat thermometer, you want to shoot for 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit for rare. For medium, you want 140 to 145, and for well-done you want 160 or higher. Finally, he notes that you should let the steaks rest for eight to 10 minutes, which allows the meat to reabsorb its own juices and creates a more consistent "doneness" throughout the piece of meat. As he explains, "Who wants to eat a dry steak?"
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