Great Expecsteaktions

I’m not proud of this title, but I am VERY proud of this steak. I mean, do you see that thing? I could barely stop staring at it long enough to unhinge my jaw and down the whole thing like a snake. Just kidding. Kinda. 

I am a die-hard carnivore. I love meat of all kinds, but if financially and realistically possible, I would eat steak every single day. Big, small, filet to hanger, I love them all. So it’s no surprise that one of those things I have obsessed over, one of those things I truly do well, is steak. I have tried every method and made a few tweaks and I think I have this one down.

This is how my conversation went with the butcher:

Me: “Hey… uh.. can you cut me a bigger steak?”

Butcher: “Well.. How big?”

Me: “I want ‘I’m concerned for that girl’s health.’ That size. At least two inches thick, a biggun.”

Butcher: “Oh yeah, a porterhouse. I can do that.”

*comes back with obscenely large steak*

Other butcher, quietly: “WHO ORDERED THAT THING?”

Me: “ME!”

It was monstrous. It was amazing. I had to actively stop myself from jumping up and down and waving my arms around like a madwoman. I must have looked at it like a kid looks at a brand new toy because the butcher said “I don’t get many people this excited about meat.” I hyperventilated and tried to restrain myself.

When I got it home, I immediately did the first thing you should always do with a good steak. I seasoned it liberally (even the sides) with kosher salt and black pepper and put it, uncovered, on a rack in a pan on the fridge. Seasoning the meat early does two things:

  1. It allows the seasoning to fully penetrate the meat.
  2. It dries the surface of the steak. External moisture is the enemy of a great sear. If you want that deliciously crispy crust, you want to have the exterior be as dry as possible. Salt helps draw out some of that water.

Ingredients:

For the steak:

  • One extremely, ridiculously large porterhouse (mine was almost three pounds)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Good-quality butter

For the frites:

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, stems removed and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Peanut oil

For the red wine sauce:

  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1-2 sage leaves, depending on size
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter

The Breakdown:

For the steak:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 °F. Put it on convection, if you have it.
  2. Keeping the steak on the rack in its pan, place it in the oven. This method is called the reverse-sear. You want the rack so that air can circulate on all sides of the steak. Remember, dry= better sear.
  3. After 30 minutes, begin checking the internal temperature of your steak. You are shooting for around 120-125 °F. Continue checking the temperature every 10-15 minutes until you hit your mark. This one took about 50 minutes.
  4. Once the steak hits temperature, take it out and set aside.
  5. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat until its reached that screaming-hot searing perfection.
  6. Sear the steak 1-2 minutes on either side until it develops that delicious, browned crust and has reached an internal temperature of 130 °F for medium-rare. Take it out of the pan and put a pat of butter on top because why wouldn’t you?
  7. Slice and serve immediately. The beauty of this recipe is that the reverse sear negates the need for resting. Eat it hot!

For the frites:

  1. Slice the potatoes into french fries. Frites, if you’re fancy like me. I cut off the ends because in this method you need to be careful about everything staying at least mostly uniform in size. If you get thin end pieces, they will just burn.
  2. Arrange fries in a single layer (as best you can) in a large skillet.
  3. Cover with peanut oil. You want to be sure they are all completely submerged.
  4. Turn the heat on to medium, and let the oil slowly come to temperature.
  5. Once it is bubbling away, gently move the fries to make sure none stick to the bottom.
  6. For the next 45-50 minutes, just gently move them around ever so often. Cook until they are all a deep, golden brown.
  7. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
  8. Transfer the fries to a bowl, and then add the rosemary, salt and pepper immediately. Shake to combine.
  9. Serve immediately, nobody likes cold fries! If you need to, you can put them in the oven to keep them warm for a minute or two.

frites

For the red wine sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the wine and broth. I combined merlot and cabernet (yes, I hear the collective gasps of wine snobs everywhere that I’m just mixing wines all willy nilly. I’m a nut, I know) because that was what I had on hand.
  2. Crush the garlic cloves and roll the herbs gently with your hands to break them open a little. Toss those in the pot too.
  3. Put the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Let the sauce boil gently for 10-15 minutes or until reduced by half.
  5. Remove the herbs and garlic.
  6. Take off the heat, and add the butter. Do not stir, just shake the pan gently and let the butter melt into the sauce. This keeps it from “breaking.” If it does separate, it’ll still taste good.

This was one hell of a meal. My dad even grunted approvingly and said “This is probably restaurant quality.” Excuse me, my head is now too big to fit through standard doors.

The red-wine sauce was a star. It was so simple, but it really highlighted that steaky flavor. It was deep and rich, without being heavy. The tiny bit of butter just smooths it out ever so slightly. The frites were hot and well seasoned, the rosemary flavor permeating and bringing that herb goodness. The kitchen smelled so damn good after all this that I didn’t even mind doing the dishes. cut steaky

Now this is my plate. This is when I was done with trying to make it look pretty and really just wanted to eat the damn thing. I’m including it, even though its not up to plating standards, because LOOK AT IT. That edge-to-edge medium pink is why the reverse sear is such a perfect method. It’s not as great for thinner steaks, but for the big thick ones it keeps you from overdoing the edges while you wait for the insides to come to temperature. This steak was juicy, tender, and perfect dipped in that red wine goodness. The fries were crispy and flavorful and so easy. I’ve seen many french-fry recipes, and a lot of them are just complicated. This cold-oil method is almost no work and the fries come out crispy and not at all oil-laden like you would think. They were light and airy inside as good fries should be.

One day some doctor is going to tell me that I have to stop eating red meat and salt at every opportunity and I’m going to just elect to croak early instead Sure, a giant slab of red meat isn’t the world’s healthiest meal, but I don’t care. This meal makes me happy. In fact, I did my happy dance all around the kitchen and “mmmm”-ed and “oooh yeah!”-ed until the dog came over to check on me, a look of concern on her face. She was definitely there mostly for the steak smell, she knows I’m a crazy person, but she did seem to be worried about me showing that much emotion at once. Treat yourselves to big-ass steaks tonight and let me know how it goes. Your tastebuds will thank you.

 

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