The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Cowboy Steak - Now That’s a Steak

IMG_0802-Blog-420x200In my last blog entry PRIME TIME, I mentioned how a new butcher shop called The Meat House had opened up near me selling high quality meats and poultry. On my first visit I saw this amazing Cowboy Steak. I was fascinated with it and I couldn’t stop going back to stare at it in the case. It was tied for the biggest steak steak I’d seen. Morton’s Steakhouse had one this size which cost $64.00 ten years ago. Amazingly this steak I was looking at was 1/3 the price ten years later. I’d told myself that this first visit was to be a “kick the tires” visit. I actually made it out of the Meat House empty handed. I couldn’t stop thinking about that steak, and two days later I was back to buy one. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait, so I even timed my visit so I could go straight home and start my prep.
 

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The steak has been rubbed with olive oil and is at T-minus 60 and counting (left). The steak has been rubbed at T-minus 30 (Right).

I’d picked a recipe out that was also called Cowboy Steaks from WEBER’S ON THE GRILL - STEAK & SIDES. It was for a rib-eye but a more normal thickness rib-eye. I knew this steak needed to be cooked direct/indirect. Direct to lay on a nice sear and then finish it indirectly to allow the interior to finish cooking without turning the exterior into a charred cinder. The recipe called for you to remove the steak from the fridge 30 minutes ahead of time to let the steak reach room temperature. With the thickness of this piece of meat I waited an hour before cooking, after rubbing it all over with olive oil. I put the rub on at the 30 minute before grilling mark as called for in the recipe. The rub had some of my favorite herbs and spices: cumin, cayenne pepper, coriander, dry mustard, garlic powder, paprika & kosher salt. At the 20 minute to go mark I lit the gas grill and set it up for direct / indirect grilling. I lit burners 1,2, 5 & 6 and left burners 3 & 4 off. It was a hot humid day so I knew the gas pressure would mean higher than normal temps for a given dial setting. The recipe had called for High heat and defined this as a temperature of 550-600 degrees. I set the dial to one notch above medium. I used my infra red thermometer to check the grate temperature and found it was running about 650 degree. I turned down the dials to medium and in 5 minutes I had things at 600 degrees. Before putting the steak on the grill, I placed a remote read temperature probe in the meat. This was so I could keep close tabs on the temperature without having to lift the lid, letting out the heat, during indirect grilling.
 

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The steak at the beginning (Left) and end of the direct grilling process 12 minutes, two turns and a flip later (Right).

When I put the steak on the grill it landed with a satisfying thud. I was going to say the ground shook, but that would be exaggerating a bit. But, just a bit. It was a big piece of meat. You could hear the satisfying sound of meat searing and you could smell some of the rub ingredients atomizing. I grilled the steak directly for 3 minutes and then rotated it 90 degrees to lay on some crosshatch grill marks. After 6 minutes I flipped it over and grilled it for another 6 minutes, again turning it 90 degrees at the 9 minute mark. After 12 minutes I moved the steak to the unlit burners at the center of the grill. I lowered the lit burners a bit so I was finishing the steak at about 450 degrees (230 C) for the indirect portion of the cook. While the steak was finishing I was trying to decide what temperature to pull it off the grill. The recipe called for a 5 minute rest and I was shooting for a final temperature of 135 degrees (57 C) for medium rare. Unlike a roast being cooked at 350 (175 C), this steak was cooking at a higher temp of 450 degrees (230 C). I figured it would rise more than just 5 degrees (3 C) during the 5 minute rest. I elected to pull it off at 127 degrees (53 C) which meant the total direct/indirect cooking time turned out to be 32 minutes total.
 

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The meat had developed a nice char all over after 20 additional minutes of indirect grilling (Left). After their 5 minute rest the steaks were a perfect 135 degree medium rare. This was the best steak I’ve ever been lucky enough to taste.

At the 5 minute mark of the rest, the steak had just hit the 135 (57 C) degrees I was shooting for. I couldn’t have asked for better than this. One thing I noticed is that although I had laid on some nice cross hatch grill marks during the direct portion of the cook, the outside had turned black during the indirect portion. As I cut into the steak, I found out the rub had done what it was supposed to and given me a nice crust. The steak was a perfect medium rare, but not a surprise since it really is hard to miss using the remote read thermometer. There was very little juice coming out and it was where it belonged - back in the meat. The rub gave the steak little hints of flavors such as cumin and garlic, but it was subtle and didn’t mask the natural flavor of the meat. The rub had also given the meat a bit of a crispy crust too. The meat was soooooo tender and juicy. It was the most incredible steak I’ve ever had. I focussed on the center portion which was leaner and had more of an even consistency like the center of a beef roast. I tried a sample of the C-shaped surround of meat outside the ring of fat and this area was a little more gristly, a little more moist and had a stronger flavor to it. In many ways this was tastier, but I like the taste and texture in the center. But it was Win-Win: We each got our favorite parts. This was truly an incredible piece of meat and I had a good food buzz for the next four hours. The most exciting part to me is the thought that I can hop in the car and drive 10 minutes and find another Cowboy Steak just like this one. My family will be eating something I’ve grilled or smoked and one of them will say: “This is what I want for my next birthday”. Well this is what I am going to have down the road for my next birthday. I can say that with 100 percent assurance because I have an “in” with the cook.

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SOME RELATED LINKS:
Here is the link for the Blog Entry on The Meat House where I bought this steak, a link to their website and the Picture Entry for the Cowboy Steaks.

  PRIME TIME Blog Entry
  COWBOY STEAKS Beef Picture Entry
THE MEAT HOUSE Website


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