Updated: Jul 15, 2020
The best beef ribeye ever!
Some years ago I had dinner in a downtown DC restaurant owned by the brother-in-law of a former colleague. The dish I selected was a beef ribeye and I remember remarking to my dinner companions that I had never had a better beef ribeye in a restaurant – and I have had many! I asked my friend if his brother-in-law would share some intel on how it was prepared and I was surprised that he was happy to do so. The steak had been prepared sous vide method first, then cold smoked for flavor and finally seared over a hot flame before serving. I was intrigued, but unable to duplicate the feat at the time as I did not yet have my circulator or my ceramic cooker.
If you have read other installments of my blog, you will know that these two are among the most treasured of my cooking implements. And as soon as I was able, I became determined to replicate that beef ribeye. The sous vide method involves sealing the steak in a bag with seasoning and butter and cooking in 130 degree water (Fahrenheit) for 1 hour. While I use an electric vacuum sealer (another great kitchen tool), you can also use a Ziploc and submerge it to remove the air.
After the ribeye has spent an hour in the circulator and the coals in the ceramic cooker are red (the temperature should read between 130 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit) then fill the cooker with wood chips (soaked in water for at least an hour) to produce an intense level of smoke. I prefer hickory or mesquite wood chips, on which I leave the steaks for about three to five minutes a side. That infuses a nice smoky flavor without overwhelming the meat.
Once infused, I set the steaks aside and allow the ceramic cooker to burn off the wood chips and get to a very high temperature of around 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The steaks are then returned to the grill and seared on both sides again for about three to five minutes a side. We prefer our beef ribeye to be around 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the center (medium rare).
We like to benefit from the hot coals to cook a side dish, so we "tent" the steaks to rest under foil and quickly sear either asparagus or broccolini that have been tossed in olive oil, sea salt and other choice spices.
For a leaner steak, try bison meat. We buy ours organically from our local butcher.