The Perfect Butter-Basted, Pan-Seared Ribeye Steak
A butter-basted steak is a thing of great beauty. For me, a perfectly pan-seared ribeye steak bathed in butter and aromatics is my favourite way to cook steak. Yes, moreso than a grilled steak. Why? Because the sear on a pan is more even and more intense which then in turn really intensifies the beefy flavour. The butter combination with aromatics like garlic, bay leaf, and rosemary lends an incredible background flavour to the meat too.
Author:The Peasant's Daughter
A large well-marbled steak, at least 1 1/2 inches thick, preferably ribeye
1 whole garlic clove, scored on the outside
1 bay leaf
1 bunch of fresh or dried herbs of choice, like rosemart or thyme (or both)
Liberally salt your steak. Either up to three-days in advance, or 45 minutes before cooking. I aways take my steak out and leave it at room temperature about 45 minutes before cooking too.
Heat up your pan (and turn on your hood vent!) for about ten-minutes until it is ripping hot, on medium-high heat. The pan must be HOT! If your steak is well-marbled with a nice thick rind of fat, you will not need additional oil. If your steak is lacking that rind of beautiful fat, add some ghee, lard, or tallow into the pan — just not butter.
Using a pair of metal tongs, hold the steak and lower the thick rind of outside fat onto the pan, slowly and carefully searing it until charred — 2-3 minutes approximately.
Once that outside fat has rendered and charred, lower your steak into the hot pan where it should immediately begin to sizzle — your hood vent is on right?
Leave the steak for a minute, then flip it.
Keep casually flipping the steak back and forth. There is no hard and fast rule with this. Just monitor the developing sear and the eveness with which is appears.
I do this for 5 minutes exactly (set a timer if you need too) and then I add my butter, about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup, along with my aromatics. The butter and fat will sizzle violently and sputter at this point. It's normal.
With the butter now in the pan, there are two things you can do to baste the steak and I find that both work equally well. The first is using a silicone pastry brush to constantly baste the steak with the melted butter while flipping every 20 seconds or so. The second method is to tilt the pan until the butter pools to one side of the pan, and using a spoon to constantly baste and bathe the meat while also ocasionally flipping.
In my experience, a 1 1/2 to 2 inch steak will take 7-8 minutes to reach a medium-rare temperature, but the only way to be sure is to use an instant-read digital thermometer. For medium-rare it should be between 120 and 125°F (about 50° Celcius) when it comes out of the skillet.
If the edges of your steak are still slightly pale, you can use your tongs to gently lift the meat and sear the edges too.
Rest your meat on a plate, covered, with the aromatics and butter poured over it for 10 minutes.