The rib eye is a nice and fatty piece of meat that boasts some of the finest flavors in the cow. While ruining this cut is close to sacrilege (and nearly impossible), following a few simple steps will keep you smiling to every last morsel.
To cook a rib eye:
- Buy the meat. While this may seem like an obvious step, purchasing the right cut of meat can be a daunting task if the extent of your past purchases only includes the drive through. Ask the butcher or staff for a little bit of help. If you can, go to a real butcher shop and grab a nice dry-aged piece of meat. Usually even talking to the greenest of butchers can lead to a successful grilling occasion.
- Make them feel at home. Let the steaks come to room temperature, this is probably one of the most important steps as it will insure that you grill steaks evenly as well as maintaining consistent grilling times.
- Season with style. While most grilling enthusiasts swear by the proverbial Montreal Steak Seasoning, good old salt and pepper make for the best of all worlds. When I talk about salt however, I am not talking about your normal Morton's table salt; go for a good kosher salt or if you are really adventurous, try some red/pink salt from South America, or some black salt from China. Pepper should be fresh ground either from green or black peppercorns. Use at most about a half a teaspoon of each for each side. Apply the salt first, pressing into the meat. Apply the pepper with the same method. Flip the steaks and repeat. A good cut of meat does not require marinade or excessive amounts of seasoning.
- Ready the coals. While cooking on charcoal is a task all of its own, the Tao of the Grill should be to avoid gas at all costs. Whatever your choice might be, give the grill time to get nice and hot. If you are using gas, give each side a bit of time to caramelize. For a nice touch, rotate each side 15 degrees during cooking to give a nice crosshatch of grill marks.
- Grill your heart out. Drop the steaks on and keep a watchful eye. While this cut is easy to cook, it is also marbled and can easily catch on fire. If it happens, don't fret, just turn in over and give it a nice whack with the utensil of your choice. This should extinguish any flames that might be present. From here you need to basically choose your grilling time depending on taste. There is a simple method for determining the 'doneness' of your steak. Holding your less dexterous hand out in front of you and pull your index finger in; take the index finger of you dominant hand and poke the meaty part of your thumb (leftmost part of the palm of your hand); this indicates a rare piece of meat and should be somewhat spongy. Cycling through the fingers gives you a somewhat safe measure of 'doneness'. The middle finger turned in is considered medium-rare, ring finger done, and the pinkie equals well-done.
- Enjoy! Now that you have done all of the appropriate prep work, you are ready sit down and indulge in a fine meal. Pair this fine cut of meat with a nice red wine (a nice cabernet or Pinot Noir will do). Appropriate sides include mac 'n cheese, a good baked potato, artichoke or some fine asparagus.
Hopefully if all has went well you are about to enjoy a fine piece of meat. Give this cut a few minutes to cool before serving.