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Tomahawk Ribeyes. Dueling Chops!

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

Posted by johngl

As I was navigating through traffic Friday evening, my phone emitted it’s text message tone. Rolling up to a long queue at the stop light at Ben White and Brodie, I gave my phone a look-see.

BigDMcC: I’ve got two two-pound Niman Ranch Tomahawk Ribeyes. What are you doing for dinner this weekend?
JohnGL: Going to your house?

Thus began the impromptu odyssey of the mega-steak. If it seems like I’ve been eating a lot of red meat lately, you wouldn’t be far off.

Grilled Tomahawk Ribeye Steak

We rearranged things a bit and Big D made the trek south to our place and James, another friend of ours, joined in the fun a few minutes later. I love it when a plan comes together.

Appetizers: Copacolla, Braseola, Prosciutto along with Tomatoes, Bufalo Mozzarella, and Basil

Knowing our combined appetites as well as I do, I set to laying out some munchies. From left: Capocollo, Bresaola, Prosciutto di San Daniele, and Insalata Caprese.

For the uninitiated, capocollo is a traditional Calabrian Italian cold cut made from pork shoulder or neck, and dry-cured whole. It’s got a nice, spicy flair to it. Bresaola is salted and air-dried beef. This just happens to be tenderloin. I’m hoping you know that Prosciutto is what ham should be.

The Insulata Caprese hails from the Italian region of Campania and is made of sliced fresh (water) buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil then seasoned with salt and drizzled with olive oil. I’m glad I don’t have to milk the buffalo.

Insulata Caprese

Looks pretty, no?

We rounded out the appetizers with some prosciutto wrapped watermelon, olives, several kinds of pâté, and cheese (double-cream brie, black truffle, blue, and some petit something-or-other).

I also sous-vide some Copper River sockeye salmon and served that with a sauce made up of crème fraîche, dill, and a spritz of lime juice. I didn’t get a picture, but it was pretty darn tasty and went fast.

Now that the four of us had consumed two bottles of wine, opened two more, and were sated for the moment, it was time to get rolling on  steaks. Remember those?

Tomahawk Ribeyes

You can’t really see how big and thick they are…here’s a little size comparator.

Thick Ribeye!

These puppies were a full 2″ thick, exceptionally well-marbled, and dry-aged.

The steak preparation went two ways. I will call method one: Big D’s Half-Baked Steak and method two: Big John’s Grilled-to-Perfection Steak. I’m not prejudicing my readers, am I?

Screaming Hot Sear

Here, Big D is searing off his steak in a screaming hot pan (around 500°F). The sear lasted a few minutes per side, then the pan and steak went into a pre-heated 350° oven to finish out (hence being half-baked). Big D’s hatchet handle is wrapped in a wet paper towel and foil, presumably to keep the bone a more pristine white.

On the other hand, the beef chop James and I were dealing with was destined for a hot grill.

Rockin' Hot Weber

I took the grill’s temp a few minutes prior to plunking down the steak: a rockin’ 975°F. There is nothing half-baked going on here!

The usual 2-2-2-2 method applied here for a total of eight minutes.

Super cross-hatched Tomahawk Ribeye

Above, ribeye steak as it is meant to be. Below is the half-baked version.

Half-Baked Steak: Laden with butter, French Thyme, and Fresh Garlic

The half-baked version was finished with butter, French thyme, and fresh garlic cloves. Very cheffy.

Here, we’re giving things a rest (literally and metaphorically):

Resting Ribeyes: The Yin and Yang

While the steaks were resting, I put some corn and a large tomato on the grill.

Grilled Corn and Tomato

I picked up a good tip from James (who claims to have cooked a million steaks): Soak the corn in salted water prior to grilling. It made perfect sense so I added a tablespoon of salt to the soaking liquid.  Why soak at all?  Well, it keeps the husks moist so the corn steams very nicely. It took 8 minutes on the grill.  Just enough time to rest the steaks before plating.

James' nicely quartered tomato

Roasting tomatoes on the grill is not only fast, but it imparts some really great smokiness and concentrates the flavors. I really need to make some roasted tomato pizza sauce using this heirloom variety!

Amazingly flavorful!

A brownish-purple color on the outside, these are exceptionally fleshy inside.

Peeling back the crispy corn husks revealed a moist and steamy cob.

Ribeyes and Grilled Corn. Life is good.

Assembling a quick sampler platter, I got down to some serious tasting.

From left: tomato, corn, half-baked, and grilled

The steak sample on the left (half-baked) is medium rare leaning toward medium. The steak on the right (grilled) is medium-rare, leaning toward rare. Both were really quite tasty…as were the bones.

Bone-gnawing good!

The impromptu odyssey of the big Niman Ranch steaks may be over, but the memory of fine wine and fun-filled food fanaticism remain intact.

We don’t do this nearly often enough!

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6 Responses to “Tomahawk Ribeyes. Dueling Chops!”

  1. papa says:

    That’s awesome. And timely.

    I’m planning on doing the same this weekend, but will sous-vide the steaks (if I can manage to vacuum pack them) before searing them on the BBQ…

    • johngl says:

      Please keep me posted on how that turns out!

      • papa says:

        Reporting back…

        My meat guy was out of tomahawk ribeyes, so I had to settle for the shorter version, some 18-20oz bone-in ribeye steaks.

        I sous-vided them for almost 4 hours at 53C/127F with a little bit of butter in the bags (after much research and plenty of testing, I find that properly submerged ziploc bags work just fine when you don’t have a very good vacuum sealer at home, which is my case).

        After taking then out of the bags and patting them dry I then threw them on to a hot coal grill to get a nice crust (since they were already cooked, I just left on there until I was satisfied – about 1-1-1-1) and then let them rest before my friends and I devoured them.

        The result was awesome… The meat was super tender, even the bits closer to the bone, perfectly cooked medium-rare throughout with a nice crust and full of flavor.

        Couple of notes:
        - the meat would have probably been cooked just fine after 1-2 hours, but I think the extra time tenderized the chewier bits around the main ribeye without turning that center into mush
        - my grill was hot, but I should have put more coal to get 975F you got on yours

        • johngl says:

          Thanks so much for the update! It’s always great to hear about others doing food “experiments”. Ribeye and sous vide are a winning combination.

  2. Sami says:

    Drool…..

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