Salt-and-Pepper Rib Eye

Salt-and-Pepper Rib Eye Steak Recipe

A well-marbled rib eye is so rich and flavorful on its own that it requires nothing more than salt, pepper, and fire. Build a 2-zone fire so you can sear it over hot embers and then finish cooking it slowly over medium-low heat to develop a crispy, crunchy steak house crust and a juicy interior. If you’re working with a boneless rib eye, lower the cooking time by a few minutes.–Adam Rapoport

LC What He Said Note

Mmmm. Rib eye. [Editor's Note: My favorite cut of steak ever!] You know what Adam Rapaport just said about a rib eye needing nothing more than salt, pepper, and fire? Yeah. What he said. That’s truly all it takes to create one of the most superlative suppers known to mankind.

Salt-and-Pepper Rib Eye Steak Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 50 M
  • Serves 2

Ingredients

  • One 2-pound bone-in rib eye steak (1 1/2 to 2 inches thick)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions

  • 1. Pat the steak dry with paper towels and place it on a wire rack situated on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt per side. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour. Pat it dry with paper towels again and reseason it with 1/2 teaspoon salt per side and 1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns per side, pressing so the pepper pieces adhere.
  • 2. Build a 2-zone medium-hot/medium-low fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high just before cooking, leaving one burner on low. Brush the grill grate with oil. Sear the steak over higher heat, flipping it just once, until nicely charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side. (If a flare-up occurs, use tongs to gently slide the steak to a cooler part of the grill until the flames subside.) Move the steak to lower heat and continue grilling, flipping once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, lift the steak and sear both edges (the bone side and the fatcap side) for 1 to 2 minutes per side to render some of the fat. Measure the temperature of the steak to ascertain when it has reached the desired temperature. For rare steak, it will take 14 to 18 minutes total grilling time to reach 120°F (49°C) although it will carry over to 125°F (51°C), or medium-rare, as it rests.
  • 3. Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slice it against the grain and season it with coarse sea salt. You know what to do from here on.
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Testers Choice

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Testers Choice
Kristen Kennedy

Jul 25, 2013

Who knew a little bit of salt and a little bit of time could transform an everyday steak into something amazing?! I adore this recipe and will be using this technique to wow guests in the future when I serve the most flavorful, tender steaks they’ve ever had!

Testers Choice
Karen Depp

Jul 25, 2013

This was just perfect. I followed the directions exactly. Seared on each side for 3 minutes and then moved to the low side of the grill for 3 minutes on each side. I only did the edges for about 45 seconds each. I was using boneless rib eye steaks. They were crispy, crunchy, salty, peppery on the outside, and absolutely perfectly rare to medium-rare inside. Everyone loved them, and Dad especially liked it. Perfect. This will now be my go-to method for the gas grill on a steak of that thickness (mine was 2 inches) for future forays into the “man land” of grilling.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Jul 25, 2013

Simple and delicious, this is what grilling a steak should be all about. The directions are clear and easy to follow. We made 2 steaks, as there were more than 2 of us eating dinner. Make sure you get a good-quality steak, as that’s what you’ll be tasting and for this recipe quality counts. While it seems like a lot of salt at first glance the steak was perfectly seasoned when done. I used a coarsely ground black pepper because I don’t care for cracked pepper. This recipe was a big hit. If I were to make a couple of suggestions, I’d first ask that a temperature range for the grill be mentioned. On our gas grill, and many charcoal grills I’ve seen, there’s a temperature gauge prominently displayed to show how hot the grill is. My grill man was confused as to how hot the grill should be before he added the steaks. Also, I think it’s imperative to make sure that the steaks are at least 1 1/2 inches thick. We did have one that was a little on the thinner side and while tasty, it wasn’t as juicy or tender as the other.

Testers Choice
Victoria Filippi

Jul 25, 2013

You know the old saying: Keep It Simple, S—–. Well, there’s nothing stupid about this. Rib eye is so perfectly marbled and I think that seasoning the steak and letting it set before seasoning it again really brings out the flavor of this remarkable piece of beef. Rib eye happens to be my husband’s favorite entree, whether at home or in a restaurant. Since his birthday is this week, I wanted to test it. I found that searing it over the high heat really locks in the juices and gives it great color. In my world, color is flavor! Finishing it on the side with lower heat allows you to cook it through to your desired doneness. Patting it with the paper towel is one key; the other is a CHARCOAL GRILL. Amazing flavor. Simply delicious!

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

Jul 25, 2013

I don’t give many 10s, but this is one for the books. The two-step salting process is like a quick dry age (really quick). There are rumors that salting meat before cooking makes it tough, but the recipe disproves that theory, at least for a well-marbled rib eye. There isn’t much else to be said about this straightforward recipe: simple in execution, rich in taste.

Testers Choice
Larry Noak

Jul 25, 2013

Purchase the finest rib eye you can find, and this will produce a DAZZLING steak.

Testers Choice
Rachel Feferman

Jul 25, 2013

Yum! There’s not much to this recipe, but the instructions are clear and the end results are fantastic. I don’t have a single edit to the directions—just follow them to the letter and you’ll end up with perfect steak. I happen to like my steak medium-rare to medium, so I just let it sit for 20 minutes instead of 10 and it got there.

Comments
Comments
  1. Lloyd Le Blanc says:

    Hello,

    We have been cooking steak this way for several years and we prefer a 1 to 11/4 inch striploin that is well marbled. Along with cracked pepper and sea salt we also add powdered garlic. After cooking it, we let it rest, slice it against the grain, and now the secret ingredient: BUTTER! Yes, put butter on the steak and serve. Apparently this is what high-end steakhouses do. Regardless, it tastes great.

    Regards,

    Lloyd

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      We’re not going to stand between a man and the steak that he loves, Lloyd. And actually, I grew up in the midwest, where even though we had that spectacular Iowa beef, we still put a pat of butter on top of the steak and let it melt prior to tucking into it. Thanks for the memory.

  2. I bought a grill with a separate infrared searing section just for a steak like this. While I love flank steak and all of the seasonings that play well with it, every now and then I just want a big, juicy ribeye. I’m with Lloyd…a pat of butter just adds a bit more decadence, and I say, “Why not!”

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