Cowboy Steaks with Guinness Sauce

Cowboy Steaks

My cousin Leif is a Guinness fan and is always willing to split a pint of creamy stout. One cold spring evening, he and I got the idea to make a Guinness sauce for cowboy steaks. Luckily, the sauce used only half a cup of the beer, and Leif was more than happy to finish the pint.

The steak was a rib eye on the trimmed bone, the cut that old-time butchers call a cowboy steak. You can pick it up by the bone and feel like Fred Flintstone, but it’s a lot of meat. Leif and I like to think we’re pretty tough, but these steaks were too much for each of us to handle for dinner and could feed two or three noncowboys apiece. There was steak and eggs for breakfast the next morning.–Ian Knauer

LC Morning After Cowboy Steaks Note

True, these cowboy steaks constitute pretty sizable steaks, though we’re not going to complain about having leftovers. Actually, we don’t think we’ve ever bellyached about such an extravagance as morning-after rib eye. Have you? (And if you have, for shame!) Speaking of leftovers, it’s such a shame the recipe calls for only half a cup of stout. What, oh what, to do with the rest of the bottle?!

Cowboy Steaks

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 6 (or 4 cowboys)
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  • Two (2- to 2 1/2-pound) bone-in rib eye steaks (preferably 2 to 2 1/2 inches or 5 to 6 cm thick)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Guinness or other Irish stout
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 oz)


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  • 2. Season the steaks with the salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Sear the steaks until browned on both sides, then turn the steaks on the fatty edge, opposite the bone, and sear until browned. This searing and turning should take 6 or so minutes total. If the skillet seems crowded with both steaks, sear them in batches, draining the fat in between steaks.
  • 3. Transfer the skillet containing the steaks to the oven until the steaks register 110°F (43°C) in the center with an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare. This will take at least 20 minutes for a steak that’s 2 to 2 1/2 inches and 30 minutes or more if your steak is thicker. [For medium, leave the steaks in the oven for another 5 minutes, or until they reach 115°F (46°C).] Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
  • 4. While the steaks rest, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the luscious pan juices from the skillet, then add the shallot and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the garlic is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add the Guinness and boil until the liquid is almost completely reduced to a syrup, about 2 minutes. Add the stock and Worcestershire sauce, then boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and whisk in the butter until it’s incorporated into the sauce.
  • 5. Serve the steaks with the Guinness sauce on the side.


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Recipe Testers Reviews

It’s a rare occasion when the flavor of a rib eye can be improved. This is one of those times. These cowboy steaks were out of this world. The searing of the meat produces a lovely crust on the outside of the meat, while the roasting results in a perfect medium rare. Once the sauce is added, lift-off is achieved. The incredible flavor of the rib eye is enhanced and showcased in a sauce that I could have easily eaten on its own with a spoon. The sauce is deep brown and silky smooth. The flavor has great depth but doesn’t overpower the steak. This recipe is a special treat. Note one: My steak only took 20 minutes in the oven to arrive at medium rare. Two: I would use thinner steaks and reduce the oven time when I make them again. This would give everyone their own steak.

Beer and steak, what a great combination! The cowboy steaks are simply prepared and the Guinness sauce comes together quickly and with ease. The family raved. Not only did they get a great steak, but the sauce was flavorful and a great addition to the meat. My daughter loved the sauce so much, she poured some on her salad so she could enjoy more of it. That said, it’s a lot of meat and we had some great steak left over, enough for two lunches the next day. The steaks my butcher cut weren’t that fatty, so there wasn’t really much to pour out of the pan before making the sauce. I think this would work equally well doing the steaks out on the grill and the sauce on the side burner or back of the grill. This is one sauce I’d make again for other meats (like lamb or burgers or even pork) with a small change to the broth used.

My son-in-law and I really loved this cowboy steaks recipe. I had trouble finding bone-in rib eyes cut the way the recipe suggested, so I went to a local slaughterhouse. Even there, they said the didn’t do bone-in cuts, since most people wanted boneless. He did ask the meat cutter if he had any rib eyes that still had the bone attached so he could cut me one, but no luck. I decided to forge ahead without the bone. I’d never used this technique to cook a steak before, and since the steak was so thick, it took over 45 minutes to get ours to the medium-rare stage, which is our preferred doneness. The meat was perfect and so tender. I knew I had to try this one since I’ve tried several recipes using Guinness that came out well.


    1. Me too I think. My wife does 90% of the cooking, but the steaks and beer flavored food is on me. This is manly man food at it’s best. This is my first time to your blog and it sure won’t be my last! This looks really tasty. And yes, I appreciate the reference to Fred Flinstone.

    1. And we can’t wait to hear what you think, Kelly. It’s an eminently weeknight-friendly recipe. Don’t forget to pick up some extra Guinness to serve on the side. (As if you needed reminding….)

  1. Am I missing something? Last I heard from David he was injured stepping off a curb in London. How is he????

    1. Well Rita, that is what we are aiming for – drool worthy recipes! Enjoy.

  2. We always used to call these “brontasaurus steaks” so the reference to Fred Flintstone made me smile! And you’re right, it’s soooo horrible to have to “come up” with a way to use extra Guinness. I can only think of one way, actually :)

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