Cowboy steaks with Guinness sauce are simply bone in rib eyes, which are known as cowboy steaks by old-time butchers, seared in a skillet and embellished with a simple yet complex pan sauce. You could satisfy a couple noncowboys apiece with these or keep one all to yourself and indulge the next morning in the extravagance of leftover rib eye and eggs for breakfast.
There’s nothing wrong with T-bone, filet mignon, or sirloin. But if you stick to the classics, you’ll miss out on the unique flavors from other parts of the animal. Yes, a massive slab of brisket or a Flintstonian bone-in rib eye can look daunting. So skip the strip, call up your fellow carnivores, and serve one of these beefy beauties instead. For the best-quality beef, hunt down a real butcher. No luck finding one? Ask around at your local farmers’ markets or farm-to-table restaurants for recommendations for a go-to meat maven.–Ian Knauer
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*What’s the best way to cook rib eye?
Also called a cowboy steak, generously sized rib eye will quite possibly be the finest cut to ever grace your grill. . The luscious marbling found in rib eyes sets them apart when given a good sear. Rib eye steak is always a popular choice—they’re all about tenderness and flavor. The best way to cook rib eye steak is pan-seared or grilled over high heat but broiled in the oven is delicious, as well
Cowboy Steaks with Guinness Sauce
- Instant-read thermometer (optional)
For the cowboy steaks
- Two (2- to 2 1/2-pound) bone-in ribeye steaks* (preferably 2 to 2 1/2 inches or 5 to 6 cm thick)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Sear the cowboy steaks
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Season the steaks with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the steaks. If the skillet seems crowded, sear one at a time, carefully spooning off some of the fat in between steaks.
- Sear the steaks, turning just once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use tongs to turn the steaks on the fatty edge, the side opposite the bone, and sear until browned.
- Slide the skillet containing the steaks into the oven and wait until they reach your desired doneness. For medium-rare, wait until they reach 110°F (43°C) in the center, about 20 minutes for 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick and 30 minutes or more if thicker. For medium, wait until they reach 115°F (46°C) in the center, about 25 minutes for a steak that’s 2 to 2 1/2 inches and 35 minutes or more if your steak is thicker.
- Move the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for at least 10 minutes. Keep the skillet.
Make the Guinness sauce
- While the steaks rest, pour off all but 2 tablespoons of those luscious pan juices from the skillet. 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 and 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 and the sauce is emulsified and glistening.
Get your cowboy steaks and Guinness sauce to the table
- Serve the steaks, either still on the bone straight from the skillet or carved into slices, with the Guinness sauce. Originally published September 12, 2012.
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.
My steak only took 20 minutes in the oven to arrive at medium rare. 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.