Salt and Pepper Rib Eye Steak

This salt and pepper rib eye steak recipe, made with bone-in-rib eye, salt, and pepper either on the grill or stovetop, provides a foolproof technique for perfectly cooked steak.

Cutting board and knife with a salt and pepper rib eye steak

To paraphrase author and editor Adam Rapoport, a well-marbled rib eye is so damn rich and flavorful on its own, it needs nothing more than salt, pepper, and fire. That’s all it takes to create one of the most superlative suppers known to humankind.#Truth. Originally published July 25, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Salt and Pepper Rib Eye Steak

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 40 M
  • 1 H, 50 M
  • Serves 2
5/5 - 5 reviews
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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 seasoning adheres.

If making the rib eye on the stovetop, see the variation below. If making the rib eye on the grill, build a two-zone (medium-hot and 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. Place the steak over the higher heat, close the heat, and cook, 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 cook, 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.

Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Slice it against the grain and season it with coarse sea salt. You know what to do from here.

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    • Stovetop Rib Eye

    • Got 6 inches of snow blanketing your grill? Forget the grill and instead slap this magnificent cut of steak in a large cast iron skillet that you’ve been heating and heating and heating over medium-high heat until it’s consistently hot but not smoking. Cook the steak, turning once, until nicely seared on each side. Transfer the steak and skillet to a preheated 350°F (180°C) oven until cooked to the desired degree of doneness. Let it rest for at least 10 minutes and season with salt.

    • Boneless Rib Eye
    • If you can only get your hands on a boneless rib eye rather than a bone-in rib eye, no worries. That’ll work. Whether you’re cooking it on the grill or the stovetop, keep a watchful eye on your steak as it will probably need to cook for a touch less time than indicated in the recipe.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Who knew a little bit of salt and a little bit of time could transform an everyday rib eye 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!

    This salt and pepper rib eye steak was just perfect. Everyone loved them. Dad especially liked it.

    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 crisp, crunchy, salty, and peppery on the outside and absolutely perfectly rare to medium-rare inside.

    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.

    Simple and delicious, this salt and pepper rib eye steak 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. 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. I’d 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.

    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 sit 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!

    I don’t give many 10s, but this salt and pepper rib eye steak 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.

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

    Yum! There’s not much to this salt and pepper rib eye steak 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.


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    1. Oh my! I have no business eating an entire rib eye but that is what I did, thanks to this recipe!! We had 1 1/4-inch bone-ins that cooked beautifully and were so tender and full of flavor. Just kosher salt pepper and a touch of garlic powder. I usually eat the lip and toss the rest to my husband but it was too good to share. Delicious with some frites. Thanks again!

      1. Jenny P, you and I are kindred souls. I’ve had that exact same experience as you, typically eating only that lovely exterior fatty portion that’s crazy tender, sorta like pot roast but superlatively more flavorful, but when cooked simply and perfectly, who can resist the rest?! So glad you enjoyed! And we so appreciate you taking the time to let us know!

    2. Has anyone tried it in a cast iron pan on the stovetop? I’m thinking it would be the same 3 to 4 minutes per side for the initial sear, but then how long in the oven? (I have just a regular thermometer, not the kind with a cable so you can check the temp of the meat without opening the oven door.) Maybe 10 minutes?

      1. Karen, if you take a look at the Stovetop Variation beneath the recipe, you’ll find everything you need. How long it stays in the oven depends upon 1.) how you like your steak, 2.) what cut you use, and 3.) how thick the meat is. What I would do is sear it, as you said, slide it in the oven, and quickly pull it out after 5 or 6 minutes and put it on the stovetop. Use either an instant-read thermometer or cut into the steak to see if it’s done to your liking. If not, slide it on for another 5 minutes. You’ll only have to do this once; after that, you’ll know the timing for your preference.

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