Making a perfect steak doesn't have to be a stressful task. Today we'll show you one of our favorite ways to make tender, juicy, flavor-packed steak. This is a great recipe for those random Wednesday night steak dinners, when you don't have time to spend hours slaving over the grill. You'll make restaurant-quality steak that melts in your mouth in about 15 minutes. The secret to this recipe is a garlic and herb compound butter you can make ahead of time that adds a tremendous amount of richness and flavor to your meal.
How to Make Garlic Herb Butter
A garlic and herb infused butter sounds like a fancy ingredient that requires skill and patience to make correctly. Fortunately, this recipe is quite easy and offers lots of opportunity to get creative. We'll use a selection of fresh herbs in our recipe today but you can also use dry herbs (or a combination of dry and fresh) when you make this garlic butter at home.
Picking the Best Herbs
Some of our favorite herbs to use include fresh parsley, oregano, and rosemary. You could also experiment with herbs like fennel, dill, and thyme. A few leaves of sage gives this butter a warm, savory aroma that makes it a perfect compliment to chicken and potato dishes.
We like using fresh herbs whenever possible. If you don't already grow herbs at home, you should consider starting a small herb garden in a windowsill or on the patio. Herb plants tend to stay reasonably small and having a fresh supply is fantastic. You can even dry or freeze fresh herbs for use later.
This recipe is best when made with fresh garlic. Granulated or even powdered garlic can be used in a pinch, but you won't get the full-bodied flavor without using fresh garlic. Rocambole garlic is the ideal choice because it provides an intense garlic flavor. Most of the garlic you buy in the supermarket is California Early or Late garlic. It has an excellent balance of garlic flavor.
Purple garlic has a more delicate and mild garlic flavor. It works well for this recipe and any other cooked garlic recipe.
You may see something called elephant garlic sold in the store. This is a type of garden leek that has a flavor somewhere between onion and garlic, and it is wonderful smoked. The giant cloves are perfect for spreading on crackers.
You'll have the most success grating or pressing garlic. Finely chopped garlic works well, too. Sliced garlic tends to give a weak flavor until you unexpectedly bite into a sliver.
Ways to Prepare the Garlic
A neat way to add flavor to any dish that uses garlic is to smoke it beforehand. We like to toss a few foil-wrapped heads on the smoker any time we've got it fired up. Smoked garlic holds up well refrigerated and makes an easy way to add some garlicky zing to this compound butter recipe. Garlic takes about two and a half hours on the smoker and will keep for eight weeks.
The best way to make smoked garlic is to take the outer skin off of an entire head and lightly coat it with olive oil. Wrap the garlic individually in foil and smoke at 225 degrees for two hours or so. The garlic will get toasted and brown inside. Once it's done, you can snip off the pointy end and squeeze the garlic out like a paste.
The Best Butter
Let's get one thing out of the way – use real butter. Non-butter products like margarine or coconut oil may work for some recipes, but not on a steak. We've got great options for locally-produced butter in our neck of the woods, but if you don't, choose a high-quality brand. For a really special treat, try using Irish or European butter in this garlic butter recipe. These butters contain a higher fat content for an extra creamy texture.
Salted vs Unsalted
We use salted butter at home for virtually every savory recipe. There is a great amount of debate out there about using salted vs unsalted butter on a steak. Using unsalted butter gives you more control of the overall saltiness. But in our experience, high-quality salted butter increases the flavor of our favorite cuts of steak.
The only nutritional difference between salted and unsalted butter is about 90 mg of sodium per tablespoon. The American Heart Association recommends limiting daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg daily, so you'll probably fine "splurging" on salted.
We use softened butter in our recipe. The correct way to soften butter is to simply set it on the kitchen counter for a few hours. It can be tempting to soften butter on the stove top or in the microwave, but don't give in. The problem with this is that a portion of the butter will melt. Melted butter will be more difficult to use and may pick up off flavors. Properly softened butter won't give you any issues.
Smoked Garlic Herb Butter Recipe
- One stick of salted butter, room temperature
- 3-5 cloves of smoked garlic, chopped or pressed
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Place the butter in a small mixing bowl.
- Use a spoon to incorporate the garlic until well-mixed.
- Add herbs and continue to mix until combined.
You can make this butter compound several days ahead of time. Wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator until ready to use. You can use it cold or room temperature.
The Perfect Garlic Butter Steak
This is a quick and delicious way to make a steak. It's perfect for random weekday dinners or can even be dressed up with your favorite sides for a big family get-together that'll make you look like a pro without spending too much time cooking.
If you can plan ahead, season your steaks 24 hours ahead of time. Use kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. You can't really over do it with the pepper. Season all sides completely. When you want to take things to the next level, use your favorite Bearded Butcher Blend seasoning instead of the salt and pepper. Our seasonings are made to make it easy to get the best steak.
Place the steak in the refrigerator until ready. You want the steak to absorb flavor for at least one hour.
Heat a cast-iron skillet on high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan and let it get hot, but don't let it burn. Place the steaks in the skillet and sear for 4-7 minutes before flipping the steaks. The key is to not move the steak until you are ready to flip it over. You want to let the heat seal the surface of the meat. Moving the steak too soon will tear the sear.
Flip your steaks and sear the other side for 4-7 minutes. You can use an instant read meat thermometer to check the temperature. Our Bearded Butcher Instant Read Thermometer gives you accurate temperature readings in the blink of an eye. It also has a handy chart that shows the USDA recommended temperatures for different cuts of meat. A medium rare steak will come in between 130 and 140 degrees.
Remove the steak from the cast iron pan and place it on a cutting board. Put dollops of your chilled garlic butter on the steak and let them melt. This gives you a great excuse to let the steaks rest. The steaks should rest for at least 15 minutes.
Garlic Butter Steak Tips
One of the best tips is to buy great cuts of meat for searing. Our favorite steak to make garlic butter steak from is ribeye. This tender, fatty cut sears up wonderfully and is packed with flavor. New York strip steaks are also a great choice because they take a sear well. Thinner cuts like flank can be seared, but don't let the meat sit nearly as long.
This easy steak recipe benefits from a side of potatoes. There is an easy way to make a one-pan meat and potatoes recipe using garlic herb butter.
Garlic Butter Meat & Potatoes
Before searing your steaks, put the cast-iron pan on medium-high heat. Quarter new red potatoes into the heated olive oil in the pan. Cook the potatoes until fork-tender and crisp on the edges.
Then, sear the steak as above. Before removing the steak from the skillet, put the potatoes back in the pan to warm, then add the garlic butter to the steak in the pan. The garlic butter will melt into the potatoes for a delicious, easy meal in one pan with almost no prep time.
There are lots of fun ways to use garlic butter in other recipes. It's delicious on steamed or roasted vegetables, drizzled on grilled shrimp or fish, or spread on a hamburger bun. You can mix it up even more by using different herbs in your butter or try roasting minced garlic before adding it to the mix.
There are lots of things to love about this recipe. The flavors of rich beef and fresh ground pepper give the steak a smoky and spicy bite. Cutting the steaks reveals a perfectly cooked, tender and juicy steak. We often make garlic herb butter in a couple different flavors and keep it in the refrigerator until we are ready for it. It's a versatile commodity that goes with more than just steak. It's just as delicious on chicken breast or pork chops, and it makes a great way to dress up corn on the cob.
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