For those of you who don’t necessarily want to mess with a grill, or an oven, or just want a very quick steak dinner, a simple stove-top butter-basting is a great solution to making a perfect steak. Throw in some herbs and shallots, and you will have a steak exploding with flavors. The best part about a butter-basted steak is that you get a deeply caramelized, dark bark. That’s where most of the flavor comes from in a steak – a richly caramelized bark. That’s why we sear steaks – to give them more flavor. Butter-basting gives a steak more flavor than with most other cooking methods. Try this porterhouse steak recipe, you’ll know what I am talking about.
To get the best out of you porterhouse steak, start preparing it a few days in advance. Season it liberally with salt and pepper, place in an uncovered container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. The salt will penetrate the meat and tenderize it. The meat will be seasoned inside too. If you don’t have the luxury of starting three days in advance, even a day will make a difference. Can’t do that either? Do it one hour in advance of cooking, but keep the steak outside at room temperature.
To take your porterhouse steak to an even higher level, if that’s even needed, serve it with homemade chimichurri. Argentinians really hit the nail on the head when they decided to put this oil, vinegar and herb mixture on grilled meat – it adds complexity of flavor and balance. Once you try it with a steak it’s hard to not want to do it again and again.
Since butter-basting involves high and medium-high cooking throughout, this method work best with thick steaks. About 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches thick. Thinner steaks will dry out quickly, before getting a good bark.
Butter-Basted Porterhouse Steak Recipe
- 1 porterhouse steak (1 1/2" to 2 1/2" thick)
- kosher salt (to taste)
- ground black pepper (to taste)
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 large shallots (thinly sliced)
- 1 cup homemade chimichurri sauce (recipe linked in the post, and further down in instructions)
Pat dry the steak with paper towels. Season liberally on all sides with salt and pepper. Place in an open container and refrigerate for 1 to 3 days, flipping once every 12 hours and patting dry with paper towels.
If you are not able to refrigerate, season the steak with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for an hour.
Refrigerated steak needs to be removed from the fridge an hour prior to cooking to come to room temperature.
Prepare chimichurri sauce at least an hour before cooking the steak and up to a day in advance.
- Heat the oil and the butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke and the butter starts to turn brown. Carefully add the steak and sear, flipping it every 15-20 seconds, until a golden brown crust starts to develop, about 5 minutes.
Add the herbs and shallots to the skillet and continue to cook, flipping the steak occasionally and basting it with the foaming butter, shallots, and thyme until the desired doneness is achieved:
Rare - 120F-125F,
Medium rare - 130F-135F,
Medium - 140F-145F,
Medium well - 150F-155F,
Well done - 160F-165F
To baste, tilt the pan a little until you can get a tablespoonful of butter, then pour the hit butter over the steak. To get even cooking, try pouring the butter over lighter spots on the steak. If the butter starts to smoke excessively or the steak begins to to brown too quickly, lower the heat down to medium.
Once the desired doneness is achieved, transfer the steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Carve, transfer to a serving platter, top with chimiurri sauce and serve.
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