Pan-Frying Tips for the Grill-less Folks

Through my day-job, I’ve been fortunate enough to learn how to break down a bone-in beef ribeye.  I’m not talking a little ribeye steak or even a standing rib roast, I mean an entire ribeye with 7 of the 13 rib bones attached.  A ‘109E’ for the crazy meat folks who know what that even means.  The reason I even mention this is because there is a gem of a beef cut located on the beef ribeye that isn’t typically offered in the typical grocery meat case.  It’s called the Ribeye Cap.  I know you’ve had it.  If you order a ribeye steak or have a slice of prime rib, the ribeye cap is that thin muscle that runs along one side, generally near that massive hunk of fat called ‘star’ or ‘kernal’ fat.  It’s incredibly tender (3rd most tender muscle in the beef carcass) and eats like butter  Since I can’t find the ribeye cap in the grocery store and I can cut the ribeye subprimal myself, I’m able to get it.  (You can too, watch this handy cutting video on the ribeye cap)

So, down to the good stuff.  That little ribeye cap is generally about a 1/2 inch thick which makes it great for pan-frying.  Since I don’t have a grill (gasp!) because I live in a tiny apartment in the suburbs of Philly, I resort to either pan-frying, roasting or broiling my meat.  I  hate to clean the broiling pan so I pretty much just pan-fry when I’m cooking a thin cut of beef.  There are several ‘keys to success’ I’ve found with pan-frying:

1. Get the meat dry, pat it down with a paper towel right before cooking.  You can even coat the meat in a light dusting of flour to help absorb extra juices. If you want a nice sear on that meat, get it dry first.

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2. Generally, seasoning or a rub doesn’t work out so well if your pan-frying.  I know some folks suggest seasoning the beef before pan-frying, but I’ve had a heck of a time getting that to work out.  The rub ends up burning on the surface of the meat.  I season it after cooking.

3. Get the pan really hot, coat it lightly with olive oil and gently lay the cut of meat in the frying pan.  Turn the heat down, low.  You want the heat to be hot enough to brown the beef but not so hot that it just burns the surface while leaving the center still raw.

4. Don’t flip the meat until it voluntarily pulls lose from the surface of the frying pan.  If you have to yank it off, it’s not ready to flip.

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5. After it is flipped, let is continue to sear on the other side until is browned nicely.  In an effort to help raise the internal temperature of the meat, go ahead and cover the pan with a lid.  Now that both sides are browned, you can create a little oven in your frying pan to help fully cook the inside of the meat.  USE A MEAT THERMOMETER to determine if the meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature.  (I usually pull my steaks at 135-14 degrees for medium rare.)

You can see how much this steak ‘plumped’ up after cooking.  Make sure you let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing it across the grain for serving.  You want to let those juices in the meat reabsorb in the meat.

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PERFECT!  Dinner is served!

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