Yes, my friends, it's possible to have your steak and eat it, too. There's very little debate that the tenderloin is the most tender of all steaks, and perhaps some debate that rib-eye steaks have the most flavor. But did you know that the cap of the rib-eye, the spinalis dorsi, as it's referred to in proper anatomy, or calotte steak in French, is a one-two punch of flavor and tenderness that makes it one of the most prized steaks in the universe? If you are staring at a standard-cut rib-eye, the cap will be the portion of meat that literally circles the round shape over the fatty "eye" portion of the steak. Some butchers trim this entire portion whole, turning out a steak that's just over a foot long, about half a foot wide, and an inch or so in thickness. Others, like in this recipe, will trim this portion of a thick-cut rib-eye steak off, tying it together to form a mock filet for the grill. Whatever you do, be prepared to enjoy one of the most tender, flavorful cuts of meat that you will ever enjoy in your entire life! Because this is the holy grail of steaks, I like to treat it as simple as possible, with high heat, and a touch of salt to dry brine and finish. This is the steak worth pulling out that vintage bottle of wine to celebrate.
Technique tip: Source these rib-eye cap steaks from your local butcher, asking them to tie the steaks using twine around the perimeter to create a filet-like shape. If you cannot source, thick-cut rib-eyes will work, and you can remove the top portion (spinalis muscle) from the steak for this purpose, reserving or grilling the bottom portion of the steak. Don't skip the dry brine — it's a foolproof method to ensure steaks turn out nice and juicy. This dish is best assembled a la minute so the bread doesn't get too soggy. You can prep everything hours in advance, even serving the steaks at room temperature. Your guests will be impressed while you put this together.
Swap option: This dry brine and grilling method works on most call brand steaks including filet, rib-eye, strip, etc. If you don't have a grill outside, a grill pan can be useful over the stovetop and inserted into a warmed oven for thicker steaks to cook to the desired temperature.
- 4 (6-to 8-ounce) rib-eye cap steaks, tied with butcher's twine around the perimeter of the cut into a filet-like shape
- kosher salt
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
- 1 small red chile, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- French bread slices, toasted
For the steaks:
About an hour prior to cooking, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and season all sides liberally with kosher salt.
Place the steaks on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and allow the steaks to dry brine for 1 hour. Just prior to grilling, pat the steaks completely dry with a paper towel.
For the chimichurri:
Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, stirring well to incorporate, and set aside.
To cook and serve:1.
Open the bottom vent of a charcoal grill completely. Light a charcoal chimney starter filled with charcoal. When the coals are covered with gray ash, pour them onto the bottom grate of the grill, and then push to one side of the grill. Adjust the vents as needed to maintain an internal temperature of 500 F to 550 F. Coat the top grate with oil and place on the grill. If using a gas grill, preheat to high (500 to 550 F) on one side.2.
Place the steaks over direct heat and grill for 2 minutes, undisturbed. Rotate the steaks approximately 30 degrees, picking them up and putting them back down on a different portion of the grate to ensure a new sear, and cook for an additional 1½ minutes. Rotate the steaks a final 30 degrees and cook for 1½ minutes more.3.
Next, transfer the steaks to the indirect side of the grill and continue to cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the internal temperature reads 130 F for medium-rare. Immediately transfer the steaks off the grill onto a plate and tent with aluminum foil to rest for 10 minutes.
Remove the foil tent and slice steaks thinly. Place the sliced steak on top of toasted French bread and finish with a generous portion of the chimichurri.