When I opened up Cooking the Cowboy Way in search of dinner, I had one thing in mind: steak. I found more recipes than I could count, but was drawn to this simple recipe with big flavors: a spicy, salty-sweet rub and a disc of compound butter melted over it.
Making compound butter—the process of mixing herbs and other flavors into room-temperature butter then chilling—is one of the simplest ways to put together a compelling "sauce" for a simple dinner. Though I usually think of more classic flavor profiles, like garlic and parsley, I was pretty intrigued by the herbal zing from the cilantro and lime in this recipe. As a foil to the richness and acidity of the butter, they're rubbed with a mixture of cayenne, salt, and raw sugar. The heat of the cayenne leaves everything tingly, while the salty-sweet crust that forms adds an amazing amount of dimension.
And of course, in the cowboy way, it's melted over a juicy piece of ribeye.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon raw sugar
- 4 rib-eye steaks
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
Make the butter by stirring in the lime zest, lime juice, and cilantro. Once well-incorporated, roll the butter up in a small piece of plastic wrap to make a log, then refrigerate or freeze to harden.
Combine the cayenne, salt, and sugar to make a rub. Rub the steaks with the oil, then the spice mixture. Prepare a gas or charcoal grill (or a grill pan) and grill over medium-hot until desired temperature. Avoid high heat, which can burn the sugar and turn it bitter.
Allow the steaks to rest for at least 5 minutes, then pull out the butter and slice into disks. Place them on top of the steaks to melt and serve.