Food & Drink

Cowboy Ribeye

Cooking with Craig’s Cowboy Ribeye Credits: Craig Thiebaud

EDISON, NJ - So, I love steak…really any kind of steak but my go-to cut seems to always be a ribeye.  Although rather fatty in general, it contains a lot of flavor (the flavor coming from the fat).  Usually, when I cook a ribeye at home, I’ll heat up a cast iron pan until scorching hot and simply pan sear it for a few minutes on each side.  I season it simply with just a good quality salt and freshly ground pepper.  Usually I add a touch of vegetable oil or canola oil to the pan.  Two other keys for a perfect steak:  let it come to room temperature prior to cooking and after the steak is finished, let it rest at least 10-15 minutes to ensure all the juices stay in the steak.  That’s about it…really that’s all you need to do to get a great steak with a great seared crust.  My wife and I definitely prefer our steak on the rare side, so this recipe is really timed for that temperature.  If you prefer yours better done, simply cook it a few minutes longer for medium rare and so on.

Anyway, on to the Cowboy ribeye.  Cowboy ribeyes should be bone-in and rather large (2lbs on the lighter side to 3lbs on the larger).  When I lived in Texas my first exposure to a Cowboy ribeye prepared in this manner was at Stephen Pyles’ restaurant, Star Canyon.  The rub was complex and contained a good amount of heat.  You can google Stephen Pyles and his Cowboy Ribeye recipe and I would if I were you…he’s generally considered the Godfather of new Texas cuisine and he’s a wonderful chef.  It’s a great recipe but I think the ingredients are difficult to come by here in New Jersey without either searching high and low locally or ordering from the Internet.  So, I created my own recipe that pairs down the ingredient list to just a few, adding in some that I like personally and some that are simply classic Cowboy ribeye ingredients. The ingredients are also certainly attainable locally. 

The end result, is a steak with a thick, black crust that imparts heat as well as a touch of salty and sweet.  If you want to serve it Texas-style, add a pat of butter at the end prior to slicing.  I skipped that as I prefer it without butter.  However, a lot of Texas steak houses finish steaks in this manner.

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So, I paired this with a simple salad.  However, if you want to continue on with the Texas theme, why not try roasting a sweet potato and seasoning it with chili powder, cinnamon, and a bit of real butter.  Finish the whole thing with a bit of salt and pepper and you are set.  So, with no further delay, here’s a pretty easy and tasty Cowboy ribeye recipe.  Enjoy!


1 2-3 pound cowboy cut ribeye, bone-in

2 T freshly ground coffee

3 T ancho chili powder

3 T fine sea salt

½ T freshly ground pepper

1 T white sugar

2 T garlic powder

½ t cayenne pepper

Scant dash cinnamon

3-4 T canola oil


  • Take ribeye out of the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature (around an hour or so)
  • Combine all seasonings in one big bowl and completely mix to combine for the rub.
  • Place steak on large cutting board or plate and rub the seasoning all over the steak, several different times and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Take cast iron pan and heat gradually until smoking hot, around 5 minutes.  To do this, simply place pan on a low flame for a minute or two, then increase heat to medium for a minute or two, and then to medium high or high after that.  I went to medium high as my range runs very hot.
  • After the pan is properly heated, place oil in pan.  Oil will start to smoke.  If it is not smoking yet, wait for the oil to begin smoking before placing steak in pan.
  • Take ribeye and brush off excess rub.  Place in pan.
  • Allow ribeye to cook 4-5 minutes, without moving it.  Check steak with tongs to see if crust has developed.  If so, turn steak.  Note:  the rub will burn as it has sugar and a lot of powdery ingredients.  That is what you are looking for.  The steak will char and develop a thick crust.
  • Cook another 4-5 minutes, checking for crust again.
  • After that, turn the steak on its side and sear the edges so that it is brown/black all over.  That should take another 2-3 minutes or so. 
  • So, for a rare steak that was a little under 2.5 lbs., the total cooking time was 10-12 minutes for me.  If you prefer your steak better done, preheat your oven to 325 and continue cooking to desired doneness.
  • Remove steak and allow to rest on cutting board for a minimum of 10 minutes…15 minutes would be better.
  • Slice steak against the grain in ½ inch slices. 
  • Serve while warm.  One large steak should easily serve 3-4 people.

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