Here's a culinary magic trick for you. How do you make a freshly seared, juicy steak even better? Add some butter. How do you make the quickest sauce possible? Add some butter. How do you enhance your carnivore steak dinner with healthy fats? Add some butter. How do you live deliciously? Add some butter. Buttering your steak, far from gilding the lily, turns something superb into something sublime. Here we've written about five ways to do so for you.
The Simplest Sauce: A Knob of Butter
The next time you're eyeing a freshly seared steak, wondering how best to top it, reach for your butter. A knob of salted butter (about 2 tbsp) makes for a beautiful steak sauce all on its own. In addition to drenching the steak in healthy fats as it slowly melts, the butter contributes its rich mouthfeel and delicious texture to every bit. So simple, yet complete in itself, it's almost magical.
Small Effort, Massive Returns: Compound Butter
Even though plain salted butter is luscious, a small effort can bring you the splendor of compound butter. A compound butter is simply butter which has been softened and mixed thoroughly with flavoring agents. Then it's rolled into a log and sliced for serving. When a slice is placed on a nice hot steak, it melts into a complete sauce, mingling with the steak's juices.
Most compound butters are made with a stick of butter and either a couple teaspoons of spices or a couple tablespoons of herbs and other less intense flavors. Try paprika and roasted garlic, or parsley and freshly crushed garlic, or thyme, black pepper, and tarragon. Or produce your own mixtures based on what flavors you like with your steak. With compound butters you can hardly go wrong.
Drape Your Steak in Beurre Blanc
Beurre blanc, French for ‘white butter’, is a slightly more complex project than the previous examples. However, if you have a saucepan, a whisk, and basic knife skills, you can make it. Basically, shallots, white wine, and other seasonings are reduced until almost dry, and then softened butter is whisked in bit by bit. The result is a sauce with the mouthfeel of rich cream and intense savory flavor. Because of the emulsified nature, the sauce is thicker than melted butter, for more flavor per bite. It’s well worth a little time and whisking to dress your steak so elegantly.
Embrace the Dark Side: Browned Butter
Browning butter is another simple step which produces huge flavor and complexity. It’s pretty easy to do -- just remember not to walk away, and to use a light-colored pan so you can see the color changing. Place the butter in a pan, melt over medium-low heat, and cook until the water boils off. (That’s when the pan will stop bubbling.) Now keep cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter darkens to a nutty brown and smells toasty. Immediately pour it off into a heatproof bowl -- the very next step after perfect is burnt. Now this browned butter, with its rich toasty flavor, particularly underscores the seared flavors. You can use it as is, or add any flavors you like. Just be sure to try it sometime.
Toasty Flavors and Healthy Fats: Ghee
The next step beyond browned butter is ghee. We’ve written about the wonders of ghee before, its healthy fats, toasty flavors, and high heat resistance. Because of its high smoke point, ghee lets you cook your steak in butter for depth of flavor. Then you can use it as a sauce base in any way you like, to add more! Or you can combine ghee-seared steak with any of the above butter suggestions.
Needless to say, our Recipes page features many luscious uses of butter, from Buttered Potatoes with Smoked Salmon to Lobster Tails with Butter Sauce. And of course the Cinder Grill makes steaks that are second to none. So we encourage you to combine these two culinary treasures into more than the sum of their parts. Butter your steak on the Cinder Grill!