Learn to cook with Chef Matt Starcher, aka “The Mattdad.” Chef Matt is a Johnson and Wales graduate, husband, dad and passionate chef. His roots go back to Appalachia in West Virginia where cooking on cast iron was a way of life. Matt has cooked for 25 years and has spent time in the kitchens of Washington D.C. at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. He and his wife Rhonda, reside in Chesapeake, Va., where they are raising their four kids. Food has always been Matt’s passion. He is chasing his dream as he shares his knowledge teaching cooking workshops.
Anytime I hear “poor man’s” anything, the first thing I think is “uh-oh, this is not going to be that good.” But, every once in while, I am surprised by the humbleness of this phrase. Cooking can do that – make ingredients that are humble great when treated with love and passion. In this month’s blog, we will explore this idea. We have the chuck eye, also known as the poor man’s ribeye, on the menu. If you are a fan of cast iron cooking, a seared and well-seasoned steak, and lots of butter, this one is for you!
Let’s start from the beginning. What is a chuck eye, and why are folks just starting to discover this cut of meat?
The name “chuck eye” is derived from where the cut of meat is located on the animal. The shoulder is also called the “chuck,” and the chuck eye is located directly beside the ribeye on the chuck side. The chuck eye is cut from the fifth rib forward, while the ribeye is cut from the sixth rib to the 12th rib. When you look at the chuck eye, it closely resembles the ribeye. Usually any cut of meat from the shoulder is going to be tough, but the chuck eye is an exception.
Because of the similarities to the highly coveted ribeye, butchers took this “secret” cut of meat home for their families. This is why it’s also called the butcher’s steak. The chuck has an eye of tender meat, and you my friend, have found it.
Trends in cooking are one of the really exciting things about food. Each year, chefs, foodies and cooks experiment with new things. One of the hottest trends in 2018 are new and exciting cuts of meat, according to the National Restaurant Association. The chuck eye is one of these exciting cuts. There are folks out there that prefer this cut to any other. Now don’t get me wrong, I still prefer a thick cut Certified Hereford Beef New York strip, seared in a cast iron skillet with garlic, butter and thyme …… yum. I think that is perfect segway into the most important part of this talk – cooking! Let’s cook a steak with a simple technique that will rock your steak-eating world.
When it comes to cooking, I was taught many years ago that details matter. Here are the details: buy a great quality steak. I am using Certified Hertford Beef. Certified Hereford Beef is an American-only beef product raised by the 7,000 farmers and ranchers of the American Hereford Association. I have found in my 25-plus years of being a chef that ingredients have more influence on how food tastes than any other factor. So let’s start with that.
Tip one – Buy a Chef Quality piece of Beef.
Tip two – Season it.
Some folks like to just use kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I have tweaked this recipe throughout the years. My version is called MaD seasoning. You will see me using this flavor again and again in different recipes.
1 Cup Kosher Salt
¼ Cup Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 TBSP Granulated Garlic
1 TBSP Onion Powder
1 TSP White Sugar
Keep in a sealed air tight container.
Tip Three – Have patience. It gives you time work up your appetite.
Cast Iron Pan
2 Certified Hereford Beef Chuck Eye Steaks (8-10oz each)
4 whole cloves of garlic, smashed (you can leave the skin on them)
1 stick of butter cut into 8 pads
1 tablespoon MaD Seasoning
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1. Season raw steaks with the MaD seasoning. They should be covered in seasoning – don’t be shy. Season the sides, top and bottom of the steaks.
2. Allow the steaks to pre-rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This will allow the moisture to be pulled out of the steaks by the salt, which will help to form a crust when seared. Crust is good.
3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pull the steaks out of the refrigerator and allow to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. I know, I know … Patience. Remember, the details are important.
4. Heat pan until it is screaming hot. Turn on the vent fan.
5. Add olive oil to the cast iron skillet (this increases the burn point of the butter).
6. Add steaks and do not move them. Top with half the butter.
7. Wait for two minutes and then flip steaks. Add the remaining butter, garlic and the thyme (keep thyme on stem).
8. Start basting the steak with the spoon. If you need to tilt the pan, to gather the butter, do that.
9. After two minutes, turn steaks again and repeat with the butter. They will be rare now.
10. Take steaks off the cast iron and place in the oven to cook until the internal temp reaches 130°F for medium rare steaks or 135-140°F for medium steaks. Remember, different thicknesses take different times to reach the temperature you want. The only true way to hit the perfect temperature is to use a meat thermometer, so invest in one!
11. Allow the steaks to rest at least 10 minutes. This allows the juice to balance out in the steaks, otherwise when you cut the steak it runs all over the plate.)
12. Cut against the grain into thin slices.
That is how you cook a chuck eye steak like a rockstar!
Want to watch Chef Matt in action? Catch his step-by-step chuck eye steak cooking demonstration here
If you want to see more cooking videos and tips, check out the Mattdad on the following social channels:
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