Friday, October 24, 2008

Cowboy Dinner: Rib Eye Steak and Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings

I'm working on being well rounded in the kitchen. Mexican cuisine, Italian cuisine, American cuisine and Texas cuisine. Texas food includes Tex Mex and Cowboy eats. This pan seared rib eye steak with cornmeal-fried onion rings would fall into the cowboy food category. This also falls into the category of foods Jim loves.

On this day Jim was supposed to work a double, but was cut after 45 minutes of being at work because they were dead. Then he was supposed to return at 5:00 PM and got a call from his twit of a manager to ask him if he wanted the night off. Well, no - he doesn't want the night off he would rather work this evening. FYI, Jim's looking for another waiter job with a fine dining restaurant that actually has customers - if anyone in Austin is hiring. Call me.

I knew this meal would cheer him up. It worked. Who can be upset on a full belly? And if your belly is full with a perfectly seared rib eye steak and cornmeal onion rings - all the better.

The cornmeal-fried onion rings were an idea I got from Barfeoot Contessa. I put a twist on the recipe though, one that worked (kinda). Here we go, lets start with the onion rings.

I sliced this into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick slices
and seperated them into rings.
Cover with one cup of buttermilk
I seasoned mine with a light shake of ground cumin
Then my favorite cowboy seasoning, the Saltgrass 7 Steak Spices.

Mix together with your hands to coat and then I put a lid on this and set it out on the counter for half an hour.
I bought these beautiful boneless rib eye steaks at Whole Foods. The marbling on these steaks is typical of a rib eye and is what gives this cut of beef so much flavor.
I simple rubbed these in olive oil and seasoned with my Saltgrass 7 Spices.
Now, I prepare the kitchen for the onion rings and steak. This is a quick meal to prepare, so while the steaks come to room temperature I want to set out everything I need to make this meal. I start by lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. This is where I will set the onion rings when I pull them out of the oil. If I needed to, I could put the finished onion rings in a 200 degree oven for up to 30 minutes to keep them warm and crisp.
I looked at the ingredients Ina calls for in her cornmeal-fried onion rings, and I didn't have plain cornmeal. I did however have this bag of prepared corn bread mix. I looked at the ingredients and it was flour and cornmeal...close enough. (smiling)

To add a kick of flavor I added about a tablespoon of (you guessed it) Saltgrass seasoning.
Now let's get the fryer ready. I used 1/2 quart of vegetable oil into my deep pot and attached the candy thermometer. Frying should happen around 350 degrees, but as you fry foods the temperature drops so this helps you watch and wait in between batches for the temp to be just right.
For the rib eye, I started by putting my oven safe pan into the oven and pre-heated to 425 degrees. Alton Brown suggest using a cast iron skillet, but I don't have one. I do however have this on my wish list and hopefully it will show up Christmas morning, being the good girl I have been.
After the oven reaches 425, pull out the pan and place over high heat. Add the steaks and don't touch them for 30 seconds. Let them get a good sear.
Flip, let them sear on the other side for 30 seconds.

Now put in the hot oven for two minutes. Flip and cook for another two minutes. Please ignore that I store baking sheets in the oven. I have little to no storage in my kitchen so I get creative.
These looked so good when I removed from the oven. I put them on a clean plate and covered with foil to keep warm while I make the onion rings.
Here are my soaked onion rings.
I toss these in the cornmeal mix
Then drop in the vegetable oil when the thermometer reads 350.

Then put each batch out on a baking sheet to drain a bit.
I served the steak up with a serving of cornmeal onion rings on top.

Are you salivating? This tasted as good as it looks.

I loved the crunch on the onion rings, but I wish the batter would have held on a little better. I wonder if the addition of more flour to the cornmeal mix would have helped things. I'm not complaining. These were really good.

Yee Haw!


  1. Oh what a delicious looking steak! My hubby would kill for that, I love those onion rings!

    Definitely make that popcorn mix, it is addicting! I added a little extra cayenne for some additional kick. So good!!

  2. I love your blog! I'm going to make this TOMORROW! I might have to stalk your blog for some more great recipes to post on my blog.

  3. Oh by the way, I saw that you're with a red head. I have red hair, as well but you should see my little 7 year old red headed cutie pie...I really don't think I've seen a redder head of's on my family blog site:

  4. Hey - in response to your polenta question, I literally just grabbed the only kind they had in my grocery store. They are all pretty much the same I'd say. They are just plain cooked polenta packed in a little water to keep it moist. No flavors added. Can't wait to see what you make if you try it!! Have fun :)

  5. Oh my, you make so many things that I'd love to try! This looks heavenly.

    I tagged you with a meme. I thought it would be fun to pass it along and see everyone's responses. Check out my blog and see.


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