Chuck Eye Steaks are great little steaks, reasonably priced and have terrific flavor. Season with a simple dry rub, sauté some onions and mushrooms, bake a potato, make a bit of salad and dinner is served in under 30 minutes. Could it be much simpler? The chuck cuts are relatively tough cuts of meat, except for chuck eye steaks. If you cook these steaks no more than medium-rare (and why would you ever cook steak longer than that?), they are wonderful. I use a very simple rub with steak, really beef in general. The Spice Mill sells several great rubs for steak; I like their Pepper Explosion (no-salt added) or their Ancho-Coffee Rub; both play up the savory aspect of the meat. If however, you want to make your own, you could try the following mixture:
Simple Steak Rub
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely ground coffee
- 1/2 teaspoon onion granules
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon dried minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- Pinch of ground cumin
- Crushed red pepper flakes or pure ground Ancho chiles for a bit of heat
- Coarse salt to taste
You can stir this mixture together; store in an air-tight jar in a dark place. Play with this and make it your own. This is just a starting place.
Simple Steak Rub©Marcia Lahens 2014. All rights reserved.
It isn’t chiseled in stone anywhere that you need to add more than salt and pepper to steak. Bear in mind, these steaks about 1 inch thick, so the following cooking times are based on that thickness. You don’t want steaks to be less than 3/4 inch thick or they cook too quickly and you won’t get a good sear.
Now, a note about marbling. Marbling are the veins of fat that run through meat. The 2 eye steaks here have nice marbling, without there being large pieces of fat. When you pan-fry, grill or whatever method you choose to cook the meat, these veins of fat melt, basting the meat as it cooks, so the meat doesn’t dry out and become to tough.
I’ve rubbed these steaks with some olive oil and added some dry rub. If time permits, I like to let the meat sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but if you only have 10 minutes, then let them sit for 10 minutes. Now, I’ll have to ‘splain this next part, because for some reason, known only to the kitchen gnomes that live under my sink, I didn’t take pictures of the actually cooking of the meat. While it isn’t necessary to actually see this process, I will try to make this seem real. Now, in your head, you will see me heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until you see a wisp of smoke. Turn the burner down to medium, drizzle in a bit of olive oil, swirl it around and add your steaks. Now, listen up…DON’T TOUCH THE STEAKS! Leave them alone and don’t move them for at least 2 minutes. This will allow the sugars to caramelize and give you a nice, brown crust, sealing in the lovely juices. I try to leave them for about 2-3 minutes. (Now would be a great time to throw those potatoes into the microwave; remember, sweet potatoes are great with steak, too.) I turn the steaks and LEAVE THEM ALONE again. Brooding solitude is good for meat. Turn the burner to low; at this point, I also toss in the sliced mushrooms and onion around the edge of the skillet, not over the steaks. Let everything cook together in a total Kumbaya spirit, for about 3-5 minutes. When the steaks are medium-rare (with practice you will be able to gently prod the center of the steak and tell when they are to your liking. The meat should give way with slight pressure, but not be squishy–the internal temp should be about 115°F.), remove the steaks to a warmed plate and tent with foil; they will continue to cook just a bit. They need to rest now. They are tired, hot and cranky; they need a time-out. Don’t skip their little power nap here; this resting period allows the juices to redistribute in the meat so they will remain juicy.
While they rest, finish sautéing the mushrooms and onions, make the tossed salad, ask someone to set the table and open the wine.
When the onion mixture is done, place the steaks on warm plates, add the baked potato and I’ve added a piece of Italian bread smeared with some Garlic confit. I also drizzled a tablespoon of the oil from the confit over the potato. Serve and enjoy with a nice glass of red wine. Let someone else clear and clean up…after this meal, you deserve it!