Seared Rib Eye Steak with Cinnamon

Seared rib eye steak with cinnamon is a sumptuous way to make a gorgeous cut of beef even better. By basting it in its own juices, along with butter, garlic, and a pinch of cinnamon, you end up with something spectacular.

A large rib eye steak with a pat of butter on top, in a cast iron pan.

Adapted from Derek Wolf | Food X Fire | Harvard Common Press, 2021

A few tips for those who want to knock this out of the park: 1. Lower the temperature of your fire and skillet before you baste. Butter has a bad tendency to burn over high heat. 2. Okay, yes, lowering the temperature is not as easy with a fire as when using the stove. Lowering a fire’s temperature can be done quickly, though, by spreading out the coals or removing some coals from the fire. Don’t overthink it! 3. Place the garlic on the steak while basting as it will melt into the steak while cooking.–Derek Wolf


If you’re used to cooking steaks in a non-stick pan, then you might find cooking one in cast-iron to be a little, well, stickier. But cast-iron creates a much better sear on meat, creating that delicious fond (the browned bits that caramelize, stick to the bottom of the pan and make an incredible pan sauce) that you don’t get with non-stick cookware. Part of that process is the actual bonding of the meat to the metal surface of the pan, creating that “stuck on” feeling. This, however, is a good thing. If you oil your pan first, then get it nice and hot before adding the meat, you’ll find that the crust forms quickly. Once the crust is built up and the meat is seared, the bonds between the protein and the cast-iron loosen and you can easily flip it over.

Seared Rib Eye Steak with Cinnamon

A large rib eye steak with a pat of butter on top, in a cast iron pan.

This recipe shows you how to baste a rib eye in its own juices inside a cast-iron skillet, whether over a fire or on your stovetop.

Derek Wolf

Prep 15 mins

Cook 5 mins

Total 30 mins

  • In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
  • Lather the steak with 1 tablespoon oil. Season all sides of the steak with the spices, making sure not to miss the sides. Set the steak on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.

  • Set your grill up for two-zone cooking and preheat to a medium-high temperature (about 375°F or 190°C).
  • Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil into a cast-iron skillet and set over direct heat to preheat for 2 minutes before cooking.
  • Carefully add the rib eye to the skillet and sear until a crust forms, 30 to 45 seconds per side. Shoot for a nice crust everywhere, so sear the edges of the steak on the sides of the skillet, if necessary.

  • Move the skillet to the indirect zone, move the steak to a plate and lower the temperature of the grill to a medium heat (about 325°F or 170°C).

  • Return the skillet to the direct cooking zone and add the butter to the skillet to melt. Once melted, place the steak back into the skillet and place the garlic on top of the steak. Cook, basting the warm butter over the steak with a spoon for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the steak, place the garlic back on top, and continue cooking and basting until it is cooked to your desired doneness, about 3 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Move the steak to a plate, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 283kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 3g (1%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 31g (48%)Saturated Fat: 21g (131%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 64mg (21%)Sodium: 2330mg (101%)Potassium: 46mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 753IU (15%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 30mg (3%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Originally published July 30, 2021

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