As the saying goes, “Butter makes everything better” — and that’s true even for a juicy ribeye steak. The ribeye is prized for its tender texture and deep, beefy flavor. Channel your inner steakhouse chef by pairing your steak with butter. You can take it a step further by injecting butter into the ribeye steak, which allows you to maximize the flavor and tenderness of the steak by flavoring it from the inside while maintaining a dry exterior that’s ideal for getting a crunchy crust after cooking it.
Benefits of Injecting Steak
Unlike traditional marinating, which only flavors the outside of the meat, injecting butter right into the steak lets the interior of the meat come in contact with the butter and any seasonings that you add to it. Speed is another factor since marinades typically take at least 20 to 30 minutes or longer to penetrate the meat; injecting it gives your steak a flavor infusion within approximately five minutes. Additionally, you’re essentially injecting moisture right into the meat, which helps it stay moist and tender while you cook it.
Tools of the Trade
Although you might need a big injector to inject roasts or whole turkeys, you don’t need a large or fancy injector to get the job done for smaller cuts such as steaks. An injector that holds 1 to 2 ounces holds enough fluid to flavor a ribeye steak. Another factor to consider while you’re shopping for injectors is the number of openings at the tip. While you can get delicious results using an injector with one hole, use one with multiple openings to get the best results since it will evenly distribute the butter through the steak.
Preparing the Butter
The first step is to melt your butter. Whatever you inject into meat needs to be in liquid form. While you can inject unflavored melted butter into a ribeye steak and get delicious results, you can also use this opportunity to pull out some of your favorite herbs or seasonings to make a melted version of the compound butters that so many steakhouses use to top their steaks. For example, you could combine whiskey, bourbon or cognac with your melted butter, using roughly two parts butter for one part alcohol. Finely chopped herbs, garlic or dry seasonings can also work well. The key to successfully injecting your steak is to use only finely ground herbs and spices to prevent clogging the needle of the injector.
Injecting the Steak
Put your melted butter in a jar or narrow container before placing your injector in the container and pulling the plunger up. After filling the injector, insert the needle into the steak, going deep enough to reach the center of the meat. Slowly press the injector’s plunger while you lift the needle out of the steak. Repeat the process every 1 1/2 inches. Generally, use roughly 1 ounce of butter for every pound of ribeye steak. Be sure to clean the needle of the injector to avoid introducing bacteria to the next batch of food that you inject. Before you wash the injector, use a wire or paper clip to clear any meat caught in the tip.
References and ResourcesSteak Lover's Cookbook; William Rice
Mark Bittman's Quick and Easy Recipes from the New York Times; Mark Bittman
Amazing Ribs, Inc: The Zen Of Injecting Meat: No Wait, No Waste, More Flavor