Butter-Poached Kobe Beef Rib Eye Master Recipe
Tales of the Kobe beef cattle being with sake and fed a special diet enriched with beer are culinary legend. It is reputed that all the love and care the cows receive help produce meat that’s extraordinarily tender, finely marbled, and full flavored. If you have never tasted this buttery, nearly sweet beef before, you are in a culinary revelation. However, Kobe beef that you see on menus in the States most likely isn’t genuine Kobe. Just as the only true champagne is bottled in France’s Champagne, the only beef that merits the official Kobe name is actually from that region of Japan. Thankfully, Kobe-style beef is now raised domestically. Here, as in Japan, the livestock come from the heirloom breed “Wagyu,” which translates to “Japanese cattle.” In the U.S., Kobe beef is a crossbreed of American cattle (usually Black Angus) and Wagyu, which are raised in accordance with exacting Kobe standards. I stand by the Idaho ranch Snake River Farms for their methodical, specialized regimen and hormone-free ethics. They sell a full range of cuts and of high-quality beef that is properly aged and handled with care.
Cooking Methodpan-frying, poaching
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionFormal Dinner Party
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturebuttery, meaty, rich
- 6 cups (1½ quarts) clarified butter
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves, preferably fresh
- 6 fresh thyme sprigs
- Four 6-ounce boneless rib eye steaks, preferably kobe-style
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Maldon sea salt, for serving
- 1 cup pinot noir reduction
Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Combine the clarified butter, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme in a metal bowl or pan just large enough to sit over the simmering water without letting the bottom touch. Gently heat the butter to 135°F on a frying thermometer. Make sure the butter hovers somewhere between 135 and 140°F, as this will ensure that the meat is cooked to a perfect medium-rare.
Season the beef heavily with salt and pepper, and completely submerge the steaks in the warm butter. The temperature of the fat will drop slightly. Using tongs to rotate the meat occasionally, poach for a minimum of 25 to 30 minutes or up to an hour or more. As long as the temperature of the butter stays below 140°F the meat won’t overcook. Check the temperature often with the thermometer so that it remains a constant temperature.
When ready to serve, using tongs, remove the beef from the pan, allowing the excess butter to drip off. Season it well with salt and pepper. Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, and when hot, coat with 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter. Add the steaks and sear all sides until well browned. (At this point, the meat is already cooked through from the poaching; you just want a slight crust on the outside for texture.) Transfer the beef to a cutting board and let rest for at least 10 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. Slice each steak against the grain into about 5 slices. Season lightly with Maldon sea salt.
2006 Michael Mina Group, LLC