Food & Drink

Seared Rib Eyes with Blue Cheese Butter and Beef-Fat Potatoes

In his new cookbook, Nashville chef Matt Moore shares tips and recipes from a dozen butchers—including a New Orleans favorite

Photo: Andrea Behrends


The Nashville-based author and chef Matt Moore has always heeded an old adage: Sometimes, the best way to get a recipe is to just talk to your butcher. And in his recently published book, Butcher on the Block: Everyday Recipes, Stories, and Inspirations from Your Local Butcher and Beyond, he’s done just that. Moore traveled throughout the country and beyond, gathering tales, coveted family recipes, and expert tips from a dozen butchers. 

Moore was inspired by his grandfather and uncle, both first-generation Lebanese immigrants and WWII veterans, who served after the war at their family grocery store and butcher shop in Valdosta, Georgia. “Just about everybody has a butcher in their family tree—my grandfather’s story was a portal to understanding the rich history of butchers in my local community,” Moore says. “A trusted butcher is vital to daily life—just like a doctor or mechanic. Striking up a friendship provides not only a connection to the community, but some delicious food to boot!”

photo: Andrea Behrends
Matt Moore.

During his trip to New Orleans, he met with Leighann Smith and Daniel Jackson, co-owners of Piece of Meat, a butcher shop and restaurant in Mid-City. After opening in 2018, the shop quickly became a neighborhood mainstay, “serving as a local heartbeat in a city that never sleeps,” Moore writes in the cookbook.  

“Quality is a top priority,” says Smith, who is also the shop’s butcher. “The main reason we do what we do is to educate why people should eat local, from small farms—to know where your meat comes from.”

Piece of Meat’s menu features a mouthwatering collection of dishes such as Creole-inspired boudin eggrolls and fried bologna sandwiches with crispy onions, but, no surprise, it’s the meats that take center stage—the rib eye with blue cheese butter and beef-fat potatoes, in particular. 

“There’s a reason the rib eye is the most beloved cut of butchers, because it combines the right mix of fat, muscle, and flavor to make it the coup de grâce of all things steak,” Moore writes. Smith takes it a step further, using tallow, or beef fat, which can be procured at any butcher, to make pillowy soft potatoes to serve alongside the steaks. 

“Everyone has their own method for the perfect steak preparation, but I appreciate Leighann’s dedication to the black pepper, opting for a coarse-ground, almost brisket-like consistency to ensure you get that flavor and texture into each and every bite,” Moore adds. “The blue cheese butter is even more decadent.” 

Pro tip from Moore: If you have some blue cheese butter left over, it will keep for weeks. Use it on the next steak night, or spread generously over warm, toasted bread the morning after.

For more from Butcher on the Block, see Moore’s recipes for Grilled Corn Ribs and Mississippi Beef with Creamy Grits

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Ingredients

  • Seared Rib Eyes with Blue Cheese Butter and Beef-Fat Potatoes (Yield: 4 servings)

  • For the Blue Cheese Butter

    • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

    • ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese

  • for the Beef-Fat Potatoes

    • 2½ lb. Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes

    • 3 cups beef tallow

    • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary

    • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • ½ tbsp. fresh-cracked black pepper

  • for the Rib Eye Steaks

    • 2 cups beef tallow

    • Four 8- to 10-oz. rib eye steaks, 1¼ to 1½ inches thick

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tbsp. fresh-cracked black pepper

    • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter


Preparation

  1. Make the blue cheese butter: In a small bowl, combine the butter with the cheese and mix until evenly combined. Turn the mixture out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form the butter into a small log-like shape. Wrap it in the plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 2 weeks.

  2. Make the potatoes: Fill a dutch oven just over three-quarters with water and place over medium-high heat. When the water reaches a boil, carefully add the potatoes and parboil for 7 to 8 minutes, until the potatoes are just tender when punctured with a fork. Drain the potatoes in a colander and let them sit until the steam dissipates, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. Add the tallow to a deep roasting pan, place it into the oven, and allow the tallow to completely render, until it begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, very carefully add the potatoes to the tallow, and toss to combine. Place the pan back in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing on occasion, and adding the rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper halfway through. The potatoes should be golden brown.

  4. Make the steaks: Melt the tallow in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steaks liberally on both sides with the salt and pepper. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, pan-fry the steaks on both sides, including the fat cap, for 2 to 3 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 125°F. Add the butter to the pan and allow it to quickly melt and foam. Using a spoon, pour the melted butter over the steaks and continue to cook for about 2 minutes, until the steaks reach an internal temperature of approximately 130°F. Remove the steaks from the heat and let rest, 5 minutes.

  5. To serve: Serve the steaks alongside the roasted potatoes. Top the steaks with ½-inch- thick slices of the blue cheese butter.

From Butcher on the Block by Matt Moore. Copyright © 2023 by Matt Moore. Reprinted by permission of Harvest, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


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