Spencer steak, also known as a ribeye cap steak or a ribeye cap off, is a delicious cut of beef that comes from the rib section of a cow. This particular cut is highly prized for its tender and juicy texture, as well as its rich flavor that comes from the marbling of fat within the meat.
The Spencer steak is cut from the outer perimeter of the ribeye and is sometimes referred to as the "butcher's cut" because it was once a well-kept secret among butchers who would keep this cut for themselves.
Interestingly, this steak is also known by different names in different regions. For instance, in the Midwest, it's called the "beef ribeye cap," while in Australia, it's known as the "scotch fillet." If you're a steak lover, then keep reading to find out more about this mouth-watering cut of beef!
What is a Spencer Steak?
There are different types of steak in the market and you might be wondering what makes each one unique. One steak that stands out is the Spencer steak. Also known as the beauty steak, market steak, and Delmonico steak, the Spencer steak is a boneless cut of beef that comes from the rib section of the cow.
This steak is often confused with the scotch fillet steak due to their similar appearance, but the Spencer steak is actually cut from the opposite side of the rib section. The Spencer steak is a tender and flavorful cut, with marbling that makes it perfect for grilling.
In terms of preparation, the Spencer steak can be cooked using a variety of methods including grilling, broiling, or pan-searing. Its versatility makes it a popular choice among steak lovers.
The origin of the Spencer steak can be traced back to the 1800s when it was first served at the famous Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City. Since then, it has been known by different names in various regions. Regardless of its name, the Spencer steak is a delicious and satisfying cut of meat that is sure to please any steak lover.
What's the Difference Between Spencer Steak and Rib-eye Steak?
Spencer Steak is one of the richest, most marbled cuts.
When it comes to the difference between Spencer steak and rib-eye steak, there really isn't much of one. Both cuts come from the same section of the cow - the rib - and both are known for their exceptional flavor and tenderness. The only real difference between the two is in their shape. The rib-eye steak is cut from the center of the rib section and includes the rib bone, while Spencer steak is a boneless ribeye steak cut from the outer edge of the ribeye.
Despite this difference in shape, both cuts are equally delicious and are often used interchangeably in recipes. They are both prized for their rich flavor and tenderness, and are often considered to be among the best cuts of steak you can buy. In fact, some people consider Spencer steak to be even more flavorful than a traditional rib-eye steak, as it is one of the richest, most marbled cuts available.
If you're a fan of prime rib or boneless rib-eye steak, then chances are you'll love Spencer steak too. Whether you're grilling, broiling, or pan-searing, this cut of beef is sure to impress.
How to Cook a Spencer Steak
Now for the best part, cooking a Spencer Steak! Before we dive into the step-by-step guide, let's go over the materials needed:
- A Spencer Steak, at least 1.5 inches thick
- Salt and pepper (preferably kosher salt and freshly ground pepper)
- Olive oil
- Cast iron pan or heavy skillet
- Meat thermometer
- Wooden Cutting board
- Sharp knife
Prepare the steak (24 hours before cooking): Start by taking your Spencer Steak and pat the steak dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This will help to create a nice crust when cooking. Sprinkle a generous amount of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper evenly over both sides of the steak. Place the steak on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours. This will not only help to season the steak throughout the meat but also ensure a more even cooking.
Let the steak rest (1-2 hours before cooking):About 1-2 hours before cooking, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. This is a crucial step, as it will allow for a more even cooking and help you achieve your desired doneness.
Preheat the oven: While the steak is coming to room temperature, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. This high temperature will help to create a beautiful crust on your steak.
Prepare the cast iron pan:Place your cast iron pan or heavy skillet in the oven for about 10 minutes to heat it up. The hot pan will ensure a perfect sear on the steak.
Cook the steak: Once the steak has come to room temperature and your pan is heated, it's time to cook the steak. Remove the pan from the oven and place it on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add a small amount of olive oil to the pan, just enough to coat the bottom. Carefully place the steak in the skillet using tongs. You should hear a satisfying sizzle as the steak makes contact with the hot pan. Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes on one side, until a nice crust has formed. Flip the steak and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side, or until you achieve the desired crust.
Finish in the oven: Transfer the skillet with the steak to the preheated oven and cook for an additional 5-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your steak and your desired level of doneness. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the steak, aiming for 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium-rare or 140 degrees F for medium.
Let the steak rest: Once the steak has reached your desired temperature, remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the steak to a cutting board. This is the perfect time to let the steak rest. Resting is essential, as it allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring a juicy and tender bite. Let the steak rest for at least 5-10 minutes.
Slice and serve: After letting the steak rest, use a sharp knife to slice the steak against the grain into thin strips. This will make for a more tender and enjoyable eating experience. Finally, all that's left to do is dig in and savor the delicious Spencer Steak you've just cooked!
Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't be afraid to cook Spencer Steaks regularly to master your technique. Enjoying a perfectly cooked Spencer Steak is a simple and delicious way to enjoy this beautiful cut of meat. With these detailed instructions and the essential need-to-know tips, you'll be well on your way to becoming a steak-cooking expert.
- The thickness of your Spencer Steak will affect the cooking time. The thicker the steak, the longer it will take to cook. Make sure to adjust your cooking time as needed based on the thickness of your steak.
- To achieve an even crust, be sure not to overcrowd the skillet. If you're cooking multiple steaks, use a larger skillet or cook them in batches to ensure each steak has plenty of space.
- When searing the steak, pay attention to the amount of fat on the first side. A good sear can help to render the fat and add flavor to the finished dish.
- If you prefer a more well-done steak, you can cook it to a higher internal temperature, but be aware that the texture may become tougher as you cook it longer.
- Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your steak, as this will give you the most accurate indication of its doneness.
- Spencer Steak is a type of bone-in steak that requires some skill to cook perfectly. If you're new to cooking this cut, consider seeking guidance from a professional chef or knowledgeable friend.
- When cooking steak in the oven, use a sheet pan with a wire rack to keep the steak elevated. This helps to ensure an even cooking temperature and prevents the steak from sitting in its own juices.
- Spencer Steak is a popular choice on the west coast, and its unique flavor and tenderness make it a prized cut. Choose a high-quality, bone-in Spencer Steak to ensure the best results.
- To draw the moisture out of the steak and get a perfect crust, salt the steak generously before cooking. This is a need-to-know tip for any aspiring steak chef.
- Finish cooking the steak with a small amount of butter or aromatic herbs to add an extra layer of flavor and richness.
How to Buy Spencer Steak
When it comes to purchasing a Spencer Steak, there are several factors to consider in order to ensure you get the best quality meat for your meal. Here's a comprehensive guide to help you make the right choice:
- Source: Look for a reputable butcher, grocery store, or online retailer that offers high-quality, ethically raised beef. Spencer Steak is a premium cut, so it's essential to choose a provider that can deliver the best quality possible.
- Freshness: Check the date of packaging or ask the butcher when the meat was cut. Fresh Spencer Steak should have a bright, cherry-red color and should be free of any unpleasant odors.
- Marbling: Look for a steak with good marbling, which is the distribution of fat throughout the meat. Marbling is key to the flavor and tenderness of the steak. Ideally, choose a Spencer Steak with a USDA Prime or Choice grade, as these will have the best marbling.
- Thickness: As mentioned earlier, the thickness of your Spencer Steak affects the cooking time and the final result. Aim for a steak that's at least 1.5 inches thick, which will help ensure even cooking and a juicy, tender result.
- Bone-in vs. boneless: Spencer Steak is typically sold as a bone-in cut, which contributes to the flavor and helps retain moisture during cooking. Opt for a bone-in Spencer Steak whenever possible.
Is Spencer Steak the Same as a Ribeye Steak?
If you need to know if Spencer steak is the same as a ribeye steak, the answer is no. Spencer steak, also known as the scotch fillet or boneless ribeye, is cut from the same muscle group as a ribeye, but it is removed from a different area of the cow. The ins and outs of the two steaks differ in terms of their fat content and texture, with Spencer steak being slightly leaner and having a finer texture. While Spencer steak is a great alternative to ribeye steak, it is not exactly the same and may require different cooking techniques to achieve optimal flavor and tenderness.
In conclusion, cooking a perfect Spencer Steak takes a bit of practice, but with the right techniques, tools, and high-quality meat, you'll be well on your way to becoming a steak master.
From sourcing the best Spencer Steak to cooking it to perfection, this guide has provided you with all the information needed to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.
So fire up your oven or grill and enjoy the mouthwatering, tender, and flavorful Spencer Steak that awaits you!
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