Most steak cuts are identified by the place on the steer from which they're cut. The terms prime rib, rib-eye and filet mignon all hint at their origins in a specific body part of the beef. Delmonico steaks, instead, are named after the famous New York steakhouse Delmonico's. The name originally didn't denote a specific body-part origin. But today, a Delmonico is essentially the prime rib without the rib — or not.
How to Cook a Delmonico Steak Cut
Because the Delmonico doesn't come from a specific place on the steer and thus doesn't have to be cooked in a certain manner, butchers can get creative in what they package as a Delmonico steak. The only guideline is that the steak must be thick-cut and well-marbled for tenderness. Most diners believe that it's cut from the rib or short loin, but some "Delmonico steaks" are actually chuck steak, disguised as its more expensive cousin.
It's up to you to determine if the piece of steak in the meat case resembles the Delmonico steak you savored at your favorite steakhouse. Buying your steak from a reputable butcher puts you closer to the truth and paves the way to a sensational steak sensation.
All meat, especially steak, should be removed from its packaging, dried with a paper towel and brought to room temperature before cooking. The only seasoning you'll need prior to cooking is a sprinkling of Kosher salt.
Broiled Delmonico Steak
Total Time: 30 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 2
- 1 Delmonico or rib-eye steak, 1 1/2-inches thick
- Kosher salt for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Heat the broiler on the oven.
- On a grill pan fitted with a rack, place the seasoned steak 2–3 inches below the broiler coils.
- For medium-rare, broil one side for 7 minutes. Turn the steak over and broil for 5 more minutes. The internal temperature should reach 140F for medium-rare.
- Remove the steak from the broiler and let it sit on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter.
- Slice the steak vertically against the grain and pour the melted butter over the slices.
- Season with salt before serving.
Testing for Doneness by Touch
When a meat thermometer isn't available (and who wants to poke a hole in a steak and release some of that juicy flavor?), the method most chefs use is a simple finger test. Here's how to do it:
- Relax your hand.
- Using the fleshy area at the base of your thumb as your base "thermometer," press the index finger of your other hand into the flesh. This is what raw steak feels like.
- For contrast, press your thumb and little finger together and feel the fleshy area. It should feel similar to meat well-done.
- For medium doneness, press your ring finger and thumb together. The flesh gives a little.
- Your middle finger pressed against the thumb yields a semi-soft cushion that springs back gently. You've cooked your steak medium-rare.
- And finally, your index finger and thumb pressed together indicate a fleshy area that is very springy, indicating a rare cooked steak.
Skillet-Seared Delmonico Steak With Herbed-Butter Sauce
Total Time: 70 minutes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Serves: 2
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- In a medium bowl, mix the softened butter with the garlic and herbs.
- Refrigerate until needed, at least one hour.
- After the steak is removed from the skillet, melt savory butter in the same skillet.
- Slice steak; then drizzle the herbed butter over it just before serving.
Pan-Seared and Oven-Finished Delmonico Steak
- Delmonico steak, at least 1 1/2-inches thick
- Kosher salt
- Canola oil
- Herbed butter
- Heat oven to broil.
- Generously salt steak before cooking.
- In a medium skillet, preferably cast iron, drizzle a little canola oil and heat until the oil smokes.
- Place steak in center of skillet and sear for 4–6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steak.
- Remove steak from skillet and add herbed butter until it melts.
- Return steak to skillet, seared side-up.
- Broil in oven for 4–6 minutes for medium-rare.
- Spoon butter over steak before taking it out of the oven.
- Remove steak from skillet and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Pour the skillet butter over the steak and serve.
Reverse-Seared Delmonico Steak
The opposite of searing and oven finishing a steak, a reverse sear is just that — first the oven, then the sear. What you'll get is a perfectly prepared steak every time.
Total Time: | 70 minutes for medium-rare | Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 2
- Delmonico steak, at least 1 1/2-inches thick
- Kosher salt
- Herbed butter (see recipe above)
- Heat the oven to 275F.
- Salt a room-temperature steak and place on a rack that sits above a roasting pan covered generously with aluminum foil. Make sure there is enough foil to wrap around the steak after it comes out of the oven.
- Place the steak in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 125F — about 40 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and enclose the steak with the foil. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat a skillet, preferably cast iron, until it's very hot.
- Sear the steak on one side for 1 minute. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Remove the steak and place it on a cutting board.
- Melt butter in skillet; then return the steak, seared side-up, to the skillet and sear for 1 more minute.
- Let steak sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Drizzle pan butter over steak before serving.
Delmonico Steak Marinade
If simple sauteed mushrooms or grilled onions don't cut it as accompaniment to your Delmonico steak, a marinade may be your answer. Usually used to tenderize a tougher cut of meat, marinades also enhance the taste of the steak, especially if you serve it on the well-done side.
Delmonico's Steakhouse, the oldest steakhouse in America and the originator of the Delmonico steak, offers a recipe you can easily recreate at home. While they don't marinate their steaks, they do offer the sauce for sale and recommend using it on a New York strip steak. But any dense cut of meat, poultry or fish benefits from this herb-centric marinade.
Total Time: 2–10 hours | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Serves: 1 large steak
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 3 tablespoons thyme, chopped (Use the stems. They impart loads of flavor.)
- 3 tablespoons oregano, chopped
- 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- Handful of baby basil leaves
- In a glass bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
- Pour the marinade over the room-temperature steak.
- Place in a refrigerator and let marinate for 2–10 hours.
- Remove steak from marinade and grill for 7 minutes on one side, and 5 minutes on the other for medium-rare.
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