The Secrets to a Flawless Grilled Rib Eye

The Ox cookbook will help you make the perfect steak.

By Benjamin Tepler March 1, 2016 Published in the March 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Evan Sung

When Ox opened in the spring of 2012, the city’s eaters gravitated to its burning hearth like moths to a flame. Chef-owners Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton reinvented the steak house—with a love for the Argentine parrilla grill and ash-encrusted Northwest produce. Four years later, the Dentons published their first cookbook, Around the Fire, with all the restaurant’s greatest hits: clam chowder with smoked marrow bone; tripe and octopus stew; and, of course, the surprisingly simple secrets to their consummate rib eye, a rosy-rare monolith, sliced thick and larded with herbed grill drippings. Dust off the Weber—or better yet, build your own red-hot pyre—and get searing.

How to Grill the Perfect Rib Eye

Rub a 2¼ lb bone-in rib eye with 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil and season lightly with kosher salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 2 (or up to 24) hours, and then remove and let rest 1 hour before cooking. Heat a grill to medium-high. Season the rib eye again with kosher salt and pepper. Grill on one side until well caramelized, 5 to 8 minutes. Flip the steak and repeat on the other side for rare doneness, basting occasionally with Black Gold*. For each additional doneness level (medium rare to medium), cook each side an additional 3 minutes. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 8 minutes before slicing. Brush with a tablespoon of Black Gold and sprinkle with sea salt.

*Black Gold 
Makes 1½ cups

Melt 1½ cups rendered fat, such that from bacon, beef, lard, or duck, or use butter or olive oil (or any combination of fats) in a small pot over low heat. Add 8 to 10 sprigs fresh herbs (such as basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, or parsley), 2 whole green onions, 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise, and ½ lemon. Cook until the herbs begin to wilt, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 15 minutes more. If storing, strain Black Gold and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Grill Masters 

Beyond red meat, Ox’s grilling repertoire includes the following oddities: cantaloupe, halved and stuffed with hand-stretched mozzarella curds, stuck directly into the coals of a wood-burning furnace and served as a blackened, smoky appetizer; oysters, shucked, topped with a dollop of chimichurri mayonnaise and grated Manchego cheese; halibut tails drizzled with toasted garlic–lemon oil and consumed right off the bone.


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