How to Cook Steaks at Home From Knife (Chef John Tesar Will Help)

Yes, you can cook a Knife steak, too.
Yes, you can cook a Knife steak, too. Philip Kingston
Dating in the time of COVID-19 is tricky. Unless you’re using Zoom in a very creepy way, we know you single readers out there have your quarantine boo who’s still allowed to come over. Or maybe you even wound up cohabitating a bit ahead of schedule. Good luck getting your person to go home when this is over.

This is a food column, not a dating one, and I’m not calling Judge Jenkins on you. I’m here to help you with a problem we all face when our favorite restaurants are closed: Your date DOES NOT want fast food on Friday night.

And chef John Tesar was there to help me last Friday with a massive hunk of dry-aged, bone-in rib-eye from 44 Farms.

Tesar has long made what I consider to be the best steak in town — the 240-day, dry-aged rib-eye at Knife, his restaurant in the Highland Hotel (there’s another location in Plano). He’s now offering those steaks for you to cook at home: They’re from his own private stash, but aged with the same expertise he brings to, er, brought to restaurant dining.

click to enlarge The size may be intimidating, but the process is fairly simple. - PHILIP KINGSTON
The size may be intimidating, but the process is fairly simple.
Philip Kingston
And here’s the lede I buried in favor of my Zoom sex joke: $25 per pound. TWENTY FIVE BUCKS A POUND! That’s the same as Central Market is charging for rib-eye that 1) isn’t aged by anyone, let alone John Tesar, 2) is off the bone and 3) comes from some anonymous producer, not one of the best ranches in operation.

“Now is not the time for snobbery or gouging,” Tesar says. “I don’t believe anything coming out of the feds. I do believe Bill Gates, and I think we’re in this for 10 to 12 weeks.” 

But wait, John, aren’t I just going to go home and screw up this perfect steak?

“No, it’s super easy. Season it with some salt and pepper and cook it in olive oil on cast iron for 5 to 6 minutes a side to get a really good medium-rare. Or you can finish it in the oven for a medium if you’re that person,” he says.

He’s also making a YouTube video, and says you can also call him and he’ll talk you through it. A steak for $25 (or $50 for the huge one I had) AND professional instruction?! Seems too good to be true, but sure enough, I called him and he talked me through it.

For those of you who are used to grilling steaks, you ought to give the traditional French technique a shot. It’s extremely easy and controllable; you just need plenty of ventilation.

“I don’t prefer to grill it. Searing it gives it that wonderful Maillard reaction,” Tesar says. “If you want to grill it, this meat has the integrity for that.”

click to enlarge Cast iron is the way to go. - PHILIP KINGSTON
Cast iron is the way to go.
Philip Kingston
I cook a lot, but I am in no way a professional. This was easy. You don’t really need any confidence in the kitchen to pull off what comes out tasting just like it does, er, did at Knife. I hit a nice medium-rare-plus (I am that person), and the dry aging of the meat makes the flavor so much deeper and more complex than unaged steak.

I turned the leftovers into steak and eggs the next morning, and the meat was so rich, we didn’t get through much of it.

click to enlarge A Friday night dinner spread, with shelter in place: steak from Knife, steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, plus garlic noodles from Mot Hai Ba. - PHILIP KINGSTON
A Friday night dinner spread, with shelter in place: steak from Knife, steamed broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, plus garlic noodles from Mot Hai Ba.
Philip Kingston
Tesar is offering steaks for a minimum $100 order; so you’re going to need to put some in the freezer unless you stockpiled Lipitor before the stay-at-home orders.

Order by messaging him on Facebook or emailing him. He’s cutting Monday, Wednesday and Friday for pickup at Knife Dallas, 5300 E. Mockingbird Lane. Payment can be made by credit card with a service fee or through Zelle.

You can also order from Knife Plano’s Butcher Shop for pickup at Willowbend, but the price is higher there.

We’re all learning new ways to relate to each other in the age of COVID-19. Sublime steak helps.
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