Dad Appreciation: Steak with Brown Butter Red Wine Sauce

Happy Father’s Day!

I worked pretty hard on some fancy writing for my Mother’s Day post, but for the guys it’s going to be all meat and potatoes. Well, just meat, actually. After all, Father’s Day is a time to put aside all those reasons we should be reducing our meat consumption, and just make sure that special guy gets something AWESOME.

Brown Butter Steak Sauce

How To Clarify Butter

Butter by itself can’t withstand high temperatures, but clarifying the butter gives it a high smoke point. Use a rubber spatula to hold back all but the clear portion for this early step.

So I’ve taken the basic concept from my Brown Butter Popcorn recipe, and developed a stove-top steak method with a quick, flavorful pan sauce. Of course, if dad really wants to grill outside, by all means fire up “the barbie.” But a few years ago I got Portland’s top steakhouse chefs to admit that a very hot pan can make just as good of a steak as a grill or broiler. The bonus is that the browned bits of meat left on the pan (called fond), dissolve into a great sauce to make every bite very rich and juicy.

To all the dads out there, know that you are respected, appreciated, and a crucial part of a happy healthy family. Happy Father’s Day!!!

OK, enough words, it’s time for some meat.

Recipe: Steak with Brown Butter Red Wine Sauce


Steak With Brown Butter Pan Sauce

Even lean steaks taste great with this sauce, since it makes them extra juicy without needing extra fat.

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 8-ounce steaks of 1″ thickness, such as rib eye, sirloin, strip, or flat iron
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 ounces crumbled quality blue cheese such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or Maytag


  1. Melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed skillet (not non-stick). Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally to check color, until the butter foams and then brown particles form and turn a medium caramel brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the browned butter into a heat-proof pitcher, using a rubber spatula to scrape the pan clean.
  2. Slowly pour the clear part of the butter back into the pan (this is “clarified butter”), using the rubber spatula to hold back the foam on the top (see photo), and allowing the browned bits to remain at the bottom of the pitcher, as this will be added later to the sauce.
  3. Pat the steaks dry, and season liberally on both sides with salt and fresh ground pepper. NOTE: For one-inch steaks there’s no need to let them come to room temperature. In fact cold is better, to ensure they develop a good crust before the interior overcooks.
  4. Turn on the fan and heat the skillet on high, until the clarified butter just begins to smoke. Add the steaks to the pan, cover with a splatter guard or lid, and cook for exactly two minutes.
  5. Flip the steaks and reduce heat to medium high. At this point cook 1 minute for rare, 2 minutes for medium-rare, or 3 minutes for medium/medium-well.
  6. Turn off the heat, move the steaks to a platter, cover them with aluminum foil and a towel, and allow them to rest while preparing the pan sauce.
  7. Discard any fat remaining in the pan, but do not scrape it clean or remove the browned bits from the bottom. While the pan is still fairly hot, carefully add in the chicken stock or broth, red wine, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and most importantly the brown butter which had been set aside. Whisk these all together, scraping the bottom of the pan to dissolve the browned bits into the liquid. Add salt to taste.
  8. Serve the steaks topped with the sauce and crumbled blue cheese. NOTE: Be sure to stir the sauce before spooning or pouring it over the steaks, as the brown butter portion will settle to the bottom.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Microformatting by hRecipe.

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Posted in Dinner, Family, Fast, High Heat, Recipes, Techniques, Thanks
8 comments on “Dad Appreciation: Steak with Brown Butter Red Wine Sauce
  1. This looks promising!! 🙂 Happy Father’s Day weekend Ryan. You’re awesome.

  2. Kevin Mapes says:

    Sounds good. I cooked you brown butter popcorn over a Coleman stove while camping last weekend. So good! I even did a batch with browned butter with caramelized sugar. Um um um um um.

    • Avatar photo Ryan says:

      Very nice Kev. So it appears that the BB Popcorn recipe is spawning other recipes left and right, caramel corn, steak… I feel like I should be saying Happy Father’s Day to that recipe. And to you, my friend.

  3. Now that is a meal any father would happily gobble up on Father’s Day. Brown butter truly makes everything better.

    • Avatar photo Ryan says:

      Without a doubt. I’m having trouble of thinking of anything at all which wouldn’t be made better by a little brown butter… Thanks Dara!

  4. Traci Buxton says:

    The harmony of tangy, salty cheese and a deep, rich butter sauce slathered over such a meaty delight should make any Dad’s heart sing at a summer barbecue. Hats off for such a fabulous recipe!

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