Garlic Butter – Steak’s Not So Secret Crush

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Photo by Kjokkenutstyr Net licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Readers here at Steak University should know by now that when it comes to steak, the more fat the better. Fat imparts flavor, juiciness and, when allowed to cook properly, melts into the meat, creating fork tender cuts that will leave family and guests wondering where you are keeping your five-star steakhouse chef stashed away. It should be no surprise, then, that adding fat to your gourmet steak turns the flavor dial up even further.

Finishing a steak with a dollop of butter has been a traditional favorite technique of professional and home chefs alike. While traditional is fine and dandy, we think it’s time to shake things up just a bit. Infused, or flavored, butters will add the benefits of fattiness but will also impart their own seasoning, turning that traditional steak dinner into something extraordinary. While the options for additions to butter are endless, our favorite remains the go-to classic garlic. The slightly acidic and mildly spicy tang of garlic adds just the right contrast to the richness of buttery beef.

If we’ve piqued your interest, and enticed your appetite, well then read on. Our Steak University instructors have a host of garlic buttery goodness ready to compliment your next Chicago Steak Company cookout.

First Comes the Preparation

Before we get to mixing up our garlic butter preparation like the mad kitchen scientists we are, we first need to talk ingredient prep. Your butter will need to be soft to allow for ease of mixing. While there are a variety of ways to do this, nothing beats a little time and your kitchen counter for bringing butter to room temperature, malleable goodness. Heating butter in any other way risks melting portions, which will make your job harder when it comes to mixing things up.

Next, we’ll need to roast some garlic. Wait, you thought we were going to suggest some jar variety, pre-packaged roasted garlic concoction? Well we guess you could go that route, but why would you? Homemade roasted garlic is easy, inexpensive and much more fresh and flavorful than the bottled stuff that has been on store shelves for who knows how long. Roasted garlic also makes a perfect accompaniment on its own to your favorite cut of steak, or a variety of other dishes.

Instructions for Roasting Garlic

Take one whole garlic bunch, or head, intact, no removing the cloves. Next, slice the top off the whole shebang so that you have the cloves exposed. Repeat as necessary for desired number of heads of roasted garlic. We highly suggest roasting a few of these at once, because, trust us, they’re tasty. Place all the heads on a piece of foil large enough to wrap the ends up into a pouch.

Next, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of each head. Wrap the ends of the aluminum up lightly to form a shiny basket of garlicky goodness and then throw the whole thing in the oven at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes. You’ll know your roasted nuggets are done when they are lightly brown and soft to the touch.

Our Standby Favorite Garlic Butter Recipe

Now that we’ve gotten the prep out of the way, let’s talk garlic butter recipes.

What you’ll need:

  • One stick of butter, softened to room temperature or just slightly below
  • One medium sized head of roasted garlic (preparation instructions above)
  • Coarse ground salt to taste
  • Fresh herbs of your choice (we prefer chives, but bay, basil or even mint will work in a pinch)

The process:
Assembling the ingredients is easy for this recipe. Even Eugene in accounting could do this and we’re pretty sure his definition of cooking is taking the leftovers out of the take-out box for reheating in a microwave.
Simply combine your butter, salt, roasted garlic and herbs in a small bowl and whisk. A hand blender lends itself particularly well to this procedure, but if you don’t have one handy, no worries. A little good old fashioned manual labor will work just fine. They key is even distribution of ingredients. Once everything is combined, refrigerate to a firm consistency and store cooled for up to six months. Trust us though, it won’t last nearly that long.

There’s really no way to go wrong when it comes to mixing up a great garlic butter topping, marinade or schmear…but we think our recipe is pretty darn awesome. Using the roasted garlic adds a sweetness to the normally acidic and slightly astringent qualities of raw garlic. Sun dried tomatoes, a mix of fresh herbs, or even lemon zest create the same contrast in flavor profiles with the creamy profile of whipped butter. Feel free to experiment, or message us with your favorite recipes. After all, there is no wrong way to compliment the amazing award winning, aged beef flavor profile of a Chicago Steak Company Steak.