Perfect Pepper-crusted Steaks

I’m not a food blog writer, but I like to cook and love to eat, so I’m gonna go out on a limb here and post my recipe for very, very nice steaks with a balsamic and port reduction. This turned out awesome, and I’d say it’s one of the best steaks I’ve ever had (that NY Strip at Morton’s has got some competition!)


  • Center-cut beef tenderloin, sliced into 2 inch steaks (or some fillet mignon, though it works out cheaper to buy the tenderloin)
  • Decent olive oil
  • Whole pepper corns (about 1/3 cup, or enough to make a good crust on the steaks)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 c. Port wine
  • 1/2 c. Balsamic vinegar
  • Thyme
  • Butter

Rub the steaks generously with Kosher salt, and set aside. The trick is to let the steaks come up to room temprature with the salt on them. Preheat the oven to 475*. In a mortar and pestle, coarsely grind the pepper, and then sauté in a skillet with a about a tablespoon of olive oil until fragrant. The pepper smells like chocolate and coffee to me, it’s very nice! Put the pepper mixture aside to cool down. When the steak and pepper are both near room temperature, coat each steak in the peppercorn and oil mixture.

Sear the steaks in a heavy, oven-safe pan over medium-high heat for about 1-2 mins per side. Put the steaks, pan and all into the oven to finish cooking. I like medium-rare, and that took about 6 minutes (I use the poke method to check doneness- med-rare should be soft, but not ‘mushy’). Put the cooked steaks on a rack in a cookie sheet and tent with foil. Don’t touch those guys for at least 10 minutes, or you’ll regret it. They need to rest in order to be tender and juicy, if you can’t wait, they’ll be tough.

While the steak is resting, make the sauce, which is super easy. Put the port and balsamic in a pan and bring to a boil. Reduce until it is a light syrupy consistence (about half the volume- it will lightly coat the back of a spoon). Toss in the fresh thyme, and add a generous pad or two (or three) of butter to thicken (and richen) the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, thinly slice the steaks against the grain and pour some of the port reduction over it. Yum.


6 responses to “Perfect Pepper-crusted Steaks

  1. Looks delicious! Only thing I can figure that’s missing is something green on the plate for contrast. Sounds simply yummy.

    ps: Happy Birthday


  2. Yeah, I know! I had planned on having salad and bread, but didn’t realize we had already eaten the greens I thought I had. Frozen corn is all we had…go figure!

  3. Your grandpa says this had better be good! I just spent $40 on a pan that can go into the oven, $15 for the steak and $10 for the wine. I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. We wanted to fix it tonight because we’re having guests for dinner Thursday and thought it sounded good to serve them. We’re having tossed salad, sauteed mushrooms and baked potatoes with it. Sound good?
    Here’s hoping,

  4. We liked it, but it was a little too sweet for us so we’re going to try burgundy instead of port when we fix it tomorrow night. Your grandpa almost ruined my new $40 Cuisinart pan on the first try. He’s been working all morning getting it clean. LOL

  5. You’re lucky!! I’m going to let you live!! We substituted the port with burgundy, and it turned out perfect. And I didn’t almost ruin the pan this time either. Good one!! Our friends said to tell you kudos!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s