urban cowboy steaks

2 to 4    |   
Prep Time:
5 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
4 minutes

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urban cowboy steaks

You never know where a conversation is going to go at a party. Saturday night I was talking with a friend’s husband — yelling, actually, over the awesome DJ — about how much I love cowboy steaks, the kind with a spicy-sweet-salty rub. But I haven’t been able to make them lately because my broiler has been on the fritz and I can’t do it outside because I live in an apartment with no area for that. Right there, in the middle of the buffet line, he gave me the best tip: use a panini press! Yesterday I did and was blown away. The press grills the steak on the top and bottom at once so it caramelizes the sugar in the rub and cooks the meat really fast. I had the juiciest steak I’ve ever eaten in 4 minutes flat. I’m calling these Urban Cowboy Steaks because they’re perfect for a city dweller like me. You can also use an outdoor grill (aka barbecue) or a ridged grill pan on the stove.


1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground coffee, optional2 bone-in ribeye steaks, cut about 1-inch thick (about 1-1/2 lbs total)


In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, paprika, ancho, salt, pepper, and optional coffee. Sprinkle rub over both sides of the steaks and gently pat it in. Cook right away or wrap the steaks back up in the butcher paper and chill for a few hours (be sure to let the steaks come to room temperature before cooking if you’ve chilled them).

Heat a panini press on high (be sure the feet on the machine are in the extended position so the surface doesn’t slant or the juices will run all over your counter.) Put a steak on the press and adjust the lid so it rests on the meat, but doesn’t squish it. Grill 4 minutes for medium rare or 5 minutes for thicker steaks (1-1/2- to 2-inch). If you want cross-hatch grill marks (as shown), turn steak over halfway through cooking and lower the lid again. Repeat with remaining steak.

cook the steaks on one side for 3 minutes; flip and continue to grill until cooked to your liking, 2 to 3 minutes more for medium rare. To test, press the meat with your finger: it should not be too soft or too firm, but just spring back.