Hacking the Ribeye Cap Steak from Salt & Char

Rib Cap Plated

Ribeye Cap Steak, plated, with compound butter

I have long been fascinated by the ribeye cap steak at Salt & Char, the high end steakhouse in downtown Saratoga Springs, NY. When Bobby Flay proclaimed it the “best thing I ever ate” on a recent Cooking Channel show, I decided it was time to try making this dish at home. Luckily, it was holiday season and I was able to get a nice deal on a large-end half rib roast at a local market.

Rib Roast Cap On

Rib roast with rib cap on (at right)

The rib cap is a layer of tender, marbled flesh on the outside of the roast, separated from the rib eye by a layer of fat. It’s hard to find at retail because, as my butcher explained, you have to compromise the rest of the roast to harvest it. Luckily I had some compliant diners who were willing to participate in my experiment.

Rib Roast Cap Off

Now the rib cap has been removed and is ready to butterfly, truss and slice.

My rib cap weighed 8 ounces when removed. (Salt & Char advertises theirs as 9 oz. which means they get two servings from a full prime rib. Maybe it comes from a larger cow, or includes more of the interior fat.) Following the technique demonstrated by Chef Braden Reardon on the TV show I butterflied and trussed it, then cut across the roll to create 4 appetizer steaks. I followed the Salt & Char saucing ingredient list to make a compound butter out of beurre noisette (clarified from a 4 oz stick), 1 t chopped fresh rosemary, ¼ c roasted garlic cloves, ¼ c chopped red onion and a bit of salt and pepper. This was pureed with an immersion blender and allowed to harden slightly.

Rib Caps Aged

Mini rib caps ready to cook, after a couple days of refrigerator aging.

The steaks themselves I cooked off in a very hot cast iron skillet with Kosher salt. 2 minutes per side and 5 minutes resting time produced a nice medium rare. The result was very popular: tender with lots of beefy flavor. It probably wasn’t as good as Salt & Char’s dish, but it also wasn’t $78, which they charge for the 9 oz rib cap made with Wagyu beef.

And as to the rest of the rib roast, the absence of the rib cap made no difference in presentation or accceptance. It looked and ate like a standard prime rib roast. So, no reason not to try this yourself. Just be sure to leave a full layer of fat on the exterior of the roast so you won’t lose that lovely crispy crust.

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2 Responses to Hacking the Ribeye Cap Steak from Salt & Char

  1. enough already! says:

    Mmmmm….that is the tastiest part of the roast, in my opinion, even though it may not be a nice med. rare like the rest of it. I always attack that part first when ordering prime rib.

    • Burnt My Fingers says:

      I always order the baseball cut, so miss out on the ribeye cap. In my professional carving days, though, we’d cook at a very high temp with convection so the ribeye cap stayed medium rare. It tends to detach from the rest of the slice of meat, due to the layer of fat beneath, so it’s easy to enjoy by itself.

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