Steak Toppers, Good Made GREAT!

Apr 2, 2023

Why are steak houses SO popular?

Is it the quality of the meat? The “secret” way they grill or broil their steaks?

Is it the service? The atmosphere? The HUGE baked potatoes?

While all of those may be true to some extent, one of the BEST things steak houses really excel at, is how they finish their steaks and chops.

And it’s something very few people do when they grill a steak at home.

And it makes ALL the difference.

Steak Toppers, turn a good steak,…into a great one!

Exactly what IS a Steak Topper?

You likely won’t find the term “steak topper” on a menu.

Sometimes, they’re within the description of the steak, or at the bottom of the menu under “add-ons” or extras.

But they’re there.

Tips for Toppers

The most common steak topper is probably sauteed mushrooms. They’re great.

If you’re thinking of making them for your steaks, we recommend making them extra special by first sauteing a bit of freshly chopped garlic and green onion in a tablespoon or two of butter, over medium high heat.

Then, add your mushrooms, sliced ¼” thick.

They’ll likely get soft and juicy but don’t stop now. Let all the juices bubble off then continue to cook over medium heat until you get a bit of caramelization on those mushrooms.

Finish with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper and some salt and you’re good to go!

Butter is another simple but delicious topper. But not just plain ole butter.

The Chefs call it Compound Butter.

Start with stick of salted butter. Let it soften until you can mash it in a small bowl with a fork.

To 1 stick of butter, add 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped tarragon or basil, then a tablespoon of chopped shallots, a teaspoon of minced garlic, nice teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and finally, a pinch of ground black pepper.

Put a dollop of this flavored butter over a grilled steak and it will melt into a juicy sauce you’ll absolutely love.

There are dozens of different things you can add to a stick of softened butter. Including some of the minced, left-over sauteed mushrooms from the suggestion above to make a mushroom butter.

Who doesn’t love onion rings?

From the classic, deep fried onion rings served with your favorite burger to the blooming onion flower served as an appetizer at steak houses, fried onions are an all-time favorite accompaniment to steaks.

For a crispy “onion nest” steak topper, start with a medium size white onion, peel, cut in half then shave it finely into paper thin whisps.

Place these thin sliced in milk or better yet, buttermilk and let soak an hour or so.

Next, place a cup of all-purpose flour in a medium size bowl.

Stir in 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1 teaspoon granulated or powdered garlic.

Heat about 2 cups of vegetable oil or canola oil in a medium size sauce pan to 350 F.

Lift the soaked onions from the milk solution and shake of the excess. Toss in the flour mixture then carefully add to the hot oil. (Be careful, the hot oil will bubble up.)

Fry to a crispy golden brown, while carefully turning the onions over to brown them evenly.

Remove the onions with a strainer or slotted spoon, salt lightly, then allow them to rest on a piece of absorbent paper towel for a moment.

Pile them high on your grilled steak for a dramatic and delicious topper!

What about a quick sauce?

Chefs have the staff and the time to make batches of great sauces for the hundreds of steaks they serve every week.

How can you make a great steak sauce for the 2, 3 or 4 steaks you are planning on grilling?

We’ll offer you 2 good choices.

  1. Use mayonnaise as your base, let’s say ¼ cup. To that, add a little freshly chopped garlic, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, perhaps a teaspoon of minced fresh rosemary and lastly, a dash of Worcestershire or A1 sauce for an accent. It’s a form of a sauce called an Aioli. Dollop or brush this sauce on your finished steak and you’ll never look at your jar of your mayonnaise the same way again.
  2. Pan sauces are a classic way many Chefs make sauces for their steaks IF, they are pan-searing their steaks in a pan to begin with.

The resulting glaze on the bottom of the pan, once deglazed with some liquid, turns into one heck of an amazing sauce.

Here’s a simple recipe to try and it’s for the French classic, Steak au Poivre (Steak with Pepper). It’s often made tableside. This recipe would be enough for about 2 average size steaks.

Begin by coating your raw steaks in coarsely cracked black pepper.

Add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter with a drizzle of olive oil to a non-stick fry pan of appropriate size over medium, to medium-high heat.

Pan-sear the steak/s on both sides to your preferred doneness, then remove them to a holding plate and keep warm by tenting them with foil.

Drain off any excess oil, then add another tablespoon of fresh butter along with a tablespoon or two of chopped shallots, a cloves worth of chopped garlic and sauté over medium heat for 1 minute.

Next, deglaze the pan with a couple tablespoons of brandy or cognac and simmer to reduce that, to a syrup.

Add 1 cup of heavy cream and a tablespoon of smooth Dijon mustard.

Bring to a simmer while whisking and cook JUST until it thickens slightly. If will happen rather fast.

Plate your steaks then pour this delicious sauce over them to make one of the most iconic steaks.

But wait! There’s MORE as the announcers often say.

These are just a few of the dozens of amazing steak toppers we have in store for you.

Want more?

Send us your comments on our website’s Contact Form to let us know you’re enjoying these steak topping ideas and we’ll be sure to schedule more inspiring ideas and recipes.

Also, be sure to sign up to receive Cattleman’s regularly scheduled emails to keep you up to date on topics like this and many more “meaty” subjects!

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