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Reverse Sear Cowboy Steak

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Prepare your tastebuds for the ultimate beef experience!  This Reverse Sear Cowboy Steak is an impressive cut of beef.  The thick, bone-in hunk of beef is roasted low and slow in the oven to a medium-rare.  Then, it is seared on a hot skillet and a garlic-herb butter is spooned over the top to give it that rich, flavorful crust!  

This extra-thick ribeye steak is one of our favorite cuts of beef.  It is the perfect date-night romantic dinner for two or for a special event serving up to four.   

If you like this recipe, you will love our sous vide Tomahawk steak.

Roasted cowboy steak with garlic herb butter

What is a Reverse Sear?

The reverse searing method is a gamechanger, especially for large cuts of meat. You start by slowly roasting your ribeye in the oven. Before it reaches your desired temperature, you remove it from the oven, let it rest, then brush with some oil.

Sear it in a hot cast-iron skillet to achieve a perfect, flavorful crust. A reverse sear gives you a little more control over the doneness of your steak. It cooks evenly throughout while allowing a rich crust. You won’t be disappointed!

sliced cowboy steak

Ingredients Needed for Cowboy Steak:

For the perfect reverse sear cowboy steak, all you need are:

  • Bone-in ribeye steak. A ribeye steak is cut from the same section as a prime rib roast. It is a great way to get that great cut of meat in a smaller portion.
  • Coarse salt. Even a great cut of meat needs to have a little salt to bring out all the flavors.
  • Canola oil. You want to use an oil with a high smoke point for this recipe. The smoke point in canola oil is 400°F.

To make a creamy and flavorful garlic-herb butter, grab:

  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh rosemary
Ingredient list for cowboy steak recipe

How to Make Reverse Sear Cowboy Steak

To make a garlic-herb compound butter:

It is a time-saver to stir up this compound butter in advance. You will be glad you did! ?

  1. Combine butter, minced garlic, chopped thyme, and chopped rosemary. Mix well.
  2. Scrape the butter onto a piece of parchment paper. Shape into a log. Twist the ends.
  3. Refrigerate until firm.
  4. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature while the steak roasts.

Reverse searing a cowboy steak is simple! Here are the basic steps.

  1. Allow your steak to sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Pat the steak dry and season it with salt.
  3. Roast the steak on a wire rack to your desired doneness (see the temperature chart below).
  4. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Brush both sides of the steak with vegetable oil.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Sear the steak in a HOT skillet for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes on one side. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  8. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add a slice of garlic-herb butter to the hot skillet. Crack some black pepper on top. Baste the steak with the melted butter.
  9. Transfer the steak to a cutting board. Slice and serve!

Serve this steak with our blue cheese steak sauce or peppercorn sauce.

Process photos of compound butter

Steak Doneness Temperature Chart

Tips for recipe success

For the perfect reverse sear cowboy steaks, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure you let the steak sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours for evenly cooked steak. If you skip this step, you’ll end up with an overly rare middle or overcooked edges.
  • Add a probe meat thermometer into the side of your steak before you roast it and set the temperature to a few degrees less than your desired doneness. This will prevent you from accidentally overcooking your steak.
  • Remember that when the steak rests before searing, it will continue cooking. It will also continue to cook when you sear it. Keep these additional steps in mind to avoid overcooking the steak when roasting in the oven.
  • When you sear the steaks, expect a lot of smoke. Make sure your windows are open and your vent is turned on to avoid setting off your smoke alarm.
  • Pull your steak from the oven at 5-10°F lower than your desired doneness temperature as it will continue to cook during basting and resting.

For the best results, use an instant-read meat thermometer and check the meat intermittently or use a leave-in meat thermometer so you don’t have to open the oven frequently. The above links are affiliate links from ThermoWorks. They make the best thermometers we have used.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

To what temperature should the steak be cooked?

The final temperature should be 135°F for a medium-rare steak or 125°F for a rare steak.

What cut of meat is a cowboy steak?

A “Cowboy Steak” is a bone-in ribeye. This steak is cut from the same area as a prime rib roast. It’s basically like having a thick slice of prime rib. It has beautiful marbling and a thick bone guaranteeing juicy, tender, and flavorful meat.

Can you reverse sear other cuts of steak?

Yes! You can absolutely reverse sear any cut of steak. You’ll need to adjust cooking time, especially if the cut is boneless and smaller in size.

Close up view of cowboy steak on cutting board

How long does compound butter last?

The garlic-herb compound butter will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container or tightly wrapped parchment. You can make the compound butter in advance if needed.

The garlic-herb butter is great on various roasted, grilled, and seared meats and vegetables. You can also add it to rice or any cooked grains and legumes. Spread it on a piece of bread. It’s incredibly versatile!

How long can you keep cooked steak?

While reverse sear cowboy steak is best enjoyed fresh, if you have leftovers, do not let them go to waste! Wrap the leftover slices tightly in plastic and an airtight container. If you have a vacuum sealer, this is the perfect opportunity to bust it out. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within 3 days.

Overhead view of plated cowboy steak with roasted fingerling potatoes, leek slices and butternut squash,


  • Steak and Lobster: This is a steakhouse classic that is an easy make-at-home special dinner for two! A perfectly cooked, Eye of the Ribeye Steak and sweet succulent baby lobster tails with garlic butter sauce, fresh horseradish aioli and lemon wedges.
  • Ribeye Steak in the Oven: This is how to cook a ribeye steak and have an amazing steak dinner! A quick sear on the stovetop, 5 minutes in a hot oven; then finished on the stovetop with a basting of buttery pan juices.
  • Sous Vide Bison Ribeye Steak with Peppercorn Sauce: You will get a perfectly cooked steak every time with a sous vide cooker. This bison ribeye steak is tender, flavorful and juicy. The creamy peppercorn sauce is the perfect finish!

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Close up view of cowboy steak on cutting board

Reverse Sear Cowboy Steak

A slow-roasted, juicy Reverse Sear Cowboy Steak is perfectly cooked to medium-rare with a rich, flavorful crust. The tender steak is finished with a basting of garlic herb butter to add extra richness!
5 from 12 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 2 -4 Servings
Calories: 529kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


The Steak:

  • 1 ribeye steak bone-in 2-½ pounds, 2-½-3 inches thick
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil

To Make the Garlic-Herb Butter

  • 8 ounces butter softened
  • 3 garlic cloves grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary


For the Steak:

  • Remove the steak from the refrigerator, unwrap it and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour.  In the meantime prepare the garlic-herb butter:

For the Garlic-Herb Butter:

  • This compound butter can be made days in advance and refrigerated until needed. 
  • In a small dish, add the butter, garlic, thyme, and rosemary.  Using a spatula, combine the ingredients well.  Scrape the butter onto a small piece of parchment paper and shape it into a log.  Roll the log with the parchment paper and twist the ends.  Refrigerate until firm.  Remove from the refrigerator to come to room temperature while the steak is roasting.

To Cook the Steak:

  • Preheat the oven to 225° and place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet and coat with cooking spray. 
  • Pat the steak with a paper towel to remove surface moisture and season the entire surface generously with salt.  Do not add black pepper at this time.  
  • Add a probe meat thermometer into the side of the steak extending to the center of the steak. Set the temperature readings according to your taste preference.  (See Notes)
  • Tip:  Remove the garlic-herb butter from the refrigerator and allow it to soften at room temperature while the steak is roasting.
  • Place the steak on the prepared wire rack and transfer the baking sheet to the oven.  Roast the steak until the internal temperature reaches 120°F (for rare) or 125°F (for medium rare).  Cook time will be about 50-70 minutes.  Remove the steak from the oven, leave the temperature probe in place and transfer to a plate, tent with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.  The temperature will continue to increase with the carry over heat during the rest time.
  • Remove the temperature probe from the steak.  Brush both sides and the edge of the steak with a coat of vegetable oil.  Do not use olive oil as it will burn at high heat.
  • Heat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. (Yes! turn on your fan/vent) 
  • Place the steak on the hot skillet. Sear the steak for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes getting a rich crust; then, using tongs, flip it and sear the other side for 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.  
  • Hold the steak on edge with the tongs and sear the edge to get that good crust.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and add a thick slice of the garlic-herb butter along one side of the skillet.  As the butter melts, spoon it over the steak and sprinkle with black pepper.  Turn the steak over and repeat with basting the other side of the steak and sprinkle with black pepper.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board and slice the steak into serving portions.  


  • The garlic herb butter can be made in advance. 
  • Turn on the stove fan/vent and open the doors as the high heat during searing creates smoke that will set off your smoke alarm 
  • Do not add the black pepper until the final searing or the pepper will burn
  • The following beef temperature chart reflects the FINAL doneness temperatures.  Beef should be pulled from the heat 5-10°F lower than the desired doneness temperature as the beef will continue to cook during the carry-over rest time.
  • Rare                  120-130°F
  • Medium Rare     130-135°F
  • Medium             135-140°F
  • Medium Well      145-155°F
  • Well Done          155°F and up


Serving: 1 | Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 906mg

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Recipe Rating

camille wilson

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Hey, is it to be cooked at 225 degrees fahrenheit? Xx

Dahn Boquist

Friday 22nd of October 2021

Yes, the low heat in the oven cooks the steak evenly and dries the surface so it will get a beautiful crust when you sear it in the hot skillet.

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