Pan-Broiled Steaks with Barley Pilaf and Whisky Sauce

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 1h 25m

Serves 4

Backyard barbecues are right up there with apple pie as an American icon. Now, I sure don't want to be a spoilsport, but when it comes to cooking one of today's leaner beef steaks, barbecuing, in my opinion, is not necessarily the best way. I prefer to use a cast-iron skillet, and I like to make simple sauces to accompany steaks right in the same skillet. Stir a bit of booze and a touch of imagination into whatever is left in the pan; the process is called deglazing, and it only takes a moment. A well-marbled porterhouse steak cooked this way and served with a simple tomato and onion salad is soul food for this country boy! It was my pleasure to have dined on Omaha Steaks many times with Fred Simon and the late, great James Beard. One of Jim's favorite dishes to accompany a great steak was barley. This recipe for barely pilaf has become a favorite with my family.


  • For Steaks:
  • 4 boneless strip steaks, 8 to 10 ounces each or
  • 2 porterhouse steaks, about 24 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns (coarsely crushed)
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • For Whiskey Sauce:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey, preferably Jack Daniel's
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • Dash of Tabasco sauce
  • For Barley Pilaf:
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


FOR STEAKS: Trim off any excess fat and reserve. Press the crushed peppercorn and garlic onto both sides and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

Grease a large, heavy cast-iron skillet with the trimmed fat from the steaks, and place over high heat. Toss in half of the kosher salt, add the steaks, and sear quickly for 2 minutes on one side. Remove the steaks and add the remaining salt to the skillet. Return the steaks and sear for 2 minutes on the second side for rare. If you like your steaks more well done, lower the heat to medium and cook the steaks, turning every minute or so, to the desired doneness: about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, 4 minutes per side for medium, 5 minutes per side for well done, and 6 minutes for cremated. Remove the steaks and keep warm in a low oven.

FOR SAUCE: Pour off the fat from the skillet and melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the whiskey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and Tabasco, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.

FOR BARLEY PILAF: Melt the butter in a heavy saute pan or skillet and saute the onion and mushrooms over medium-high heat for a few minutes, until soft. Add the pearl barley and let it brown slightly. Add the broth and check the seasonings; add salt and pepper if necessary. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender.

TO SERVE: Arrange the steaks on warm serving plates and spoon the pilaf to one side. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.

RecID 3558

nutrition information per serving

1158 calories; 64g total fat; 331mg cholesterol; 560mg sodium; 47g carbohydrates; 9g fiber; 93g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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