Good Eats
"Steak Your Claim"


Good Eats








Pan Seared Rib Eye

Production Number



July 1998 (WTTW)

July 7, 1999

Episode Chronology


"This Spud's for You"

Related Titles

Alton shows you how to make a good steak. We are shown the various cuts of steak, what cut to choose, and how to store the meat. Recipes include Pan Seared Rib Eye.


The best steaks come from the middle back and the front part is a little fattier. We've got the sirloin primal, which divides into the short loin, which includes the strip, T-Bone, porterhouse and filet. Next, the rib primal, which includes the rib eye.

The closer the primal is to the leg of the animal, the more flavor it has, but it is less tender because the legs do most of the work.

Food is full of microorganisms. Your refrigerator should never get more than 40 degrees F.

Now, to do our rib eye justice, we really need a pan that gets really hot, it's got to stay hot and it's got to distribute that heat evenly. What we need is cast iron. Wash it in warm, soapy water. Coat it with a vegetable oil and put it in the oven 350° for about an hour. Pour out any excess grease, lightly wipe it down, cover it with a paper towel.

Sea salt is made from evaporated sea water and rock salt has some extra minerals in it. Good old table salt has iodine added to it so you won't get a goiter. Kosher salt has crystals that stick together, making it easy to control how much is being used when picked up by hand.

Steak is cooked on high heat after it's been lubed up with canola oil. It's seared on both sides for 30 seconds and then placed in 500 degree oven for 2 minutes and another 2 on the flip side. You can actually tell doneness by feeling the meat or you can take its temperature. At 137 degrees our steak is medium rare. When feeling for doneness, there's some resilience there but it's still really soft. Put it on a plate covered with aluminum foil and let it rest for 3 minutes.


Alton Brown - "You know, I think it's safe to say John Wayne ate steak. I mean, if there's a meal more fundamentally American we can't think of it. I mean, steak is a food borne of wide open spaces and big skies..."


  • There are 300 Commercial Cuts of Beef ... 14 Are Steaks
  • Primal: Large Commercial Cuts, from which Smaller Consumer cuts are produced.
  • "Marbling" Flecks or streaks of fat running through a Piece of Meat.
  • The average American eats 11 steaks a year.
  • The word "Salary" comes from Salarium the pay Roman Soldiers received for buying their salt.
  • Rare: 120° to 130°; Med Rare: 130° to 145°; Medium: 145° to 155°; Toast: 155° and up
  • "Steak" comes from "Steik" the Saxon word for meat on a stick.


Mel Coleman ... Cattle Rancher (Himself)

Joe Illescas ... Butcher (Himself)

? ... Lady Behind the Counter (Herself)

Alton Brown ... USDA Inspector

Marshall Millard ... USDA Inspector

Susan Page ... USDA Inspector

Bob Members ... Hardware Guy (Himself)

Sally Bernhardt ... Cooking Technician (Herself)

Caroline Connell ... Dietician (Herself)


Beef, Black pepper, Canola oil, Kosher salt, Oil, Pepper, Rib eye, Salt


Butter, Filet, Porterhouse, Prime rib, Rock salt, Sea salt, Sirloin, Steak, Strip steak, T-bone, Table salt, Tenderloin




Sautéing, Searing


Bearnaise, Beef cut, Doneness, Grade, Primal cut, Rib (primal), Curing (cast iron), Short loin (primal), Sirloin (primal), Steak, Marbling


Anodized aluminum, E. coli, Salmonella, Smoke point, Stainless steel, Teflon, Listeria, Moisture




John Wayne

Visual Aids[]

Steer chart


Title Origin[]

The title is a play on the popular saying "stake your claim", meaning "take what is yours"



  • "Good Eats Fan Page", January 7, 2000.
  • "Steak Your Claim". Good Eats. July 7, 1999. No. 1, season 1.

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