How to Make The Pioneer Woman’s Tender Cowboy Steak

This cowboy steak recipe is the best bone-in ribeye ever!

Home, home on the range, where the steaks are juicy and eaten straight from the bone. OK, those may not be Neil Young’s exact lyrics, but I think cowboys past and present would appreciate the authenticity of my improvised verse.

Whether you’re a real cowboy or merely a fan of rustic, homestyle cuisine, Ree Drummond’s Pioneer Woman cowboy steak recipe is for you (as is this Pioneer Woman pot roast). This monstrous, indulgent steak will feed a crowd and is perfect for your next cookout.

What is a cowboy steak?

Raw Cowboy steaks on a kitchen tableLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

If you’re not familiar with a cowboy-cut steak, it’s a special cut of ribeye that got its name from the steak’s popularity among ranchers and cowboys. This bone-in ribeye is typically thicker than a standard cut, usually around 2 inches thick, with more meat included beyond the eye. Often, butchers will also trim some of the exterior fat from the steak as well for a cleaner appearance. (If you can find a cowboy ribeye from a butcher with dry-aged steaks, it’s worth the splurge.)

Another key feature of this type of steak is its Frenched bone (meaning an exposed bone trimmed of all meat and fat) that was originally intended to serve as a handle so cowboys out on the range could eat this cut straight off the bone. However, don’t confuse this cut with its fancy-pants cousin, the tomahawk steak. While similar, a tomahawk ribeye features a longer, Frenched bone with a little extra fat left on the steak.

How to Cook Cowboy Steak Like Ree Drummond



  • 2 (2-pound) cowboy steaks (about 2 to 2-1/2 inches thick)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, optional

Ranch compound butter:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ranch seasoning (e.g., Hidden Valley)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley


Step 1: Season the steaks

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and season all sides generously with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Prepare the ranch butter

Meanwhile, combine the softened butter, ranch seasoning and parsley in a small bowl until evenly mixed. Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap and roll it into a small log. Refrigerate the compound butter for at least 30 minutes until firm.

Step 3: Sear the steaks over direct heat

Set up your gas or charcoal grill with the coals or flames under one half of the cooking grates so there are two distinct cooking zones. Preheat to medium-high heat (about 400°-450°F) for 15 minutes, then place the steaks over direct heat (the side with the flame or coals). Sear for 3-5 minutes per side until deeply charred grill marks form.

To cook steak in a skillet: Preheat the oven to 375°. Meanwhile, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat on your stovetop until very hot. Next, coat the bottom of the skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil. Place one steak in the skillet and sear for 3-5 minutes on each side until a deeply golden crust forms. Then, using a spoon, tilt the pan and remove some of the fat drippings; discard. Reduce the heat to medium and then turn the steak onto its side and sear the fat cap for 1 minute.

Step 4: Move to indirect heat

Transfer the steaks to the indirect cooking zone of your grill (the side with no coals). Cover and cook for an additional 8-16 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 135° for a perfect medium rare steak. Remove promptly to a carving board.

To cook steak in a skillet: Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 8-16 minutes, or until the internal temperature closest to the bone reaches 132° (for medium rare). Remove promptly from the skillet and transfer to a carving board.

Step 5: Top with butter and rest

Prepared Cowboy Steak steak with a generous slice of ranch butterLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Top steaks with a generous slice of ranch butter, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes. To serve, carve the steak off the bone and thinly slice it against the grain. Serve immediately.

Editor’s Tip: Don’t be afraid to enjoy as cowboys do and use the bone as a handle to dig right in. Then, pair it with one of these other cowboy-approved recipes.

Here’s What I Thought

Cut out pieces of Pioneer Woman Cowboy Steak served in a plateLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Bold, rich, tender and juicy. Need I say more? Ribeyes have always been my favorite cut of steak when I’m looking to treat myself, and this one does not disappoint. While ribeyes are a fattier cut, a ribeye with compound butter adds an extra layer of flavor and indulgence that really is icing on the cake, erm, steer.

I would love to try this recipe with other meat rubs and compound butter flavors in the future. I’ve also recently splurged on a fancy smoker, and I think a reverse-seared cowboy steak is next on my bucket list!

Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.