Take your grilled steak, chicken and veggies to the next level with the best Cowboy Butter recipe made with a few simple ingredients. This quick compound butter can be used as a dip or a spread to add delicious flavor to a variety of dishes.
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One taste of this viral cowboy butter recipe and I guarantee you’ll be hooked. It adds depth, tanginess, and a hint of spice to dishes. You’ll want to slather this on everything from grilled steak and chicken to seafood, veggies and even crusty baguette toasts! Or, enjoy it as a dip for sweet potato fries and onion rings.
What Is Cowboy Butter?
Cowboy butter is a type of compound butter that’s packed with flavor and is often used as a condiment or finishing sauce for grilled meats, particularly steak. It’s made by combining various fresh herbs, mustard, spices and citrus with melted butter to create a rich and savory mixture. It can be melted and used as a dipping sauce or chilled and used as a spread.
Once all the ingredients are mixed together, you can shape the butter into a log, chill or freeze it, and then slice it into rounds when you’re ready to use it. These rounds can be placed on top of grilled meats to melt and infuse the dish with their incredible flavors. The butter enhances the natural taste of the meat, adding richness, tang and a hint of spice. It’s like a secret ingredient that takes your grilled dishes to the next level. It also makes a fantastic garlic bread spread!
Whether you’re a fan of grilling or simply looking to elevate your meals, cowboy butter sauce is a must-try. Its creamy, flavorful and versatile nature makes it a fantastic addition to a wide variety of dishes. So, saddle up and get ready for the ultimate homemade condiment to add to your recipe repertoire!
- Butter: I prefer to use a high-quality unsalted butter. Using unsalted butter allows you to have complete control over the saltiness of the final spread. While salted butter can be used as an alternative, I suggest omitting any additional salt when using it in this recipe.
- Garlic: This dipping sauce has plenty of fresh minced garlic. If you don’t have any garlic cloves on hand, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder can be used.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: You can easily scale the spiciness of this cowboy butter by adjusting the amount of crushed red pepper flakes. Not a fan of spice? Simply omit the crushed red pepper flakes. Want even more heat? Add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Lemon zest and juice: Lemon zest is the outermost part of the lemon peel, rich in aromatic oils. To zest a lemon, use a fine grater or a zester to gently scrape the outermost part of the lemon peel, avoiding the bitter white pith. Always zest your citrus before juicing.
- Mustard: I prefer Dijon mustard, but spicy brown mustard, yellow mustard or honey mustard all work well, too. Each will offer a slightly different flavor profile, so choose a mustard you like best.
- Spices: Paprika adds a subtle smoky flavor and a touch of spiciness. Kosher salt enhances the overall flavor profile without being overpowering. It has a milder flavor compared to table salt and is less likely to make the butter taste overly salty.
- Fresh herbs: For the best tasting compound butter, opt for fresh herbs as they provide a more pronounced and aromatic profile compared to dried herbs, which can lose some of their potency over time. Don’t have fresh chives? Substitute thinly sliced scallions or finely diced shallots. And for a different herbal note, substitute chopped fresh cilantro for the parsley.
Making cowboy butter is incredibly easy and straightforward. Simply melt the butter in a small skillet set over medium low heat. Toss in the minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden and fragrant. Then, whisk in all of the remaining ingredients except the fresh herbs. Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the herbs. Taste and season with salt and black pepper before serving.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs and spices – use what you already have in your fridge and pantry to make this versatile sauce.
- Taste and Adjust: Taste as you go along and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You can add a pinch more salt, crushed red pepper flakes or any other ingredient to achieve your desired flavor balance.
- Customize: Feel free to experiment with different fresh herbs, spices, or even add other ingredients like hot sauce or Worcestershire sauce to create your own unique variation of cowboy butter that suits your taste preferences.
Cowboy butter should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It typically stays fresh for about 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
To store it in a roll form, simply refrigerate the mixture until it is completely cooled. Then, spoon the mixture onto a long piece of plastic wrap or wax paper. Carefully wrap the paper around the butter, rolling it tightly to form a log shape. Store the wrapped log in the refrigerator or freezer. This convenient roll form allows you to easily slice off portions of the butter to place over your favorite grilled meats as they rest.
Absolutely! Just like most compound butters, cowboy butter will last up to one week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.
The ideal consistency of cowboy butter is smooth, creamy and spreadable. It should be soft enough to easily spread onto grilled meats or melt over other dishes, but firm enough to hold its shape when sliced or dolloped. The butter should be thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients to ensure that all flavors are evenly incorporated.
While fresh herbs are typically preferred for their vibrant flavor, you can use dried herbs as a substitute. Keep in mind that dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor, so you’ll need to adjust the amounts accordingly.
It can be used as a condiment or finishing sauce for grilled meats such as steaks, chicken or seafood. It can also be melted and drizzled over roasted vegetables, used to flavor pasta dishes or spread on bread.
When it comes to serving this flavor-packed spread, the possibilities are endless. Add it atop sizzling steak, let it melt over grilled vegetables or spread it on crusty bread for a flavorful twist. Bottom line: There is no wrong way to serve this flavor-packed spread!
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- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt, to taste
- In a small skillet set over medium low heat, melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Whisk in the lemon zest, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and paprika until combined.
- Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the chives and parsley. Let cool slightly then serve.
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