Steak au Poivre and How to Fix It

A classic French steak recipe is steak au poivre (pronounced “oh-PWAHV”). “Au piove” means “peppered” in French, and the dish features a perfectly cooked steak crusted with cracked peppercorns. It’s usually topped with a rich, creamy pan sauce flavored with cognac or brandy. Steak Au Poivre is a French phrase that translates to “Peppercorn Steak” in English. It refers to a specific method of preparing and serving steak.

What Does the Phrase ‘Au Poivre’ Mean?


Au Poivre is a French phrase. It literally translates to peppercorn sauce. A steak au poivre is a steak that has been rubbed with freshly cracked black peppercorns and then seared in a cast iron skillet.

The flavor profile of au poivre pan sauce is complex, but it is ridiculously simple to make with only seven ingredients, the most important of which is Cognac. A classic method for au poivre is straightforward. It’s made up of a peppercorn-encrusted filet of beef that’s been seared in a cast iron pan over high heat, the drippings from that meat, a generous amount of Cognac, and some heavy cream. That’s all. And it’s ready in under 15 minutes.

What is Steak Au Poivre exactly?


  1. Depending on the chef’s preference, this can be black, green, or white pepper.
  2. It is then fried in a pan with butter or oil.
  3. After the steak has been cooked, a sauce made from shallots, vermouth, or demi-glace will be poured over it.
  4. This dish can be prepared rare, medium-rare, or well-done.
  5. The degree of doneness will influence how to cook the steak.

How Should You Cook Steak Au Poivre?

To begin, the steak must be thoroughly tenderized. Chefs frequently use a meat mallet or even a wooden stick to roll over the steak several times to thoroughly crush it.

Second, when cooking with pepper, keep in mind that it can burn. Before searing/cooking the steak, heat the oil or butter and then add the pepper. This ensures that it is fully cooked and that no burning flavors enter the dinner.

When grilling Steak Au Poivre, keep your grill space and the reasoning behind it in mind. Because you will most likely be grilling a thick steak, the cooking time will be much longer than for a thin cut of meat. As a result, you may have to choose between rare and medium-rare. Choosing well-done over medium-rare will often yield the best results.

What’s the Best Beef Cut for Steak Au Poivre?


I like filet mignon or New York strip steaks for this dish. I’m sure other chefs use different cuts, but these are the two I cook at home. Bottom line: buy the best beef you can afford because the satisfaction will be tenfold.

How do I know if my steak is cooked to the proper temperature?

Using a meat thermometer is the simplest way to ensure that your steak is cooked to perfection. An experienced cook can tell simply by touch, but don’t leave things to chance when you spend that much money on a good cut of beef.

What exactly is a shallot?

A shallot is a type of onion, and like garlic, it grows in clusters with a head made up of multiple cloves. Shallot skin color can range from golden brown to black. gray or rose-colored and their flesh is usually green or magenta in color.

Shallots are delicate enough to eat raw and simple to roast or caramelize, making them a versatile and useful ingredient in a variety of dishes.

What pairs well with steak au poivre?

A steamed or roasted green vegetable, such as asparagus, or a salad are popular accompaniments for steak au poivre. This French meal is almost always accompanied by potatoes. One of the side dishes is usually baked potatoes, pommes frites (thinly cut French fries), or mashed potatoes.

What exactly is au poivre sauce?

Au poivre is a pan sauce, which means it’s made in the same pan you cooked the meat in while it rests. Do this a few times, and you’ll find yourself carrying black and green peppercorns and a small jar of demi-glace (it’s sold shelf stable) into hunting camp.

Steak Ingredients

Simple Steak au Poivre Recipe



  1. 212″ thick New York strip steaks (approximately 112 lb total)
  2. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  4. tablespoons vegetable oil
  5. 2 smashed garlic cloves, 2 thinly sliced
  6. thyme sprigs
  7. 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  8. large shallot, finely diced
  9. 13 cup cognac, sherry, or brandy
  10. 12 cup heavy cream
  11. Sea salt flaky

Steak 4

How to Cook Steak au Poivre

Step 1

Using paper towels, pat the steaks dry. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper all over. Allow to sit for 15–30 minutes.

Step 2

Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush peppercorns, or place in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a small saucepan (they should be a lot coarser than ground pepper).

Step 3

Medium-high heat is ideal for heating up the oil in a large pan, particularly one made of cast iron. Unstirred, cook steaks until a deep golden brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes. Cook until golden brown on the second side, about 3 minutes. If the steaks have a fat cap, use tongs to turn them over and cook until browned, about 3 minutes.

Step 4

Turn the heat down to medium-low. To the pan, add the smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, and 1 tablespoon butter. Cook, basting steak continuously, for about 2 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each steak registers 120°. Place the steaks on a cutting board and set aside for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Meanwhile, in a skillet, combine shallot, sliced garlic, crushed peppercorns, and remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until shallot and garlic are softened but not browned.

Step 6

Remove from the heat and add the cognac to the pan. 1–2 minutes over medium heat, spoon leaves streaks in skillet and cook until cognac is mostly evaporated. Cook until the sauce coats the spoon, about 1 minute, after adding the cream. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Step 7

Transfer steaks to a platter and slice against the grain. Return any juices from the cutting board to the skillet and stir into the sauce. Spoon sauce over steak and season with sea salt.