Yesterday’s steak sandwich

“I’ve never even heard of leftover steak. What’s that?”

Read Time: 5 minutes
Grilled steak and smashed potatoes with chimichurri. This was my birthday dinner from last year that we ate outside on our deck.

When it’s steak night at my house, I usually buy a large NY strip or a ribeye for myself and more often than not I eat about half of it and save the rest to eat as leftovers. We also grill flank steak for tacos from time to time and some of that will likewise end up in the fridge for the next day.

This week I’m writing about one of my favorite leftover sandwiches using steak that you likely grilled the night before.

If you’re the type of person that never has leftover steak, this sandwich works great with freshly grilled and sliced steak as well.

Read on to see how I turn yesterday’s steak into today’s sandwich masterpiece.

The bread

Almost any bread will do with a steak sandwich, but for this week’s sandwiches I chose to make ciabatta. I had recently re-watched Binging with Babish’s video about Harley Quinn’s movie, Birds of Prey and in that video he makes a breakfast sandwich on ciabatta. In the video he mentions he’s basing his ciabatta off King Arthur Baking’s ciabatta recipe. I tried them both and they are equally solid choices.

Babish (I know his name is Andrew, but our relationship isn’t there just yet) forms his ciabatta into six inch long rectangles and King Arthur’s recipe is shaped in squares. I think I like the square technique the best and that’s what I will choose when I make these rolls in the future.

The main difference between the Binging by Babish and the King Arthur Baking recipes is that Babish’s requires baking on a pizza stone. The King Arthur version just bakes on a sheet pan. Neither recipe is super hard, but I wouldn’t necessarily call these beginner bread recipes.

There’s a much longer rise time required for ciabatta, plus an overnight levain or pre-ferment which means you can’t bake them at the drop of a hat. For example: if I wanted to make my typical potato bun recipe it takes around 2 hours of dough rise time. On the other hand, this ciabatta recipe takes between 5 and 7 hours of time for the dough to rise. So you need to know the day before and be prepared for a lot of waiting for dough to rise if you want ciabatta.

A fresh ciabatta roll ready for sandwiching.

The steak

As I wrote earlier, I typically buy a New York strip for myself, sometimes splurging for a well marbled ribeye. I like my steak cooked somewhere around medium rare.

The biggest improvement in my meat cooking game occurred when I started putting an instant read thermometer in my pocket when I headed to the grill or stove. Sure, the pros can grill and tell doneness just by touching the steak, but those folks cook many steaks every single day. If I’m spending 20+ bucks on a steak I want to make sure I don’t over or under cook it, so I use a thermometer.

Here’s a 20 dollar (currently on sale for 15 USD) thermometer from Amazon that is very highly rated. I use a ThermoPop from ThermoWorks (35 USD) and it is very handy to have around when I’m questioning meat doneness.

If you are one of those people that refuse to buy a thermometer and you want me to tell you how long to cook something, I’ll say that I usually shoot for 4 to 5 minutes per side for a 1.25- or 1.5-inch-thick steak.

Here’s a chart where you can choose your desired doneness and remove your steak from the grill or pan at the “Remove from grill” temperature and that will allow your steak to slowly creep to the proper temperature through carryover cooking.

DonenessCenter colorRemove from grillCarryover cooking
RareRed120° F / 48° C125° F / 52° C
Medium RarePink130° F / 54° C135° F / 57° C
MediumSome pink140° F / 60° C145° F / 63° C
Medium WellTiny sliver of pink145° F / 63° C 150° F / 66° C
Well DoneNo pink160+° F / 71° C 165° F / 73° C
Grill or cook your steak to the “Remove from grill” temperature and then as the steak is resting it will continue to rise in temperature through carryover cooking.

If you are grilling and you’re using a thermometer and your temperature is still low after 4 or 5 minutes per side, that’s when you can close your grill lid and the grill becomes an oven. This helps to cook the interior of the meat just like it would if you put your steak into a hot oven.

As for seasoning, I’m a salt and pepper guy – heavy on the pepper, please. I season one side heavily with kosher salt and ground black pepper and place that side down on the grill or hot pan. Then I season the other side liberally as well. Sometimes you might think it’s too much salt or pepper but remember that you can’t season the middle part of your steak so you need to over season the outside.

The chimichurri

If you’re not familiar with it, chimichurri is an oil-based condiment that has its roots in Argentinian and Uruguayan cuisines; often served with steak or other grilled meats. I make chimichurri in a food processor, but you could use a blender or even a mortar and pestle. Just like pesto, chimichurri isn’t cooked at all and can be made in just a little more time than it takes you to collect all the ingredients from your pantry and fridge.

Chimichurri adds bright and tangy flavors to your steak. The bright, fresh, herby flavor combined with garlic and tangy vinegar leaves you with a very flavorful accompaniment to a savory piece of charred steak.

When you stop at the store to buy steaks, pick up Italian parsley, cilantro, and mint and garlic if you don’t already have some and you possibly already have the rest of what you need to make chimichurri.

Recipe Card
10 minutes

Great on steak or any meat that is roasted or grilled. Robin says the mint makes this chimichurri feel fresh and spicy, punching up all the flavors.

Get Recipe

Another great use for the chimichurri is on side dishes like potatoes. I tweeted about this a little bit last month. Follow me on twitter for more health tips.

The roasted red peppers

Roasted red peppers add vibrant color and a pleasant sweetness to a sandwich. I added my recipe card for roasted red peppers below, but it’s almost too simple to be called a recipe. Basically, you need to roast your red peppers until they are cooked through and this process will allow you to remove the pepper skins, leaving you with a very tender, sweet and flavorful addition to your sandwich.

40 minutes
Roasted red peppers

This is a very easy recipe that lends a lot of flavor and color to a sandwich. You can store them in the fridge for up to a week but if you store your peppers in a container covered with oil they will last at least 2 weeks.

Get Recipe
Grilled ribeye, chimichurri and roasted red peppers combine to create great sandwich fillings.

Put all the pieces together

The sandwich cross section.

Assembling the sandwich at this stage is very simple. Depending on whether you want your sandwich warm or cold, will determine the speed at which you can start eating. If I want mine warm, I usually will broil the sliced bread with just the steak on top (and maybe some cheese). This warms your steak up but it also does cook it a little so the outside won’t be as pink as it initially was.

If you prefer your leftover steak sandwich to be straight out of the fridge, you just add steak, drizzle on chimichurri and sprinkle a few roasted red pepper pieces on top before sandwiching it all with the top of your roll.

And there you have yesterday’s steak sandwich.

Some yesterday’s steak sandwiches from past yesterdays

Like I said, this sandwich works with almost any type of bread. Just use what you have, and the flavors will do the rest of the work for you. Check out some steak and chimichurri sandwiches I have made in the past.

Sliced ribeye, chimichurri and roasted red peppers on a ciabatta roll.

Make chimichurri. Grill steak. Be happy. See you next week with a new sandwich!

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