Award Winning Sonoma Rib Eye

Award-Winning Sonoma Rib-Eye



This signature dish is slow roasted and smoked over wine barrel oak staves, then served with Sonoma olive pesto. This recipe won the 2009 Best Beef in America Chef Challenge.


  • Olive Pesto Ingredients
  • 4 cups California black olives
  • 2 bunches of Italian parsley (stemmed and rough chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 3/4 cup garlic
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 cups grated aged Vella Jack cheese (secco style), plus extra shavings for garnish
  • Rib-Eye Ingredients
  • 1 whole rib-eye, fat cap removed in one piece and reserved
  • 2 cups of whole grain Sonoma mustard
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cups of chopped lavender leaves
  • 1 cup of fresh thyme leaves


Olive Pesto Directions
Combine the olives, parsley, oil, garlic, walnuts and cheese in a food processor and rough chop until smooth consistency is achieved.

Rib-Eye Directions
Start a fire in your smoker using oak barrel staves (preferably from Cabernet barrels). Soak 1 quart of chips from wine barrel staves in water.

Rub the rib-eye roast with the whole grain mustard, season with salt and pepper. Encrust the rib eye with lavender and thyme leaves.

Over high direct heat, sear the rib-eye 1 minute on all sides. Move it to indirect heat, then cover with the reserved fat cap. Add the soaked chips to the smoker and slow roast and smoke at 225 degrees for 8-10 hours. Remove from smoker and let rest for 20 minutes, covered. Portion the rib-eye into steaks and top with a heaping tablespoon of the olive pesto and shavings of the aged Vella Jack cheese.