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Southern Steak Au Poivre (Peppered Steak


Steak Au Poivre, also known as Peppered Steak, is a classic French dish that has been embraced by Southern cuisine for its rich flavors and elegant presentation. This recipe features tender beef tenderloin steaks coated in cracked peppercorns, served with a savory whiskey cream sauce. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making this delicious Southern Steak Au Poivre.



  • 4 tablespoons black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 tablespoons green peppercorns, drained and finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Flaky salt, to taste
  • 2 pounds beef tenderloin, cut into six steaks, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup whiskey
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup heavy cream


Step 1: Prepare the Steaks

  1. Season the Steaks:
    • In a small bowl, combine the cracked black peppercorns, finely chopped green peppercorns, and cayenne pepper. Press the pepper mixture onto both sides of each steak, ensuring they are well coated. Season with flaky salt to taste.

Step 2: Sear the Steaks

  1. Heat the Oil:
    • In a large skillet, heat the neutral oil over medium-high heat until it is shimmering.
  2. Sear the Steaks:
    • Add the steaks to the skillet and sear for about 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until they reach your desired level of doneness. Remove the steaks from the skillet and set them aside to rest.

Step 3: Make the Sauce

  1. Sauté the Shallots:
    • In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add the butter. Once melted, add the finely chopped shallots and sauté until they are softened and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Deglaze with Whiskey:
    • Carefully add the whiskey to the skillet, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Let the whiskey simmer until it is mostly evaporated, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add Beef Broth and Cream:
    • Pour in the beef broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, or until it is slightly reduced. Stir in the heavy cream and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

Step 4: Combine and Serve

  1. Return Steaks to Skillet:
    • Return the seared steaks to the skillet, spooning the sauce over them to coat. Let the steaks simmer in the sauce for a minute or two to reheat and absorb the flavors.
  2. Serve Hot:
    • Transfer the steaks to serving plates, spooning additional sauce over the top. Garnish with additional cracked pepper and fresh herbs if desired. Serve hot and enjoy!

Cook Notes and Variations

Cook Notes:

  • Steaks: Beef tenderloin is used for its tenderness, but you can substitute with other steak cuts like ribeye or strip steak.
  • Peppercorns: Use freshly cracked peppercorns for the best flavor. A mortar and pestle or a pepper grinder set to coarse works well.


  • Spicy Version:
    • Add extra cayenne pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pepper mixture for a spicier kick.
  • Herb Addition:
    • Add fresh thyme or rosemary to the sauce for an additional layer of flavor.
  • Cognac Sauce:
    • Substitute cognac for whiskey for a traditional French twist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use pre-ground black pepper?

While pre-ground black pepper can be used, freshly cracked peppercorns provide a much better texture and flavor for this dish.


2. How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover steak and sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop before serving.


3. Can I make the sauce ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the sauce ahead of time and reheat it gently on the stovetop before serving with the steaks.


4. What can I serve with Steak Au Poivre?

This dish pairs well with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad.


5. Can I use a different type of alcohol for the sauce?

Yes, you can substitute whiskey with brandy, cognac, or even bourbon for a different flavor profile.

The Elegance of Southern Steak Au Poivre

Southern Steak Au Poivre is an elegant and flavorful dish that combines the richness of tender beef with the boldness of cracked peppercorns and a savory cream sauce. This recipe is perfect for special occasions, date nights, or whenever you want to impress your guests with a restaurant-quality meal.


Tips for Success

  1. Room Temperature Steaks: Ensure the steaks are at room temperature before cooking for even searing.
  2. High Heat for Searing: Use high heat to sear the steaks and create a flavorful crust.
  3. Rest the Steaks: Allow the steaks to rest after searing to retain their juices.

Southern Steak Au Poivre is a delicious and sophisticated dish that is perfect for any occasion. With its combination of tender beef, peppery crust, and rich sauce, this recipe is sure to be a hit with family and friends. Whether you’re making it for a special dinner or a cozy night in, this dish is simple to prepare and full of delicious flavors. Give this Southern Steak Au Poivre recipe a try and enjoy a satisfying and elegant meal. Happy cooking!