I’ve lived most of my life in Tennessee and I had never heard of steak with Tennessee onions, but this dish is so freakin’ delicious. I’m glad we can claim it for the Volunteer State! What’s not to love about juicy steak and sweet onions coated in Cajun seasoning and lots of cheese? The flavor profile is off the charts.

Steak with Tennessee onions, ready to eat.

You can make our steak with Tennessee onions recipe loads of different ways. It’s super simple and you can easily cook it in a pizza oven if you don’t want to use the smoker. You can also pair this Tennessee onions dish with chicken or pork chops (even hot dogs!) if that’s what you have on hand for your summer BBQ. I wish I knew about these cheesy onions sooner! 

Why You’ll Love Steak with Tennessee Onions

Tennessee onions make the most of simple ingredients — melty cheese, butter and seasoning — to bring a unique flavor to a humble ingredient. When you pair a fabulous Tennessee onion bake with a tender grilled steak, like the filet we use in this recipe, you can’t go wrong. We take this dish up a notch with the great addition of garlic butter (steak and garlic butter, a match made in heaven), which brings fresh herbs into the mix. Who would have thought an onion dish could bring so much to the table?

For more steak and cheese recipes, check out Steak Sliders with Beer Cheese, Grilled Steak with Lobster Mac and Cheese, Blue Cheese Crusted Steaks and Pizza Cheesesteak.

Steak with Tennessee Onions Ingredients

  • Steak: Filets, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder. Enough said. 
  • Tennessee Onions: Behold, the mighty onion. We’ll slice two yellow onions and pair them with unsalted butter, shredded cheddar cheese, shredded Monterey Jack cheese and Cajun seasoning. The doubter at your table will become the most ardent onion fan with one bite.
  • Garlic Butter: Tennessee onions traditionally use fresh herbs, so we’ll combine chopped parsley, butter, garlic, chili flakes and Dijon mustard to add a real punch of flavor to this dish.
Steak with Tennessee onions, finished outside a pizza oven.

Simple Whiskey Sour

Tennessee is known for lots of great things, but we do take great pride in our whiskey. If you want to sample another Tennessee flavor while you’re cooking, look no further than the whiskey sour. First, combine 2 ounces of your favorite Tennessee whiskey, 1 ounce of simple syrup and 1 ounce of lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Then, add a few ice cubes, shake it all together and strain into a glass. Sip while you’re grilling and start humming along to Chris Stapleton

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How to Make Steak with Tennessee Onions

I’m stoked to introduce you to my new favorite way to cook onions. Let’s get after it!

Cooking the Tennessee Onions

First up, preheat your pizza oven or grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for indirect cooking. While the oven or grill is heating up, slice your 2 yellow onions into onion rings. Add those onions to a cast-iron skillet, then top the onions with 4 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of Cajun seasoning. Put that skillet in the oven or grill to cook for 20 minutes, or until the onions are softened and browned.

Tennessee onions sliced and with butter on top.

Make sure to stir the onions every 3-4 minutes because we want to keep them from burning! Right at the end, top the onions with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Finally, pull the onions out of the oven and keep them warm.

Tennessee onions, browned and topped with melted cheese.

Prepping the Steaks

Next, slather 3-4 steak filets with oil or beef tallow. Generously season the steaks with salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite steak rub. 

Filets seasoned, then cooked in cast iron on the grill.

Making the Garlic Butter

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the garlic butter: 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Then, set aside the mixture. We’re doing this now because we want to make sure the butter is ready when we finish grilling the steaks.

Ingredients for garlic butter in a bowl.

Grilling the Steaks

Add a cast iron skillet with oil to preheat in the oven. Once that skillet is nice and hot, add your steaks and cook for 4 minutes per side or until they reach 120 degrees internal temperature. Right at the end, top the steaks with some of the garlic butter and finish cooking. Finally, pull off the steaks and let the meat rest for 10 minutes.

Adding the butter to the filets and getting the onions ready on a serving plate.

Finishing the Steak with Tennessee Onions

To finish, add the Tennessee onions to a plate with the steak. Slice, serve and enjoy!

What to Serve with Steak with Tennessee Onions

​A simple green salad or vegetable, like steamed broccoli with lots of lemon juice, would be great here. 

For More Oniony Recipes

Leftovers and Reheating

Place any leftover steak tightly wrapped in aluminum foil inside an airtight container for 3-5 days. To reheat grilled steak, keep it in the aluminum foil and take it back to your grill. Feel free to add some butter, seasonings, and some beef broth or beer for moisture while it heats up again.

For the Tennessee onions, store them in an airtight container for 3-5 days. When you’re ready to eat, put them in an oven-safe dish and reheat in a 250-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.

Diving into a plate of steak with Tennessee onions.

FAQs

Why are they called Tennessee onions? 

​The best answer I can give you (since I’m not totally sure) is that it’s a nod to the great BBQ culture we have here in Tennessee. These onions would be at home at any summer barbecue spread!

How do I stop my eyes from watering with all these onions?!

​Tennessee onions can make us all very emotional! Use a sharp knife while you’re cutting, since that will release fewer enzymes into the air. You can also soak the onion in cold water before cutting or wear kitchen goggles. 

Can I use a different cut of steak?

Sure! Honestly, it’s easy because Tennessee onions work with any type of meat. A ribeye, T-bone or whatever steak you have on hand would be great here.

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Steak with Tennessee onions, ready to eat.

Steak with Tennessee Onions

Steak with Tennessee onions is a simple, delicious barbecue recipe that combines filets with cheesy, buttery yellow onions.
Author:Derek Wolf
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

Steak:

  • 3-4 Filets
  • 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tbsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • Beef Tallow as needed

Tennessee Onions:

  • 2 Yellow Onions sliced
  • 4 tbsp Cubed Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cup Shredded Jack Cheese
  • 1 tbsp Cajun Seasoning

Garlic Butter:

  • ¼ cup Chopped Parsley
  • ¼ cup Melted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt

Instructions 

  • Preheat a pizza oven or grill to 400F indirect cooking.
  • Slice your onions into rings.
  • Add the onions to a cast iron skillet topping with butter and cajun rub.
  • Add to the oven to cook for 20 minutes or until softened and browned. Make sure to stir every 3-4 minutes to prevent burning. Right at the end, top the onions with your shredded cheese and melt. Pull off and keep warm.
  • Next, slather your steaks with oil and generously season with salt, pepper and garlic powder or your favorite steak rub.
  • In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the garlic butter and set aside.
  • Add a cast iron skillet with oil to preheat in the oven.
  • Add your steaks to the skillet once hot and cook for 4 minutes per side or until 120F internal. Right at the end, top the steaks with some of the garlic butter and finish cooking.
  • Pull off and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Add the Tennessee Onions to a plate with the steak, slice, serve and enjoy!

Notes

Simple Whiskey Sour
Tennessee is known for lots of great things, but we do take great pride in our whiskey. If you want to sample another Tennessee flavor while you’re cooking, look no further than the whiskey sour. First, combine 2 ounces of your favorite Tennessee whiskey, 1 ounce of simple syrup and 1 ounce of lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Then, add a few ice cubes, shake it all together and strain into a glass. Sip while you’re grilling and start humming along to Chris Stapleton

Nutrition

Calories: 886kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 126g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 364mg | Sodium: 2912mg | Potassium: 3127mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 2437IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 275mg | Iron: 4mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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