The Railyard Executive Chef Jeremiah Zimmerman Steaks a Claim in Gillette’s Perfectly Marbled Red Meat Market.

By: Steph Scarcliff

with Jen Kocher | Photos: Taylor Helton

 

If you’re from the 82717, steak is in your blood. In fact, the robust cattle ranching industry in Campbell County predates even the advent of the county itself, in 1911, by nearly 35 years.

Today, we peek behind the curtain (and step into the kitchen) at The Railyard restaurant inside the historic dining institution that stands at the northeast corner of Gillette Main Street, along the old Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad tracks, where the past meets present in downtown Gillette. 

Our “steak out” began with a trip to the kitchen where Executive Chef Jeremiah Zimmerman stood behind a shiny, stainless-steel counter in his black chef’s coat with a carving knife in hand and a big smile on his face.

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An epic journey into The Railyard kitchen that ends with amazing steak.

A couple things stood out at this point: First, the impeccably clean, tidy kitchen caught us a bit off guard as did the almost military orderliness of the chef’s line and kitchen space — with stainless-steel pots and ladles hanging in orderly rows and large white porcelain bowls and plates stacked high on shelves and countertops just so. Second, unlike some of the other kitchens we’ve visited, these people were all happy – from the dishwasher singing along to the song in his earbuds to the woman counting tomatoes to the chef, who was practically beaming as he heaved a large slab of meat onto a cutting board, where he demonstrated his favorite cuts.

Confession: There’s something sexy about anyone who takes pride in their work, and Chef Jeremiah’s enthusiasm for all things steak (and food in general) put him over the top for us. He came to life as he waxed poetically over hunks of beautiful, raw beef.

This isn’t just any steak, he explained. At The Railyard, their steaks are always hand-cut and aged in-house for 28 days or more. “They’re also locally sourced from ranchers across Wyoming,” he said. 

The global cattle herd totals about 1 billion head, including roughly 95 million raised in the U.S. alone, he explained. Purchasing from local and regional producers, whenever possible, is a coordinated effort to boost the “local premium” by recirculating a greater percentage of revenue both locally and regionally. Both he and General Manager Trey McConnell, who may very well have restaurants coded in his DNA, believe strongly in supporting local producers and the community at large. It’s evident they take these values seriously in the community groups and causes they support and in the way they prepare and serve their steaks.

Having studied under Chef Patrick at The Powder Horn in Sheridan, as well as under top chefs in St. Louis and Denver, Chef Zimmerman, who spoke to us about the importance of good marbelization, premium cuts and intensifying flavors through sauce pairings, offered up three tips for ordering steak: “Never order a steak well done. Season with salt and pepper only, and don’t even think about ketchup. Ever.”

Instead, he prefers to baste The Railyard’s steaks with his original red wine butter sauce that’s been a big hit with customers since the restaurant’s inception in 2016.

Don’t even think

about ketchup.

Ever.

On average, Zimmerman said they go through about 140 lbs. of steak on a Saturday night, or about 50 hand-cut, aged, salt and pepper, red wine butter-basted steaks — all sourced from within the Cowboy State.

Rib Eyes and New York strips are their best-selling cuts. Each steak, he approximated, weighs about 14 – 16 oz., which is roughly a pound or the equivalent of two hamsters, two-and-a-half human hearts or a soccer ball.

He also had a surprise in the freezer that he couldn’t help showing off. He presented an uncut chunk of Waygu beef left over from a recent wine tasting that he and Trey already had big plans for. The Kobe steaks, he predicted, would soon be transformed into an exclusive nightly special. His dimples deepened as he sharpened up a knife and got back to work.

By: Stephanie L. Scarcliff

with Jen C. Kocher

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