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Today's Case:

Nighthawk Steak Butter

From: Sharon
Date: 10/19/2023, 10:26 AM
To: Phaedrus 

On 10/19/2023 7:30 AM, Sharon wrote:

 There used to be a Nighthawk restaurant in Austin, Texas before 
 there were Nighthawk frozen dinners. I loved their steak butter 
 and used to buy a container of it from the restaurant when I went. 
 I’ve searched online and can’t find the recipe. I would love to have it!

Hi Sharon,

Austin restaurant owner and mayor Harry Akin opened the first Night Hawk in 1932. He called it that because his place stayed open later than most restaurants at the time. It was quite a success, and a year later he opened a second one. Night Hawk became a chain and grew to seven locations, including San Antonio, Houston, and Waco. Akin himself passed away in 1976 and his wife took over. The restaurant chain lasted until 2018. It began in Austin and it ended in Austin. The frozen "Night Hawk" dinners may still be found in the freezers of Supermarkets in Texas and maybe Louisiana and Mississippi. I've bought and eaten them myself, probably in Mississippi. I haven't seen them in Maine.

I checked all of my usual sources, but I was unable to find a recipe specifically for "Night Hawk Steak Butter". However, I did find this statement here:  Jimmy Pribble
"... Night Hawk Steak Butter is a slight variation of maitre ‘d hotel sauce, leaving the fresh chopped parsley out and instead putting a parsley sprig on the steak."

All well and good... I am familiar with the classic "Maitre ‘d Hotel Butter." It's also called "Hotel Butter" and "Compound Butter" and "Herb Butter" and even "Cowboy Butter," as well as plain "Steak Butter." The multiple names are not the problem, though. The problem is the multiple recipes for it.

They range all the way from the simple: "butter mixed with parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and it adds just the right creamy, flavor-packed touch," to this:  James Martin
"Steak Maitre d’Hotel Butter. The butter is made with garlic, parsley, lemon zest, sea salt, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper." to the rather complex recipe below for "Steak House Butter." Oddly, some of them call for Dijon mustard, which seems out-of-place to me.

These fall somewhere in the middle:


Savory Experiments

A Spicy Perspective

The Spruce Eats

I don't recall the butter packet that came with the frozen dinners, so I have no opinion which one might be closest. Perhaps you can look at these recipes and cobble together something that you like.

I will post this for reader input.


Steak House Butter


8oz Unsalted Butter (soft/room temp)
1 tbsp Parsley (fine mince)
1 tbsp Cilantro (fine mince)
1 tsp Oregano (fine mince)
1 tsp Chives (fine mince)
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper (or White)
1/2 tsp Worcester Sauce
1 tsp Anchovy Sauce (1/2 tsp Salt/or to taste if you 
        do not have Anchovy Sauce)

•Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well
•Get a piece of plastic cling wrap, put the butter in the middle 
and wrap the butter securely. (You may also use a mold)
•Place the butter in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and 
then it is ready to serve.

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