How to apply a steak rub

How to apply a steak rub

The secret ingredient in this dry rub intensifies the flavor of the meat, leaving you with the most delicious steak you will eat this summer!

I’d like to introduce you to your new favorite Steak Rub.

I’ve grilled up my fair share of steaks this summer and while a great piece of steak really does not require more than a little salt and pepper, it’s always nice to impart a different flavor once in a while.

The combination of spices in this rub is spot on! And there is a secret ingredient that totally takes it to another level. Wanna know what it is?

It’s a game changer.

You know how coffee (or espresso) enhances and deepens the flavor of chocolate? It does the same for meat. Who knew right? Which is why our Coffee Rubbed Burgers with Gouda are so insanely popular!

Marinades typically penetrate the meat, although less than you would imagine. However they still penetrate to some extent and they are great and used all the time.

A dry rub does not penetrate the meat. Instead it will form a beautiful tasty crust on the steak. That comes from the caramelization of the (very little) sugar in the dry rub. This locks in the juices of the steak as it sears.

How to apply a steak rub


  • Dry rubs can be strong in flavor, so it’s best to use a steak that is on the thicker side and preferably with a bone. However, I used a sirloin for these pictures and it was delicious. Just be sure to get a piece of meat that is at least 1 – 1 ½″ thick.
  • Sprinkle the rub all over the first side and rub it in using your hands. Turn it over and repeat.
  • You can apply a dry rub to any meat and grill it within minutes. However, it is best to leave the rub on and put the steaks in the fridge UNCOVERED for at least a few hours up to 36 hours depending on the type of meat.


  • Get the highest quality meat that you can afford. It will make all the difference Ask your butcher for something that is at least 1 – ½″ thick and well marbled. Porterhouse, NY Strip, Sirloin and Ribeye are all perfect for grilling.
  • Start with clean, lightly oiled grates. You can rub some oil on a rolled up paper towel or even aluminum foil and using your tongs, rub it along the grates.
  • Hot and fast is the best way to cook a steak on the grill, so don’t be afraid to turn up that heat. Start your grill at least 15 minutes (gas) prior to cooking and turn those burners all the way up.
  • NEVER use a fork to turn the steak over. All those beautiful juices will come running out and you will be left with shoe leather. Grab those tongs.
  • Cook the steak for 4-5 minutes on the first side, then flip. It should be brown and charred. Then follow the cooking times below depending on how you like it cooked.
  • Use a meat thermometer! In order to ensure you, your family or guests are getting their steak cooking exactly to their liking you will need a meat thermometer. They are super inexpensive and it just takes one poke to give you the inside temperature of the meat. Don’t guess.
  • Let it rest – This part is crucial. Let the steak rest for 5-7 minutes after cooking. This gives the juices time to settle and disperse evenly in the meat. If you cut right in, be prepared to watch juice run all over your plate. Let it rest, and that juice will stay in the meat.

How to apply a steak rub


Here are 2 charts to help you grill the perfect steak for your taste. You generally want to cook the steak longer on the first side to get those great grill marks and cook it for less time on the other side. I still recommend keeping the grills on high heat the whole time.

How to apply a steak rub


  • Preheat the grill until it’s very hot (about 500 – 550°F).
  • Place the steaks on the grill with the ends at 10 and 4 o’clock.
  • When meat has seared and juices begin to rise to the top (3-4 min), turn the steaks clockwise, with the ends at 2 and 8 o’clock.
  • After a minute or two, flip steaks over and cook until they reach desired degree of doneness.
  • Remove steaks from grill onto clean plate and allow them to rest approximately 5 minutes to redistribute the juices.How to apply a steak rub

I hope you found this post informational. We try very hard to not only provide you with great recipes you and your family will love, but teach you something along the way. It’s not WHAT you cook, but the QUALITY that matters. Invest in your food. You will never regret buying a locally sourced piece of meat from a butcher. Cook it the same day you buy it – freshness matters.

We also love hearing from you! Tell us how you enjoy our recipes, feedback is always welcome.

When you’re cooking a steak, do you prefer a dry rub or marinade for steak? Both are great options, but they’re very different. Let’s discuss when to use each one and what results to expect.

How to apply a steak rub

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What’s the best? A dry rub or marinade for steak?

Some beef aficionados have a very adamant answer to this question. They’ll quickly say that a marinade for steak is best, while others say that a dry rub is the way to go. And then there’s another group of people that are secretly wondering, “Is there really a difference between the two?”

There is a difference between the two, but it’s important to know that both rubs and marinade for steak are good choices. Both options enhance the flavor of beef. We usually gravitate towards rubs (we’ll explain why), but there are times that marinades are better. Here’s what you should know about marinades and rubs:

Marinade for steak:

A marinade is a way to enhance the flavor of beef. It’s a strongly-flavored liquid made of herbs and spices that beef is steeped in until it takes on some of the liquid flavors. Marinating can take as little as an hour or as long as overnight.

You may have also heard that a marinade for steak tenderizes the beef. Some chefs agree with this statement and others say marinades do very little, if anything, to help tenderize beef. From our own personal kitchen experience, we usually side with the chefs that say it does very little. Marinades can definitely make a tough cut more flavorful, but they will never turn a tough cut tender.

What ingredients are used in marinade for steak?

A quick online search will provide you with hundreds of marinade recipes from simple to complex. Whichever one you choose, you’ll notice they often have four components:

  1. Salt –Kosher salt, sea salt, or something salty like sauce or Worcestershire.
  2. Oil – Because beef is naturally saturated with water, beef won’t absorb the oil in the marinade. But, you still need to use oil in a beef marinade because the herb and spice flavorings you add need oil to release their full flavor.
  3. Flavoring – Spices and herbs are your friends and they’ll add a punch of flavor! Some of our favorites are oregano, thyme, cumin, garlic, onion, and white or brown sugar.
  4. Acid – Depending on the desired flavor, many marinades have an acidic liquid like lemon juice or vinegar. The acid helps flavor the beef, not tenderize it.

How do you apply a marinade for steak?

First, choose and make a marinade recipe (or buy a marinade at the store). We recommend making ¼ to ½ cup of marinade for each one to two pounds of beef.

Then, place the marinade and meat in a sealed plastic bag or glass container so that the beef can “sit” in the liquid. We like to use 1 gallon Ziploc bags since it makes it easy to periodically flip the beef so that the marinade works in evenly. We don’t recommend using a metal container since the acidic ingredients can react with metal.

Lastly, make sure to place the container in the refrigerator as the beef marinates. Never marinate beef at room temperature.

As a side note, contrary to popular believe, beef doesn’t absorb the marinade flavor throughout the cut of beef. Rather, the flavor stays on the surface of the meat and that’s the punch of flavor that you taste with your tongue.

How long do you marinade?

Less tender cuts should be marinated for at least 6 hours, but no more than 24 hours. Tender cuts of beef, like a tenderloin, only need to be marinated for 15 minutes to 1 hour for flavor.

Can you over-marinate a steak?

Many marinades have an acidic base, which can toughen beef if it soaks for too long. Never go over 24-hours with a steak marinade. This is especially true if you’re using a fruit marinade like kiwi since marinade too long will make your beef have a mushy texture.

Do steak marinade recipes tenderize beef?

Some famous chefs say steak marinades tenderize beef, but others say they do very little, if anything. Based on our personal experience, we think marinades make a tough cut more flavorful, but they won’t turn a tough cut tender.The reason for this is because marinades are based on acids, which can actually toughen the beef if the beef “soaks” for too long. In addition, marinades only penetrate the outer layer of the beef, not the middle of it.

What cuts of beef should you use with marinades?

Marinades really shine on thin cuts of beef. They also do great with cuts of beef that are tougher and need a little extra help to soften up. As we’ve talked about before, the toughest cuts of meat are those at the steer’s leg and neck, since those muscles do most of the work. Examples of these cuts are skirt, and flank steak.

How to apply a steak rub

What to do with leftover marinade?

If you have leftover marinade, you can use it to baste the meat while cooking. However, don’t use it as a sauce while serving the meal. Remember, raw meat just sat in that liquid for several hours so it’s not safe to use as a sauce.

Easy steak marinade recipe

If you’re new to marinade for steak and want something easy to start with, here’s a good Ginger-Soy marinade that we like: 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons honey, 1 Tablespoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel.

Want something even easier to try? Get a bottle of your favorite vinegar salad dressing, add ½ teaspoon salt, and dilute it with a little water. Marinate your meat and then put it on the grill. You’ll be impressed!

Best Steak Marinade

If you’re looking for additional ideas on steak marinades, you can check out 8 of our favorite easy steak marinade recipes. Or, if you want to see a few of them now, keep scrolling.

How to apply a steak rub

What I love about this steak dry rub is it only requires a few ingredients. Rub all over the steaks, cover, and place in the fridge to season.

The Best Steak Rub

We use this dry steak rub every single time we cook steaks. It is our go-to rub. It’s a no-fail recipe that seasons your steak perfectly.

We then toss our seasoned steaks on our Green Mountain Pellet Grill. Let it sizzle and soak in the smoke for the ultimate steak at home.

How to apply a steak rub

What Seasonings To Use For Dry Steak Rub

  • Kosher Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

How to Make

Full directions for this Longhorn Steak seasoning is in the recipe card below, along with measurements.

Grab your measuring spoons and spices and create your dry rub in a bowl. Mix it all up and then liberally season all sides on the steaks.

I then place steaks on aluminum foil and tightly wrap them up. Then allow the steaks to sit in the fridge to soak up all the seasonings.

How to apply a steak rub

How Many Steaks Can You Season With This Recipe

2-4 steaks depending on the size are what you will get out of this dry rub steak recipe.

I cooked up 2 large ribeye steaks and I used all the dry rub on the steaks.

While it looks like a lot of rub mix, you really want to pack on the mixture, pressing it into the meat. It adds an insane flavor to the steak.

So every bite tastes better than ordering from your favorite restaurant.

Tips on How Long Do You Leave Dry Rub On Steaks

To be honest this answer can vary. For dry rub on steaks, we do a minimum of 4 hours all the way up to 12 hours.

The longer the rub sits on the steak, the more flavor comes out. You can even let your steaks marinade with the dry rub overnight if you prefer.

What Temperature To Cook Steaks On Pellet Grill

The hotter the better! I allow our grill to cook at 500 degrees, and fully let the grill heat up and maintain the temperature for at least 5 minutes before you toss steaks on.

As soon as you place your steaks on your hot pellet grill you hear that sizzle! This will help crisp up that dry rub on the outside while leaving you a juicy steak inside.

How to apply a steak rub

Man Grates

We use these man grates on our pellet grill. They are made to help sear the steak. But also the design allows the smoke and juice that drips down to then season the meat even more by the smoke it releases.

We have owned these for about 7 years and they still work amazing. We cook brats, burgers, steaks and more on these grates.

If you enjoy grilling you will find these man grates are worth the investment. No special cleaning required, just use your brush and clean them off before each use.

The more you cook the more seasoned they become!

How to apply a steak rub

What Steaks Are Best For Grilling

  • Ribeyes
  • Kc Strips
  • Flat Iron Steaks
  • T-bones
  • Porterhouse

The list can go on and on. Reaching for a quality steak will give you that tender and flavorful steak you want.

We generally reach for KC strips or Ribeyes when we do steaks on the grill. But feel free to use your favorite cut of meat.

Depending on where you live will also play into what is available in your area. Pair your steak with this summer berry salad!

Try my ultimate steak rub for the best steak of your life.

A good steak starts with a good rub. My favorite steak rub will do the job! I recommend making up a large batch and use it as needed.

How to apply a steak rub

What you’ll need to make my Ultimate Steak Rub:

  • Coarse salt: kosher or Argentinian salt
  • Black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika: *see notes below
  • Hatch chili powder: or New Mexico chili powder-substitute with regular chili powder

Combine ingredients in a bowl, and use on steaks and beef roasts. See below for recommended amounts.

How to apply a steak rub

How to use this Ultimate Steak Rub:

The general rule of rub usage is to use 1 tablespoon of rub per 1 pound of meat. This recipe makes enough for 2 pounds of steak.

Brush steaks with a little oil, and season both sides of the steak. Cook as directed.

Double or trip the recipe as needed. I recommend making up a large batch and storing it in an airtight jar in the cupboard. The mixture will last for a year or more if stored properly. These spice jars are my favorite for storing homemade rubs.

Notes on Paprika:

Paprika: In case you were wondering, there are, in fact, different types of paprika. First, there is sweet paprika, which is essentially “garnish” paprika. It adds color but isn’t overpowering, has a slightly sweet flavor that works well on anything from cooked meats to sauces, and appetizers like cheese dips or deviled eggs. Sweet paprika is my favorite variety to use for recipes like my ultimate steak rub.

Second, we have hot paprika, or what is known as Hungarian paprika. This type of paprika adds a punch to whatever you’re cooking. It’s well suited for heartier stews, and deep richly flavored meats. Hot paprika is more akin to powdered cayenne than to sweet paprika. Finally, we have smoked paprika or Spanish pimenton. These peppers are wood smoked, dried, powdered, and ready for use. This type of paprika is quite strong. I usually recommend mixing it with sweet paprika to even out the flavor. However, some folks love the rich, deep, earthy flavor of smoked paprika.

Herbs: Of course, you can use herbs in a steak rub, but before you add anything, think about the flavor profile you’d like to build. If you’re looking for something with a Tuscan feel, use a little dried basil or oregano. If you feel that more floral or pine flavors are suited to your palate, use a little rosemary, sage, or a spice blend like Herbs de Provence. Dried marjoram and savory are also great additions.

Best steak dry rub recipe that is simple, easy, and quick to make. This steak rub is packed full of flavor and will make the meat tender, juicy, and tasty. Learn how to make steak spice rub in simple steps.

How to apply a steak rub

Steak Dry Rub Recipe (The Best Steak Rub)

This steak dry rub seasoning is easy and quick to make taking only 5 minutes to put together.

It makes use of just 8 simple ingredients to give a flavor packed steak rub that goes with any type of beef. Whether you are using it on sirloin steak, rib eye, New York, flank steak, or lamb steak, it flavors them adequately.

The herbs and spices used for making this dry rub for steak are healthy, natural ingredients that are not expensive and usually have a long shelf life.

This homemade steak rub recipe is one that you should have handy in your kitchen cupboard for any time you want to make restaurant-quality steak.

For this recipe for steak rub, you don’t need a lot of tools to make it. Just measuring spoons to measure the ingredients, a small bowl to mix, and a spice jar to store it in! That’s it!

How to apply a steak rub

Ingredients (What is Steak Rub Made Of)

The detailed ingredient list, measurement, and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Oregano or parsley or rosemary

Brown sugar (Optional)

How to apply a steak rub

How To Make Steak Rub

Add all the ingredients into a clean dry bowl. Mix till they are well combined.

Pour in a spice jar or an airtight container.

Store in a cool dry place.

Shake the jar to mix anytime you want to use it.

How to apply a steak rub

How Do You Put Rub on Steak

Pat steak dry with paper towels then sprinkle the dry rub on the steak.

Use your fingers to rub the seasoning into the steak.

Flip the steak, apply the rub on the other side and rub it in so the meat soaks it up

Leave to sit for 30 minutes up to 8 hours or cook it immediately.

How Much Steak Rub to Use

I recommend using a tablespoon of this rub per 250g steak.

How to apply a steak rub

What To Use Steak Dry Rub On

Here are some recipes where you can use this steak dry rub on the steak before cooking:

How To Store

Pour in a spice jar, label with dates, and store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.

It will last up to 6 months or the nearest expiry date of the ingredients used.

Although dried spices and herbs have a long shelf life of about 1-2 years, it’s best not to store them for too long as they can lose flavor with age.

How to apply a steak rub

  • Ensure the measuring spoons, mixing bowl, and spice jar are properly dried before use.
  • Adjust the hotness level by using less pepper if you don’t like it or increase the quantity for more spice.
  • Use spices and herbs that are fresh and still have long expiry date. The newer the herbs and spices, the more flavor they pack.
  • To reduce the utensil you’ll need to clean up you can mix the ingredients together in the spice jar or airtight container.
  • To make it into a marinade, just add olive oil, lemon juice, and soy sauce.

How long do you leave dry rub on steak?

This depends on how much time you have before you have to cook the steak. Anytime from 30 minutes to 4 hours is good. The longer you leave the seasoning/rub on the steaks the more time it has to infuse the flavors from the rub.

Should you rub steak?

Using a good rub on steak brings out the flavor of the meat. Sprinkle and pat the rub on the steaks and leave it for a few minutes to a couple of hours to infuse flavor.

Do you put oil on steak before seasoning?

If pan frying there’s no need to brush oil on the steak before seasoning. If air frying it from frozen then brushing with oil before seasoning will help the season stick on the steak.

How much rub do you put on steaks?

A little goes a long way so I recommend a ½ tablespoon per 250g of steak.

Should you dry rub a steak?

Yes, It tenderizes and flavors the meat.

How to apply a steak rub

More Seasoning and Dry Rub Recipes

I hope you like this steak dry rub recipe as much as we do. If you find this post helpful, please rate it 5 stars and leave me a comment below. I love reading from you.

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I am sharing the Best Espresso Steak Rub today. This delicious rub is perfect for Filet Mignon but works well on any cut of steak. This rub is rich and has complex flavors.

How to apply a steak rub

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. You can see my full disclosure policy.

This recipe for espresso rub yields about 1/2 cup so it is great to store in an airtight jar and use several times. You can also double or triple the recipe.

What is a Steak Rub?

How to apply a steak rub

A steak rub is like a seasoning but rubs are used more heavily than a seasoning. A rub is a great way to add flavor and texture to meat. For best results, brush the steak with olive oil or oil of your choice before adding the rub. Coat both sides with the rub by gently pressing the steak.

My favorite cut of meat to prepare with this rub is filet mignon. This is my go-to meal when I have guests coming for dinner. It always gets rave reviews and everyone agrees that it is as good as a filet from an expensive restaurant. Also, the espresso crusted filet is so good topped with homemade compound butter. Recipe for compound butter at the bottom of the post.

I always prepare this filet recipe by using the stove to oven method. You can find many videos online showing the stove-to-oven method.

How I Use the Stove to Oven Method

How to apply a steak rub

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Apply Espresso Steak Rub to both sides of steaks that have been wiped with olive oil. Press the rub into the steaks.

Brown the steaks or filets in butter on the stovetop always using a cast-iron skillet. Brown all sides. Next, transfer the steaks in the cast-iron skillet to the heated oven. Cook until the desired temperature. I always use a digital thermometer.

Steak Temperature Chart

How to apply a steak rub

This steak temperature chart from Omaha Steaks is a great chart for the desired temperature for your steak. I shoot for 135 degrees and it usually takes 5 to 6 minutes in my oven. It is best to use a thermometer than to go by time.

How to apply a steak rub

Here on the ranch, we’re always looking for ways to take our grilling game to the next level. We try different Texas-style sauces, new cooking techniques, and recently, we’ve been creating the best dry rubs for steak.

If you’re not using dry rubs yet, now’s your chance to learn about them. They are similar to marinades because they help to enhance the flavor of your meats. They work so well that they’re quickly becoming our go-to ingredient when we cook.

Steps to Make Dry Rub

The process for making the best dry rubs for steaks is easy. And with a little bit of planning, you can make large batches to store and use over time. Here are the steps:

  1. Gather and measure all the ingredients.
  1. Using a large bowl, combine everything. Make sure to break apart any lumps.
  1. Use the rub immediately or transfer it into storage containers.

When storing, we like to use 4oz or 8oz canning jars. They have a tight seal that locks in the freshness of the rub.

How to Use a Dry Rub

Once you’ve mixed everything, it’s time to season up your steaks.

  1. Using your hands, apply a generous amount of rub to the steak. Make sure to cover every surface.
  1. Once this is done, press and massage the spices into the meat.
  1. If you have time, allow the steaks to rest for an hour before cooking.

Don’t use just any old beef. We recommend using our Premium Quality Texas Beef. It’s grass-fed, grain-finished, and always hormone and steroid-free.

What You’ll Need for Dry Rub

The ingredients for the best dry rubs for steak are simple. Feel free to experiment with the amounts and proportions. Ultimately, your tastes are what matter most.

First off, we have our Classic Steak Rub. It’s a great everyday rub that works on everything:

  • 4 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

If you’re feeling like adding some heat to your meal, try our Santa Fe Spicy Rub:

  • ¼ cup smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground black pepper

For an international flair, the Dry Chimichurri Rub is a unique take on an Argentine tradition.

  • 1 ½ tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Finally, our Red Eye Coffee Rub is packed with flavor and works perfectly on thick-cut ribeyes.

  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground coffee
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp mustard powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Tips for Move Dry Rub Flavor

Here are a few pointers when making the best dry rub for steaks.

  • Make sure you use fresh ingredients. Old herbs and spices mean less flavor, which defeats the whole point. Just remember that dried spices and herbs have a shelf life of about two years. If you’re not sure of the potency of an herb or spice, give it a smell test. If it seems old, throw it out.
  • When you’re applying your rub, just remember, the more you work the spices into the meat, the more flavorful it will be. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!
  • After you’ve applied the rub, let the steaks absorb the spices for at least an hour or even overnight. This helps the flavors penetrate deeper into the meat.

Check us out! We offer grass-fed, grain-finished, sustainably raised bulk beef and Premium Quality custom beef boxes. Each one is chock-full of all your favorite cuts. We also have tons of Texas Beef Company merchandise. Show the world that you Eat Better Beef!

This steak seasoning recipe uses smoked paprika, oregano, and cumin to add amazing flavor to any cut of steak before grilling. Rub this delicious steak seasoning onto your steak and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before you grill. Any extra rub can be stored in an airtight container for later use.


Recipe Summary

We know that a good grilled steak starts with a good dry rub — and this steak seasoning is the absolute best! You just need a few pantry staple spices and five minutes to give you the best steak you’ve ever tasted.

Seriously, you will never go back to your old way of grilling steaks again.

What Is In Steak Seasoning?

There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe when it comes to steak rubs. However, most steak seasonings are bold, smoky, and sometimes a little spicy.

To achieve this, you’ll find basic spices and seasonings like kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. This specific steak seasoning recipe also has earthy flavors (such as cumin and oregano), smoky flavors, like smoked paprika, and a hint of sweetness (like brown sugar).

How to Make Steak Seasoning

To make homemade steak seasoning, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined.

Or, if you want to make it even easier, place all the ingredients in a container with a lid. Seal the lid and shake to combine.

How to Season Steak

Before grilling, season your steaks (or other meat) with a generous amount of steak seasoning on both sides. Rub the seasoning into the meat so the steaks absorb the rub.

Allow the steaks to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before grilling to allow the flavors to come together.

How to Store Steak Seasoning

Store steak seasoning in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (like your pantry). It should remain fresh for six months — but you can check that it’s still good by giving it a quick sniff. If it doesn’t smell like anything, it’s time to toss it.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

“This is a great rub, full of flavor and just the right amount of spice. I make it by the jar full now and use it every time I grill steak,” says Chad H.

“This rub gave our filet mignon the perfect blend of savory, sweet, and spice. I made extra, and keep it in my pantry to try on other meats as well,” according to LeeshWms.

“Cooked this over the campfire this past weekend. Best steak I’ve had in my life, and at least 5 other people concurred. Definitely needs to be done on the grill to lock in that perfect smoke flavor. I used a tenderized rib-eye and due to some of the other reviews I only put in 2 Tbsp of salt. I also used a spicy smoked paprika to give that slight bite and extra smoke flavor. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend this rub,” raves Michael Pickrel.


  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Step 1

Mix kosher salt, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, brown sugar, and cumin together in a sealable container. Seal container and shake to mix.

Editor's Note:

The magazine version of this recipe uses 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.

Reviews ( 108 )

Most helpful positive review

I used this for the steak seasoning called for in the Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin recipe on this website. Delicious! Can’t wait to try it on actual steaks on the grill.

Most helpful critical review

Followed the recipe exactly. Way to much salt and cumin for me.

  • 5 star values:

I used this for the steak seasoning called for in the Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin recipe on this website. Delicious! Can’t wait to try it on actual steaks on the grill.

I made a half a recipe, because I wasn’t sure how we were going to like it. We liked it! We used it on rib eyes tonight, that hubs grilled to a perfect medium rare. I think this would be really good on chicken or ribs too.

To those that said this was too salty, you most likely used the wrong type of salt. This recipe calls for kosher salt and due to it’s crystalline structure calls for a greater volume as opposed to finer sea salt. Even different brands of kosher salt vary. Diamond Crystal is what most seasoned chefs prefer and so 3 tablespoons is appropriate for this recipe. If using fine salt you should use 1/3 the amount but it’s harder for dry rubs. Fine salt is for boiling applications. Never use iodinized salt either as it makes foods taste metallic.

Too salty as is. The salt over-powered the other spices. This recipe makes a huge amount, so I’m going to have to add more of the other spices to thin out the salt rather than dump the whole thing.

Followed the recipe exactly. Way to much salt and cumin for me.

I BBQ’d some rib steaks with this recipe. Its easy, inexpensive, and tastes excellent. Its one of those rubs that you can keep around pre-mixed for a quick BBQ night and as good as a premixed supermarket steak spice. I brushed on some olive oil on the steaks first to get some good adhesion and applied the rub with a shaker.

I have to confess I didn’t really measure ingredients on this one, but just used the list of ingredients and sort of tossed it all together. It was super. Zesty and delicious. I look forward to making this again soon.

NOTE: The ingredients and the amounts are NOT for two steaks or even four steaks. It is for many steaks. That’s why you place all the spices into a salt shaker. You mix the ingredients together to blend and then add them into the salt shaker. You shake the shaker into the steaks and then follow the directions. It also says kosher salt NOT table salt. I think the problem some of the people thought that the 3 tablespoons of salt were actually being put on those poor innocent steaks. Yes folks, 3 tablespoons of salt will kill you if it is being put on one or two or four steaks. It is meant for many, many times of use. So if you want to eliminate some of the salt, so do it. This rub is meant to be used many times, not won time. Good blend of spices compliment the steak..

I added 1 tbsp of Cayenne Pepper and 2 tbsp of Hot Chili Powder I will be making this again but will be trying it on pork chops or pork steaks. Maybe even some country style pork ribs. At any rate, the next meat I use this on will be Pork.

This was too mexican-ish tasting in my opinion. If I make this again I will leave out the oregano and cumin and add my brown sugar.

Like beer, wine, and tea, coffee is not only a popular, widely-consumed beverage — it is also great for cooking. And that includes steaks. There are many ways to season steak, whether it’s Mexican seasoning used on carne asada or the savory flavors of a Brazilian steakhouse. And steak is also quite compatible with the taste of coffee. In fact, savvy baristas know just how delicious the flavor of coffee can be when used for a rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak.

What Does Coffee Do to Steak?

The acidity in coffee does not overwhelm or overpower the taste of steak. Quite the contrary — coffee really brings out the flavor of the steak. And in addition to being used as a seasoning for steak, coffee can serve as a steak tenderizer and make the meat extra-moist.

Coffee, unless it has been decaffeinated, naturally contains caffeine — which begs the question: how much caffeine will one consume when eating rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak? In fact, the amount of caffeine that will make its way to steak via a coffee rub is negligible.

After a coffee rub has been placed on a steak, one should wait about 20 or 30 minutes before cooking it. If salt is used on the steak, it should be cooked sooner rather than later — as the salt will cause the steak’s juices to seep out, thus causing the steak to lose flavor.

Here are some delicious recipes to have on hand when getting ready to prepare rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak.

Homemade Coffee Rub

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Total time: 5 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons, instant coffee
  • 2 tablespoons, coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons, garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons, smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon, pepper
  • 1 tablespoon, crushed coriander
  • 1 tablespoon, onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon, chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon, cayenne


  1. Place all of these ingredients in a bowl and mix them until they are thoroughly integrated.
  2. If there are any clumps of seasonings, crush them using a fork.
  3. Transfer the homemade coffee rub from a bowl to an airtight container.
  4. Store the container for as long as a month.

Coffee-Rubbed Steak Recipe

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Resting time: 15 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons, coffee grounds (do not use instant coffee)
  • 4 ribeye steaks
  • 1 tablespoon, dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon, smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon, sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon, black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon, garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon, onion powder


  1. Place the coffee grounds, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl and stir until the ingredients are thoroughly integrated.
  2. After making the coffee rub, place it in an airtight container and store it for as long as a month.
  3. When ready to cook the steak, start by rubbing the coffee rub all over the steak. Roughly 1 and ½ teaspoons of coffee rub per side is about right.
  4. Leave the rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak alone until it reaches room temperature.
  5. Make sure the grill is preheated to 450F/232C.
  6. Grill the rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak for the amount of time needed. A rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak that is rare or medium-rare will, of course, require less grilling than a rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak that is well-done.
  7. After the rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak has received the amount of grilling desired — be it rare, medium-rare, or well-done — move it from the grill to a plate.
  8. Cover the steak with foil and leave it alone for 15 minutes before serving it.

Tips for Making Coffee Rub

Ideally, one should think like a barista when making the rub for a rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak, and that means using a high-quality gourmet coffee. Whole-bean coffee is preferable, and one shouldn’t grind the beans until ready to prepare the rub. But if one must use pre-ground coffee, be sure to avoid using instant coffee granules; that is, use the type of pre-ground coffee that is typically brewed with a coffee maker.

Using sea salt specifically is an important part of making the rub for rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak. Sea salt has a coarse grain, and that coarseness really brings out the flavors of the coffee rub.

The use of dark brown sugar will add some sweetness to the coffee rub and balance out the coffee flavor. But one needn’t worry about the use of brown sugar making the rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak taste sweet like a dessert. That won’t happen.

It’s OK to experiment with the ingredients used to make a coffee rub. For example, one can try adding cumin to a coffee rub recipe; cumin is used with tasty results in everything from Middle Eastern and Indian food to Cuban recipes such as arroz con pollo and fricasé de pollo . And other possibilities for a coffee rub can range from chili powder (a time-honored Texas favorite) to dried mustard.

Coffee offers a wide range of options when it comes to beverages. And chefs who have savored the pleasures of rubbed steak/coffee-rubbed steak realize that coffee can also be quite delicious when applied to food.

DRY RUBS ARE AS INTEGRAL TO DOWNHOME BARBECUE AS SMOKE. These potent mixtures of salt, pepper, spices, and oftentimes sugar.

By Jonathan Miles | Published Aug 1, 2006 4:00 AM

DRY RUBS ARE AS INTEGRAL TO DOWNHOME BARBECUE AS SMOKE. These potent mixtures of salt, pepper, spices, and oftentimes sugar cure the meat before cooking and flavor it while it’s on the fire, mingling with the juices to form an ambrosial crust. The following rub is custom-designed for wild game, with woodsy blasts of thyme and juniper, but works equally well on beef or pork. Try coating a venison flank steak (sometimes called a London broil) with this, searing it quickly on the grill until medium-rare, then slicing it across the grain into very thin, spice-edged strips. You can also make a killer Carolina-style barbecue “mopping” sauce for game by adding it to some apple cider vinegar and a little ketchup. One thing to note: Despite the name, you don’t actually want to rub this into the meat, since most of it will cling to your hands if you do. Just give it a few good pats to help it adhere.

Field & Stream’s Ultimate Wild Game Rub

Time: 10 minutes; Difficulty: Easy

¼ cup kosher salt

¼ cup ground black pepper

¼ cup sweet paprika

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed and minced

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. For best results, use your fingers to fully distribute the juniper oils. This makes 1¼ cups, enough for 8 to 10 pounds of meat. Kept away from heat and light, it will last up to six months.


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We usually don’t like to use the word "dry" when talking about our food. But there are exceptions. A dry martini? Sure. Dry-aged steak? Absolutely. Dry rubs? Oh, yes. We love dry rubs. We prefer them to marinades almost every time. That's right: When it comes to seasoning meat and developing a exceptionally-textured exterior, nothing beats a dry rub.

What is a dry rub though? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: A dry rub is a blend of seasonings and spices, without any wet ingredients, that you rub on meat. This might sound kind of like a dry brine, but we’re talking about something else entirely. Unlike a dry brine, which stays on a piece of meat for a long period of time before being rinsed off, a dry rub is usually applied to meat shortly before it is cooked.

There are varying degrees of involvement when it comes to dry rubs. The simplest dry rub we find ourselves using is made from salt, pepper, and brown sugar, which delivers a solid dose of seasoning, flavor, and sugar to be caramelized. But that’s just the baseline. You can go in just about any direction with a dry rub, as long as you include a good dose of salt and sugar.

As far as the other flavor enhancers we like to include, some heat is usually welcome—cayenne offers plenty of kick, but we also like the fruity muskiness of both sweet and hot paprika, or even mustard powder. A little bit of cumin, coriander, or black pepper lends some nice earthiness to the mix, and onion or garlic powder are almost always welcome. Crushed toasted fennel seeds, good dried oregano, tangy sumac—you can go in whichever direction you please, as long as you remember to keep a balance between all of the components. You don’t want a dry rub that’s 90 percent heat. No one’s going to enjoy that.

Dry rub, or art? Your call.

Photo by Marcus Nilsson

The big advantage of dry rubs, and the reason we love using them so much, is that they don't add any additional moisture to the exterior of a piece of meat the way that a marinade does. Whenever you apply heat to chicken thighs, pork chops, or any other piece of protein, the moisture on the surface needs to evaporate before a sear can start to develop, so dousing them in liquid beforehand doesn't make a whole lot of sense. A dry rub—which is, naturally, dry—is going to put you on a faster track to the beautifully-caramelized crust you're after.

But while a dry rub is our preferred pre-cooking treatment for meat, there's nothing wrong with incorporating a liquid element after you've gotten some browning going. We love brushing a glaze, be it a mixture of maple syrup and soy sauce or just some store-bought barbecue sauce, onto chicken thighs during the last few minutes that they're on the grill or in the oven, creating layers of complex, concentrated flavor. And we're all about finishing a grilled skirt steak with a pungent sauce once it's cooked, rested, and sliced—nobody's ever gotten mad about a drizzle of bright, herby salsa verde or chimichurri. So, yeah: It's not that we have a problem with liquids, it's just that we don't want to apply them to proteins until after it's gotten its sear on.

That’s not to say a dry-rubbed piece of protein needs a secondary element. It doesn’t. If you balance all of the elements of a dry-rub correctly, that aggressively-seasoned crackly exterior will hold its own. And by hold its own, we mean make you forget about marinades all together. Which you probably should do.

seasoning rub is a wonderful way to boost flavor when cooking meat, poultry and game – especially when on the grill. Rubs can be completely dry, or made into a wet rub or paste by adding liquids. Whichever you choose our tips and techniques will help you add spice to your cooking repertoire.

How to apply a steak rub

Dry or Wet?
Using a dry rub or a wet (paste) rub is really just a matter of preference. Dry rubs require a little moisture from the surface of the meat to stay on, but as the meat cooks and releases juices, a dry rub will create a wonderfully flavored crust. If you’re cooking meat that is somewhat dry to begin with, such as poultry, a wet rub may work better for you. Any dry rub can be converted into a wet rub by adding a bit of neutral tasting oil or other liquid to create a thick paste.

Make it
When making a rub, whether wet or dry, it’s essential to use fresh ingredients. People hold onto spices and dried herbs for far too long – if you haven’t used it in over 1 year, toss it. Rubs can be made with any combination of spices, dried herbs, dried mushrooms, salts and or/sugars. The flavor of rubs will intensify during cooking and if you add sugar to the mix you’ll also get caramelization, which adds another layer of flavor as well. Just be mindful of burning.

When using rubs, it’s best to roll up your sleeves and get in there – rubbing the mixture into and all over the meat with your hands, covering completely. Use about one tablespoon for every pound of meat. You can apply a rub right before you cook or a few hours ahead of time for basic grilling or up to 24 hours ahead if you’re hot-smoking.

Dry-rubs will stay fresh for about six months if kept in an air-tight jar in a cool, dark place. When using, always decant the portion you need from the storage jar into a small bowl to prevent contamination from your hands that have been in contact with the raw meat. Wet rubs can be stored for about one week in the refrigerator, in a covered jar. Whether wet or dry, don’t forget to date your jars.

Worldwide Rubs
Spice rubs are used in many different types of cuisine – from French to Jamaican, Chinese to Moroccan, Indian to American barbecue – it’s a great way to experiment and get creative with different flavors. When experimenting with rubs, be sure to write down the ingredients and ratios. This way when you find your ‘perfect mix’ you’ll have a record of it.

How to apply a steak rub

In barbecuing, a rub is a mix of seasoning and flavoring ingredients that are combined and applied to the outside of meat or poultry before cooking.

Rubs can be wet or dry. Like brines, barbecue rubs consist of two primary flavors: salty and sweet. You can build on those, but salty and sweet are the foundation.

Rubs Are for When You Barbecue, Not Grill

Any discussion of rubs ought, to begin with clarifying the difference between grilling and barbecuing.

Grilling is a fast, high-temperature method suitable for cooking, for example, burgers or steaks.

Barbecuing is a slow, low-temperature (typically 225 F) method you’d use to cook, for example, a whole pork shoulder or beef brisket.

This is a huge difference, and its misunderstanding leads to the misconception that rubs should be used for grilling. No! Rubs, either wet or dry, are for when you barbecue, not grill.

This is mainly because rubs will burn in the scorching heat of a grill, leaving you with a blackened, smoky mess. Sugar is one of the primary components of a rub and starts to burn at 265 F. Consider that steaks are grilled at 450 to 550 F, and even chicken is grilled at 350 to 450 F, and you'll see why rubs and grilling don't mix.

So, use rubs for low-heat barbecuing and smoking, not grilling. For high-heat grilling, stick to a simple seasoning of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

How to apply a steak rub

Flavoring Ingredients in Rubs

Beyond salt and sugar, other rub ingredients typically include garlic and onion powders, cumin, oregano, paprika, and chili powder. These last two contribute color as well as flavor. Color is important because, at 225 F, meat is not going to turn brown via the Maillard reaction, which happens at temperatures of 310 F or higher.

Since there is no set formula for the relationship between a piece of meat's weight to its surface area, there is no formula for how much rub you'll need per pound. You simply want enough to cover the entire surface. Any excess simply won't stick and will fall off. Fortunately, dry rub keeps for a few months in a cool, dry place, so make extra.

We can, however, talk in terms of ratios. In general, a good rub recipe will combine equal parts (by weight) of salt, black pepper, sugar, chili powder (including paprika and chipotle powder) and aromatics (such as garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano, mustard powder, and so on).

Wet vs. Dry Rubs

In a sense, the choice of wet vs dry is mainly a choice relating to the flavor. Which is to say, there is no way to add the flavor of Worcestershire sauce without using Worcestershire sauce. And since Worcestershire sauce is wet, you're using a wet rub. The same goes for citrus juice or vinegar.

Beyond that, liquid applied to the surface of a piece of meat is going to evaporate very quickly when exposed to heat. But though the liquid may evaporate, the flavor compounds it contained still remain. Thus the liquid is merely the medium for applying the flavor.

Oil (another liquid) doesn't evaporate—but other ingredients don't dissolve in it, either. Therefore, an oil-based rub (dry ingredients moistened with oil and formed into a paste) is using oil as a glue to adhere the dry ingredients to the surface of the meat.

And remember, the flavors of the rub aren't going any deeper than the outer millimeter or two of meat. That's why spice rubs need to be bold. You're trying to apply enough flavor to the surface of the meat to season the entire meat.

Note too that when discussing the difference between wet and dry rubs, that is not the same as the difference between wet and dry barbecue. The former relates to the form of rub that is used, while the latter has to do with the use of sauce—either during the cooking, at the table, or both.

Sweetness Is the Key to Barbecue Rubs

Speaking of wet vs dry, molasses is a great ingredient for making wet rubs. As the byproduct of refining raw sugar into granulated white sugar, molasses functions both as a glue and as a medium for sweetness. And remember, because barbecue is a slow, low-temperature affair, you don't have to worry about the sugar burning.

Brown sugar (which is what you get if you mix white sugar with molasses) is a standard foundation for dry rubs. Because it is slightly moist, it forms a good glue between the meat and other ingredients in the rubs. Maple sugar and turbinado sugar are also good choices.

The best Steak Seasoning recipe that makes use of few ingredients. This easy steak rub adds flavor and makes your meat delicious. Let me show you how to make steak seasoning from scratch.

This homemade steak seasoning is perfect on meat like my instant pot steak, or on lamb or pork. I will be posting my pan-fried steak and grilled steak recipes soonest so I thought it’s best to give you this steak dry rub recipe first.

How to apply a steak rub

My family loves meat and we literally eat meat with every meal. This all-purpose steak seasoning is one that we use when we need to quickly pan sear steak, or even stir fry vegetables for weekday meals or weekend dinner.

There are varieties of steak rub from Montreal steak seasoning to Canadian, Chicago steak seasoning, Texas roadhouse seasoning to mention a few. This recipe is my favorite and it’s so easy to make.

What is Steak Seasoning

Steak seasoning is a mixture of herbs, spices, and salt that is used as a dry rub for meat. Like I mentioned above, there are different variations including the Brazilian steak seasoning, Montreal seasoning which contain ingredients like garlic, black pepper, kosher salt, coriander.

This seasoning can be used on meat and also on sauteed vegetables or on chicken. I like to make my seasonings at home because I can control and adjust the ingredients and I know exactly what goes in it. No artificial flavor, it’s made fresh and it is so much cost-effective.

How to apply a steak rub

What Spices Go well with Steak

There are different spices and herbs go w that goes well with steak and make it tasty and juicy. Some of these are black pepper, thyme, rosemary, ginger, and paprika. They are the secret to achieving beef that is moist, tender, and juicy. When used in the right proportion, your meat will be full of flavors and will rival any steak from the best restaurants.

Steak Seasoning Recipe

This amazing seasoning makes use of fewer than 10 ingredients and takes just 5 minutes to put together. It is great on beef or any type of meat, it can be used on rib eye, flank steak, lamb steak, liver steak. It can also be used on vegetables, chicken, and pork. This easy seasoning recipe is one that you should make and keep in your spice rack because it can be used on all meat.

This recipe does not use any fancy equipment. All you need are a bowl, measuring spoons, and an airtight spice jar to store your seasoning in.

How to apply a steak rub


Detailed ingredient list, measurements and directions is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Kosher, Sea or Table Salt

Onion powder (optional)

How to apply a steak rub

How to Make Steak Seasoning

This steak seasoning is made using ingredients from your pantry. To make this spice blend, you need to ensure that your mixing bowl and measuring spoons are dry. Although you can adjust the ratio of each spice to suit your taste, I advise you to follow these measurements, taste, and adjust afterward.

Dry the mixing bowl and measuring Spoons then measure out all the ingredients.

How to apply a steak rub

Add all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix till well combined.

How to apply a steak rub

It’s ready to use. Store in a spice jar or airtight container.

You can blend in a dry mill for smoother texture if you prefer.

How do you use Steak Seasoning

This seasoning can be used in my

To make a marinade from your steak seasoning, simply add olive oil to your dry rub and add to your meat and let it rest before cooking. Making the dry rub into a marinade ensures even distribution of the spice blend. I like to brush my steak with olive oil and sprinkle my dry rub on it but when grilling, my husband prefers to use the seasoning as a marinade.

How to Store

Like most dry rubs, you can store in an airtight container, label, and store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight. You can store this spice blend for up to 12 months but because of the ease to make this seasoning, you can make it in small batches so it keeps fresh.

  • Add some oil to the dry spice blend when you want to apply, this makes a great marinade for meat, chicken, or pork.
  • Make sure mixing bowl, spoons and containers are properly dried before use.
  • Avoid moist, wet tools in preparing this seasoning mix.
  • Use airtight container or spice jar to store your homemade jerk marinade.
  • Store away from direct heat or direct sunlight so as to prevent flavor loss.
  • To keep spices fresher for longer, It’s best to make in small batches so they are not stored for too long. That way it remains fresh.

Does salt make a steak tough?

Salt will not make your steak tough and chewy. The kosher salt in this recipe will make your steak extra tender and juicy, if you season your meat for at least 45 minutes.

How long do you leave the dry rub on steak?

Where you can, seasoning your meat with the dry rub at least 15 minutes before grilling. This will allow the meat to absorb the flavor and make your steak more flavorful and juicy.

More Dry rub Seasoning Recipes

If you find this recipe helpful, rate it 5 stars and leave me a comment below.

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How to apply a steak rub

How to apply a steak rub


We hate to break it to you, but you may not be cooking your steak correctly. Have you ever wondered how to prepare a steak so that you maximize its natural flavor? Maybe you’re that person who dumps a pile of seasonings or steak rub on the meat and calls it a day, but you may be missing one pivotal step that’s so simple: salting your steak.

With the help of two acclaimed chefs, we concluded that salt is the secret ingredient that helps pulls all of a steak’s distinctive flavors out so you have an irresistible dish every single time. We feel that the simple step of salting your steak the right way can make a world of difference to the final result. Once you learn how to salt a steak for maximum flavor, you’ll ditch those seasoning bottles STAT.

How does salt make such a big difference in the flavor of steak?

“Salt enhances flavors in all foods,” says Vincent Olivieri, director of culinary development and chef de cuisine at Fairway Market Cafe and Steakhouse.

But how, specifically, does that apply to a hunk of steak?

“Salt releases moisture in the muscle [of the meat] and releases the natural flavors of steak,” says Tender Greens chef and Vice President of Stores, Pete Balistreri.

How to apply a steak rub


When should you salt your steak?

Balistreri says to always salt your steak right before cooking.

“Salt will begin to cook the steak’s surface and release moisture from the muscle if salted too far in advance. Ideally, we want to keep the juices in the steak by salting right before we cook,” Balistreri says.

“It’s always good to salt a steak prior to cooking to dry the outside,” says Olivieri. “A dry steak will give you a crispy sear.”

Can you overdo or underdo the amount of salt you use on your steak?

“Absolutely! The thicker the cut, the more salt needed,” Balistreri says. “If you are cooking a thick ribeye or New York steak, you’ll need a little more salt than if you are cooking a thin skirt steak. When salting, it’s important to salt well above the steak and ‘make the salt rain.’ This allows for even coverage and avoids concentrated spots of salt.”

Olivieri says that when it comes to larger roasts, like prime rib, you should go heavy on the salt because the fat will absorb most of it and give you that crispy crust that everyone loves to eat. Who doesn’t want that?

How to apply a steak rub


OK got it, so it depends on the thickness of the steak. What types of steak call for less salt?

“If the Kobe Beef or Wagyu is a standard grilling steak, I would recommend slightly less on the salt, as the fat will cause that beef to be very delicate,” says Balistreri. “For the standard certified grass-fed steak, it’s more about the thickness of the steak than the type.”

And if you’re using a tougher cut of meat, you might need to use a lighter touch.

“When dealing with a more tough cut, like something that requires a marinade, go lighter on the salt and heavier on an acid. Whether it be lemon juice, vinegar, or wine, leave the salt light until the end, and season to your liking,” says Olivieri.

Is there a specific amount of salt you use?

“I usually give a light sprinkling, making sure to cover all the meat. I’d say the most important aspect of salt application is the quality of your salt. At the Steakhouse, we use imported flaky French sea salt, Maldon. Large crystals [of sea salt] are strictly used for finishing, adding that flavor and a crunchy texture,” says Olivieri. 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e

How to apply a steak rub


Wait, what is finishing salt, and why is it important?

“Just as important as seasoning the steaks right before you cook them, a great finishing sea salt larger than the kosher salt you use prior to grilling will make a world of difference to the finished experience. These finishing salts go a long way and should be used lightly. There are many types of finishing salts: smokey, spicy, sweet, and standard,” says Balistreri. This is an easy way to switch up the taste of steak if you’re into trying new flavors.

Recap: How to salt a steak like a chef

Both chefs provided a great deal of information, so let’s take a step back and review the key points. You should salt your steak right before you throw it on the grill, as this will allow the juices to stay intact for optimal flavor. Thicker cuts of steak will typically need more salt than thinner cuts. The exception? A thicker steak that requires an already salt-filled marinade—you’ll want to cut back the salt and swap in an acidic liquid such as lemon juice or wine. There you have it folks, your next steak just got that much tastier, all thanks to the humble salt. Now, let’s fire up the grill!

How to apply a steak rub

Why do my beef rubs taste slightly different on different parts of my beef? Should I throw out the spice rub that I made last month? These are a couple of questions that I have asked myself after I would make a beef rub and use it. If you’re on the lookout for new recipes , then continue on!

How to apply a steak rub

​There are as many different dry rubs, as there are meat cuts to cook: rib rub, steak seasoning or steak rub, pork rub, bbq rub, smoked beef brisket dry rub, tri tip rub, smoked chicken rub – and this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are like me and have asked these questions, then this dry rub recipe and steps below for the best beef rub I have ever used will help you like it helped me. It has many different ingredients, and all of them are extremely essential to the amazing flavor they give. This is one of the easiest yet tastiest meat rubs I’ve ever tried, it includes simple ingredients and you will not have any problems following these easy steps even if this is your first time !

​The steps the recipe has give exact instructions so that your good steak will become perfect every time

What you will need to follow this ​ best beef rub ​ recipe :

Alternatives to Ingredients

Paprika: Chipotle powder can be a good substitute. However, it has a naturally smoky flavor compared to paprika. Another choice is a pinch of cayenne pepper powder. Only use a pinch because this is much stronger compared to paprika.

Mustard powder: Wasabi powder and horseradish powder are good substitutes because they are both pretty strong, like mustard powder. Both of them also share similar consistencies. The downsides with them are that wasabi is a little hotter/spicier, and horseradish has a slightly sour taste compared to the mustard powder.

Onion powder: For every teaspoon of onion powder you use, use 1 tablespoon of onion flakes. The flavor will pretty much be exactly the same.

Garlic powder: For every 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder, you can use 1/2 a teaspoon of garlic flakes. Another replacement is using 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic for every 1/8 teaspoon or garlic powder that would have been used.

Dried basil: If you are out of dried but have fresh, you can always use fresh. Use 1 tablespoon of fresh basil for every teaspoon of dried basil you would have used. If you do not have dried or fresh basil, used oregano or thyme. The flavor will be slightly off, but the general taste will get as close as you can get, and the dried/fresh substitutions can be used for these herbs as well.

Dried bay leaf: The dried/fresh herb rule can be applied here as well. If you have neither, use the same amount with thyme. The only difference is that you might taste a slightly minty flavor; that is the thyme.

Ground coriander seeds: Cumin, fennel, and caraway seeds can all be a substitute for ground coriander seeds, and you can even mix them together to get a closer taste. Use the same amount of the substitute as you would the ground coriander seeds, even if you are combining them.

Dried savory: Like with the ground coriander seeds, there are three different substitutes that can be used separately or combined: thyme, marjoram, and/or sage. The rule of using the same amount is applied.

Dried thyme: Basil, marjoram, oregano, or savory are all good substitutes. Oregano is stronger and a little more bitter than the others. Savory works better as a substitute, but choose the right one. Summer savory is more accurate because it has a slight peppery taste, like thyme, while winter savory has a more piney taste.

Ground cumin: Chili powder can be a good substitute for ground cumin, as long as you make sure not to increase the amount. This can make the rub a lot spicier than intended. The better option would be caraway seeds because they share much of the same flavor.

How to apply a steak rub

Step 1: Mix together all ingredients

When doing this step, you want to make sure that you don’t let some of the ingredients clumps because this will cause inconsistent flavoring. There are two simple methods to prevent this: a whisk or a sifter.

Make sure you use a large enough bowl. If you are using a whisk, put all ingredients in the bowl and carefully begin to whisk, and make sure not to do it too fast or the ingredients will fly everywhere.

Do this until you are satisfied. If you are using a sifter, put the sifter over the bowl, add the ingredients and begin sifting. Then, stir and repeat the process until you are satisfied.

Step 2: Use on beef the night before you are going to cook

After you prepare your beef, lay it on a flat surface. Then, take the spice rub and lightly sprinkle it over the meat. Using your hand, mostly the fingers, rub and massage the rub into the entire surface of the meat. (Make sure your hands are properly washed) Next, flip the steak and repeat the process.

Try to apply the rub as evenly as possible, and it will taste even better. Once it is seasoned, wrap the beef in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag and put it in the fridge. Most beef should be in there for no more than 24 hours. The longer it is sitting, the deeper the flavors will travel in the beef.

Step 3: Store in an airtight jar

If you store your rub mix in an airtight jar, the seasonings will keep their flavor longer, allowing you to use them on a later date. If you used fresh herbs and spices, or recently dried herbs and spices, and then stored the rub right away, they can even stay good for up to a year.

Start to check the rub six months after storing it to know if it still has a fresh smell and taste. Also, make sure to date the jar when you store it so you know how much longer until you can use it.

How to apply a steak rub

Did those ingredients make your mouth water at the thought of eating a piece of juicy beef with this rub? This certainly helped me with how I should have been mixing and apply my dry rubs. Just following those three simple steps are enough to help your beef taste that much better. You can use this dry rub recipe for beef ribs , as a steak rub , bbq rub , any other beef recipes or maybe even as a pork chops spice rub , but this is something that should definitely be in your spice cabinet and on your brisket rub recipes list.

If you liked the article and know someone who could use a new beef rub recipe and these tips, feel free to share it. If you tried the recipe or want to share your thoughts on anything mentioned, feel free to leave a comment for us.

How to apply a steak rub

1. Buy some good quality steaks. I love the steaks at Snake River Farms, trust me, Dad will LOVE anything from SRF. The steaks I used for this post are Cowboy Steaks, aka Bone In Rib Eye Steak. They are about 2 1/2 inches thick and are bone-in, weighing in at about 2-2.5 lbs each.

2. Mix up the dry rub in about 2 minutes. Double the recipe if you want to package up some of the extra dry rub mix in a cute little container to give to Dad. Buy a BBQ spatula, tie a ribbon around it, along with the homemade dry rub mix.

How to apply a steak rub

3. Invite Dad over for a bbq, give him the dry rub mix and spatula. Cook up the steaks and prepare to be Dad’s new favorite child.

How to apply a steak rub

ABK’s Dry Steak Rub


  • Double if giving away as a gift!
  • 2 tablespoons paprika regular or smoked
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3-4 tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon thyme optional
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar if using as a rub for ribs
  • For best results apply rub 24 hours before serving meat.


Recipe Notes

-It is best to apply the dry rub for at least 24 hours before cooking the meat, or at least 2 hours before.

-You may also use garlic salt and onion salt, in place of powders, if doing so, omit the sea salt.

-Target often sells cute glass containers perfect for bottling spices in their $1 section right in the front of the store.

Instructions for cooking Cowboy Steak: You will need the rub ingredients above and 1-2 lb steak to feed approx 2-3 people (depending on amounts of side dishes and how hungry you all are!) Butter, about 1 tablespoon Turn grill to medium high. Cook the steak for about 4 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook meat for about 15 minutes, turning every 4-5 minutes. The temperature of the grill should be about 400 degrees. After about 12-15 minutes, insert meat thermometer in center of steak it should register 115-125 for medium rare. Remove from grill. Quickly spread the butter (about 1 tablespoon) on top of the steak. Let sit on a serving plate for a full 15 minutes, covered loosely in foil before cutting. The steak will continue cooking after being removed from heat. The steak may also be cooked in an oven (use temperature guidelines in recipe). Sear the meat on both sides on stove with a little olive oil in a pan before placing in oven.

Homemade beef jerky is great to have around, but it’s not something you can quickly whip up every time you get a craving for it. Most jerky requires a lengthy marinade to maximize the flavors.

But our steak dry rub beef jerky doesn’t!

No more messy marinades and endless waiting — just prep your beef, mix that dry rub in and dehydrate it. You could even take a page out of our book and prepare a batch in the morning so you can have it for lunch!

It couldn’t be easier (or tastier) to make your own steak dry rub beef jerky. Here’s the full guide!

Steak Dry Rub Beef Jerky Ingredients

How to apply a steak rub

You only need two ingredients to make this recipe:

  • your favorite cut of beef .

Seriously, that’s it!

Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon dry rub is a fantastic blend of sweet brown sugar, rich bourbon, spicy red pepper and savory garlic and onion. It’s all pre-mixed, so you don’t have to do anything to get the flavors flowing.

You can use any cut of beef you want, but you’ll get the best results from lean cuts. That’s because fat spoils a lot faster than beef does, so fatty jerky won’t keep in storage for very long.

To make our steak dry rub beef jerky, we used our favorite cut: eye of round. If you want to switch it up, try tender sirloin tip or hearty top or bottom round.

Getting the Beef Ready

Trimming the Fat

How to apply a steak rub

Get a sharp knife and start cutting away at any fat on your beef.

It can be tempting to skip the tiny or tricky bits of fat, but it’s important to take the time to get everything you can. The more thorough you are, the longer your jerky will last.

Freezing and Slicing the Beef

Once you’ve trimmed all the fat, put your beef in the freezer for an hour or two. This makes it much easier to slice.

When you’re ready to slice, cut the beef into thin strips, going against or across the grain. Try to keep your slices under ¼ inch thick; any thicker and they’ll take too long to dry.

Adding the Dry Rub

How to apply a steak rub

Now we’re ready to add that killer brown sugar bourbon flavor to our beef! Just sprinkle your preferred amount of the dry rub onto the beef and mix it in until the beef is evenly coated.

McCormick recommends using 1 tablespoon of Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon per 1 pound of beef, but you’re free to adjust the ratio to your liking. Keep in mind that your beef will shrink considerably while drying, so a little dry rub goes a long way!

Dehydrating the Beef

We use a food dehydrator to make our beef jerky because it’s affordable, easy to clean and super-simple to use. You can get one on Amazon or at most big box stores.

How to apply a steak rub

  • EVEN HEAT DISTRIBUTION: 600 watts of drying.
  • EXPANDABLE TO 12 TRAYS: Comes with four (13.
  • VITASAVE EXTERIOR: The opaque exterior blocks.
  • ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: (2) Fruit Roll Sheet.

If you’d rather not use a dehydrator, you can dry your beef in a regular oven or electric smoker. Just be aware that oven-dried beef jerky tends to taste more “cooked” than regular beef jerky, and that drying it in a smoker will add an extra 2 hours or so to your drying time.

How to apply a steak rub

To make our steak dry rub beef jerky, we arranged our beef on the dehydrator trays and dried it at 160 degrees F for 6 hours. This resulted in tender jerky with a slight crisp to it — just the way we like it!

Your jerky may take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to fully dehydrate, depending on the thickness of the beef and your personal preferences. Thinner beef dries quicker than thicker beef.

Once the jerky’s dried for 4 hours, check it for doneness every 30 minutes or so. You’ll know it’s done when you can bend a piece without breaking it.

How to apply a steak rub

Step-by-Step Instructions

Makes 5 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 4-10 hours

1. Trim the fat from the beef as thoroughly as you can.
2. Chill the beef in the freezer for 1-2 hours.
3. Cut beef against the grain in slices no thicker than ¼ inch.
4. Add the Grill Mates Brown Sugar Bourbon dry rub and coat the beef thoroughly.
6. Dry the beef in a food dehydrator at 160 degrees F for 4-10 hours, checking every 30 minutes. The jerky is done when it bends without breaking.

Spice rubs are a simple way to add loads of flavour to food, especially on the barbecue. Read on to find out how to make your own for chicken, pork, beef, and more.

What is a spice rub?

Rubs are flavoured seasoning mixes made from dried herbs, spices, sugar and salt. They might contain just a few ingredients, or be made from a complex cocktail of different elements, all harmoniously coming together to create a new taste. Rubs are used a lot on barbecued foods, but also work well with roasted meats and pan-seared items.

How to use a spice rub

There are two main ways to use a spice rub.

1) Apply the rub several hours or days before cooking. This way, it becomes more of a marinade, and really penetrates the food. This method will give you deep layers of flavour and tenderise cuts of meat, so it’s great for large pieces of meat and poultry. But, this method doesn’t work with delicate fish or veg. To apply the rub, gently massage or ‘rub’ it into the meat, as the name suggests.

2) The other option is to season food with a rub by sprinkling it over just before cooking. This will add a milder surface layer of flavour, and is ideal for delicate foods, such as fish or barbecued veg.

If you like, you can also sprinkle a rub over charcoal to create an aromatic smoke that will lightly flavour barbecued foods.

How to make a spice rub

Whether you call it a rub, seasoning or spice mix, there are infinite ways to combine dry ingredients to flavour food. But, when you’re barbecuing, ensure that you base your rub on these four key flavour profiles, so you’ll always have a well-balanced seasoning.


Use sugar as a base. The type and darkness will determine the depth of flavour it brings – dark brown sugar will be more treacly than white sugar. Sugar also helps with surface caramelisation, and builds a crust on food. It’s not essential, but it’s usually included in barbecue rubs.


To provide the most prominent flavour in a rub, think aromatic spices like cumin, fennel seeds, coriander, garlic powder, onion powder and mushroom powder, or dried herbs, like oregano and rosemary. Don’t worry about toasting the spices first, as they’ll wake up when they’re heated on the barbecue.


Peppery heat can bring a rub alive, and when you make your own, you can be in control of how hot it is. Dried chillies, chilli powder and cayenne pepper are obvious choices, but different types of pepper, mustard powder, powdered ginger and wasabi powder will all add heat, too. Choose one that fits the flavours you’re working with.

This enhances all the other flavours, and if you’re leaving the food to ‘marinate’, salt will transform the rub into a cure. But, if you’re on a low-salt diet or simply cutting down your intake, salt-free rubs will still add flavour.

The most important question to ask yourself when cooking a steak is what cut is best for a rub. The center or top of the steer is the best cut for a rub. While the center of the steer doesn’t get much work, the top will be tender and juicy. If you want a juicy steak, go with filet mignon. The N.Y. strip is also a good choice.

If you want a more robust flavor, try a dry rub. You can use a dry rub for meat that’s thick and has a bone. To use a dry rub, apply it to the meat at least 1 inch thick and then use your hands to spread the spices evenly. If you’re using a rub on any type of meat, make sure to leave it on for several hours or up to 36 hours.

A dry steak rub is made up of spices that provide intense flavor to meat. You can use this type of rub on almost any type of beef, as long as it’s thick and doesn’t have a bone. The best cuts for a dry-rub are thick-cuts and ones that cook quickly. When experimenting with a rub, you should use beef tri-tip, which is ideal for cooking against the grain and searing the outside.

Other Good Cuts For Rubbing

Another popular cut for a rub is a beef tri-tip. This is a triangular-shaped piece of meat that comes from the bottom sirloin. Because it is a thin cut, it’s ideal for marinating and experimenting with different flavors. The best way to use a dry rub is to apply it to a thin slice of meat against the grain. This allows for a more concentrated rub to penetrate the meat.

Dry rubs can be very flavorful, and are best used on meat that is already thick. The best cuts for dry rubs are beef tri-tips and ribeye steaks. They’re also perfect for grilling vegetables. Whether you’re using a dry rub on beef or a marinade, you’ll be satisfied with the results. And if you want to experiment with a new flavor on a steak, the tri-tip is a great place to start.

If you’re looking for a dry rub, you can find it in the grocery store. The best cuts for dry rubs are those with a bone. Ideally, these cuts will be thicker than others. If you’re experimenting with a new spice, try a dry rub on a steak that has a bone in it. It will be more flavorful and tender when served against the grain.

How to apply a steak rub

This homemade steak rub is the perfect combination of spices to take your grilled steaks to the next level! Made with only 5 spices and free from sugar or caffeine, this is truly the best steak rub. Say good-bye to boring grilled steaks!

How to apply a steak rub

This is one of those recipes that gets passed around and around. Someone shared it with my Mom years ago and she recently shared it with me. I am sure the chain links far and wide because this steak rub is seriously ridiculous good.

Not only is it totally free of sugar and caffeine but it’s literally made with five spices that I guarantee you already have in your pantry.


  1. Kosher Salt
  2. Black Pepper
  3. Smoked Paprika
  4. Garlic Powder
  5. Turmeric

How to apply a steak rub

We have used this homemade steak rub on everything from ribeyes, strip steaks, flank steak, tri-tip, and even London broil. It’s goooooooood on all of it. Start with about 1/2 tablespoon per steak. Add more if you need to but a little goes a long way. If you use too much, your steaks will be too salty and have a major kick.

Make sure to serve your steak with my Homemade Steak Sauce – it’s junk-free and easy to make!


Since you are making steak for dinner, let me share some of my favorite side dishes:

I can’t wait to hear how you use this steak rub and what you think of it. Whatever you do, make sure you print it and keep passing it on 😉

This Texas Roadhouse Steak Seasoning Recipe is very easy to make. Simple ingredients are needed to make this seasoning.

How to apply a steak rub

Copycat Texas Roadhouse Steak Seasoning:

We love going to Texas Roadhouse for the steaks. When we are celebrating a birthday or a special occasion, Texas Roadhouse is where we go.

Since I have a large family, I had to figure out why there steaks were so good. This way I can make them at home.

The Texas Roadhouse seasoning recipe was so easy to make and had simple ingredients. The best part is that I had all the ingredients to make the seasoning and now my kids want me to make them steak instead of going out.

How to apply a steak rub

When to put Dry Rub on a Steak:

You can apply the Texas Roadhouse steak rub at two different times. It all depends on what works for you and your family.

  • Apply about 45 minutes before grilling – About 45 minutes from when you are about to grilling your steaks, apply the steak seasoning on the steak. The seasoning absorbs into the steak making it very tender and flavorful.
  • Marinate overnight – Apply the dry seasoning the night before you are grilling the steaks and place them in the refrigerator. Your steak may seem dry in the morning, but it did not lose much moisture.

How to apply a steak rub


  • Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Salt
  • Tumeric
  • Cornstarch

How to make Texas Roadhouse Seasoning:

  • Place all the ingredients in a zip lock bag. I love using freshly ground medium size pepper.
  • Seal the bag and shake to thoroughly combine all the ingredients together.
  • Generously rub the seasoning mixture onto your steak of choice.
  • Let the steak sit with the seasoning on it for at least 40 minutes and then grill and enjoy!

How to apply a steak rub

How to use Texas Roadhouse Rub:

Texas Roadhouse Seasoning can be used on other food items. Try the seasoning on these options the next time you grill out:

  • GrilledChicken
  • Shrimp
  • Sprinkle on your roasted vegetables
  • Add some to your favorite french fries

How to apply a steak rub

Best cuts of Steak for Grilling:

The next time you want to grill a juicy steaks, make sure you are selecting the right one. These are the ones we recommend:

  • Top Sirloin
  • Filet Mignon
  • Ribeye
  • New York Strip

How to Grill Steaks:

  • Quality Meat – Make sure when you plan to grill that you buy good quality steaks.
  • Prepare your Grill – Heat your grill up. Make sure that when you are putting your steaks on the grill that is extremely hot.
  • Cook Fast – When we are grilling, my husbands just stays out by the grill. You will cook your steak for about 4 minutes and then flip and grill for another 4 minutes.
  • Let Steak Rest – It is very important to let your steak rest after grilling. We usually let it rest for about 5-6 minutes after the steaks come off the grill. This locks in the juice so your steak is nice and juicy.

How to apply a steak rub

The Right Temperature for Steaks:

Make sure your have a meat thermometer to get the best temperature. Learn How to Grill Steaks here.

  • Rare – 120F, cool to warm red center
  • for Medium Rare – 130F, Warm red center
  • Medium – 140F, Hot pink center
  • Medium Well – 150F, Mostly brown center
  • Well Done – 160F, full brown in color

How to Store:

Keep any leftover seasoning mixture in a empty spice jars or bag to easily fit seasoning. This recipe is enough steak seasoning for 2-3 steaks depending on the size of your steaks.

A rub is a combination of spices, seasonings and herbs that add flavor and texture to meats. The rub seals in the flavor of the meat, and help form a tasty crust.

Like marinades, rubs add flavor to food before cooking, however rubs provide stronger flavors than marinades, which consists of oils with an acidic liquid, such as vinegar and citrus juice.

Dry rubs will not burn on the grill the way marinades do, this makes dry rub for ribs or a pork roast rub perfect for meat that require long cooking times, such as pulled pork.

The best pork or steak rub recipe are often a combination of strong and mild spices and herbs that enhance the flavor and color of the meat without over powering the taste of the meat.

Dry rubs become paste when ingredients such as oil, crush garlic, mustard, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or horse radish is added.

There are endless combination’s of rub recipes you can make, the trick is finding a blend you really like. Start by trying some recommended recipes, than experiment by adding or changing a spice or herb to your taste and maybe create your own bbq rub recipe.

Rubs can be applied right before cooking, but applying rubs 1 to 4 hours before cooking and storing in the refrigerator, in a plastic food bag, helps the spices penetrate deeper into the meat.

The best way to apply a rub is to lightly massage directly into food, or sprinkle heavily onto meat.

Dry Rub Recipes

Dry Rub Tips

  • Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of rub for each pound or 1/2 kg of meat.
  • Dry rubs can be mixed and stored in an airtight container up to 3 months or in the freezer up to 8 months before they lose their flavor and intensity, can be used when you need it.
  • Keep a record of the different spices and amounts of each used for future recipes.
  • When mixing and storing rubs, record the date on the container storing the rub.
  • You can freeze meat after applying a rub, just thaw and enjoy at a later time.
  • Don’t reuse remaining rub after it has been in contact with meat.

Can’t find a cut of meat or recipe you are looking? In the Google search box simply just enter the word you are in search of.

Share Your Dry Rub Recipe.

Do you have favorite dry rub recipe that you would like to share with others? Share with us your favorite dry rub recipes, tips or reviews.

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It’s easy to be a carnivore if you have the budget to enjoy the best cuts of meat. Premium cuts like strip steaks, lamb rib chops or pork tenderloin are versatile and easy to work with, but they’ll also put a big dent in your budget.

Cheaper cuts like chuck are easier on your budget, but a whole lot harder to chew. Meat tenderizer powder can help bridge that gap, making your low-cost cuts a lot tenderer and more enjoyable.

What Exactly Is Meat Tenderizer?

Meat tenderizer powder usually contains a few ingredients such as salt, sugar or cornstarch, but those are only there to provide some bulk. The active ingredient is an enzyme, or protease if you’re a food scientist, that weakens the bonds between protein molecules and makes them easier to sever.

Several kinds of fruit produce those enzymes naturally, including kiwis and figs, but the two enzymes used most often are derived from papayas and pineapples. The papaya enzyme is called papain, and the pineapple enzyme is bromelain; both are widely used. Adolph’s tenderizer and McCormick brand tenderizer both use bromelain, for example.

You’ll sometimes see recipes calling for “meat tenderizer spice,” which is a seasoned version of regular tenderizing powder. The manufacturer adds various spices and flavorings to the mixture, creating a flavor profile that goes well with most meats.

How Meat Tenderizer Powder Works

The toughness or tenderness of a piece of meat isn’t just a question of perception. Scientists actually measure it, in the form of “shear force.” Basically, it means how much pressure you have to apply to sever the muscle fibers from one another. A really tender cut, like a filet mignon, chews without a whole lot of shear force. A tough one, like a chuck steak, requires quite a lot of shear force.

The enzymes in tenderizing powder denature the proteins in the meat, weakening the bonds that hold the muscle fibers together. That reduces the shear force required to cut or chew the meat, or, to put it another way, it makes the meat tenderer. The effect is limited to about the first quarter-inch of the meat, so it’s helpful for steaks and chops but not so much with roasts and other thick cuts.

Using the Tenderizer Powder

Using your tenderizer powder couldn’t be simpler. Sprinkle the powder evenly over your meat, pierce the surface a few times with a fork so the enzyme can penetrate, and then start cooking. Heat activates the enzyme and begins to break down the proteins immediately.

If you wish, you can incorporate a bit of tenderizer powder into a dry spice rub or a liquid marinade. This helps distribute the enzyme evenly, so you don’t get random patches of tender and not-tender.

Don’t let the enzyme sit on the meat for more than a few minutes, or up to 30 minutes for a really thick steak. If the enzyme stays on your meat for too long before it’s cooked, you can end up with too much tenderization. If that happens, your meat will develop a weird and rather unpleasant mushiness.

Double-Down for Maximum Tenderness

Tenderizing powders aren’t the only way to make a tough cut tender. Pounding your piece of meat with a meat mallet tenderizes it by tearing the muscle fibers apart with blunt force. The needle-type or “Jaccard” tenderizer device cuts the muscle fibers, shortening them and making them easier to bite through.

For the biggest impact, your best bet is to use a mallet, Jaccard tenderizer or other meat tenderizer tool on the steak first. Then, when you apply the tenderizer powder, the surface of the meat will be filled with punctures or tears where the enzyme can penetrate and do its work.