With a flavorful spice rub, turn tonight’s steak into your own signature menu item. Creating your own rub simply involves combining your selection of ingredients in the right balance for the flavor you have in mind. It’s a fun way to add a little bit of this and that.
Here is our guide to making a great spice rub in your own kitchen:
What’s a rub?
A spice rub is exactly what it sounds like: a blend of dry ingredients “rubbed” into a protein to add flavor. The elements typically include salt, spices, dry herbs, and sometimes sugar.
A dry rub adds flavor and texture to your food and is great for grilling, roasting, or broiling on high heat. For low-and-slow cooking, such as short ribs, chuck roast, or brisket, be sure to add some liquid to make the meat tender.
Experiment with whole spices
If you want to elevate your rub, begin with some whole spices, such as cumin seeds, pink peppercorns, or mustard seeds. They have a richer flavor and aroma and stay fresher for longer.
Start by toasting the whole spices to release a warm, earthy taste. Then grind them and combine them with the rest of your selected spices.
Rub it in
Pat your choice of rub all over your steak, taking care to ensure it sticks. If you have time to spare, cover the spiced steak and refrigerate for up to 24 hours to deepen the flavor.
Play with combinations
Get creative with blends of your favorite dry herbs and spices. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Coffee-Chili Pepper Rub:
- 1 tablespoon ground coffee
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
We love it on tenderloin steaks.
Smoky-Sweet Spice Rub:
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
We love it on strip steaks.