A good quality steak doesn’t need much more than a sprinkling of salt and pepper for seasoning. But if you want to take it to the next level and give your steak that extra punch of flavor, this all-purpose rub will do it.
I bring a zip-top bag of it with me whenever we go camping and plan on grilling steaks at our campsite. It smells so good, I’ve had other campers walk over and ask what I’m grilling!
What's in This Spice Blend?
Here’s what’s in this blend:
- Smoked paprika, for a little bit of smoke.
- Dark brown sugar, for a hint of sweetness and molasses.
- Onion and garlic powder, for some aromatic notes.
- Oregano, for a touch of herbal greenness.
- Cumin, for a little earthiness.
- Cayenne, which brings a slight heat but not enough to light your tongue on fire.
Customize the Rub
Like all spice blends, you can customize this one to your own taste:
- If you like your steak less sweet, reduce the brown sugar or swap it for the same amount of coconut sugar to make it paleo-friendly.
- Add dried parsley if you want a more herbal note.
- Consider more pepper or reduce the salt to your own taste.
- Omit the cayenne if you don’t like spicy.
- Swap out the cumin for coriander if you want a bit more citrus flavor.
Don't Use Old Herbs and Spices
Old herbs and spices mean less flavor. And for this spice blend, we definitely want newer dried herbs and spices!
Dried spices and herbs have a shelf life of about two years when properly stored, depending on the spice or herb. To test potency, crumble some of the herb or spice into the palm of your hand with your fingers. If you can barely smell it or it’s dusty smelling, it’s time to get some new stuff!
Pro tip: Use an airtight glass jar to mix the ingredients together and you’ll save on cleanup!
How Long Does This Rub Last and How Should I Store It?
If the spices you used are fresh, the rub should last about a year stored in an airtight container, clearly labeled with the date. Keep in mind the brown sugar might harden a bit in the meantime. This makes the rub difficult to use, and you should make a new batch if it happens.
What to Use It On
This spice rub is great on hearty steaks like ribeyes, New York strip, or skirt steak. Avoid using it on tender steaks like filet mignon where you want the delicate beef flavor to come through. You can also mix it in with meatloaf or burgers if you want!
How to Use It
Pat your steak dry with paper towels, then sprinkle a generous amount of rub on one side of the steak. Use your fingers and hands to rub the spice blend into the steak. Flip and repeat on the other side.
Though you can immediately cook the steak, if you let it sit at room temperature for an hour the rub will penetrate the meat and give a deeper flavor. You can even cover and let it sit overnight in the fridge for a more robust flavor.
Curious? Here Are More Ways to Try Out This Rub!
- Season your steak and then learn How to Grill the Best Steak.
- Make a Sous Vide Steak—just season it again before you reverse sear it and serve.
- Swap out the salt, pepper, and garlic powder in this recipe and use the rub instead for Garlic Herb Steak Bites.
- This rub is a great addition for a Quick and Easy Pan-Fried Flank Steak.
Three More Rubs to Know:
The Best Dry Rub for Steak
- 3 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place all the spices in a small glass jar and shake gently to combine.
Store for up to 1 year.