One of the special pleasures at our dinner table is having a great steak. With so much amazing seasonal produce available in Southern California, we can live off veggies alone but sometimes we crave protein and a juicy steak hits the spot perfectly.
There are so many personal recipes and marinades that our friends have for their steaks. All are wonderfully unique to bring out the best in their steaks. We have an archive of sauces and special steak marinades on our shelves ranging from tangy and spicy to sweet and savory. But hands down our favorite way to cook and eat a steak is either with a simple sea salt and fresh cracked pepper rub or with a seasoned rub.
Maybe our steak preferences stem from Todd’s cowboy heritage. He grew up on a cattle ranch. He’s used to, and will only buy, a good quality steak from a butcher he likes. With a good steak, there’s no need to muddle or moisten the meat with a sauce. They come off the pan or grill perfectly juicy and with a slightly charred crust. All that is needed for perfection is some initial seasoning from fresh cracked pepper and sea salt or a good steak rub.
Over a hot cast iron skillet or barbecue, the steak’s perfection is emphasized when the salt and pepper cook into the meat and creates an amazing umami crust. The perfectly seared beef, the flavor of the salt and pepper, now slightly toasted from the grilling, all individually recognizable, yet playing off one another perfectly with each bite.
For other variations we’ll play with some rubs. Spice Islands® Steak Seasoning and Spice Islands® Spicy Steak Seasoning are good choices. Or you can make up your own steak rub. If we are making our own blend, we’ll usually start with some sea salt, Spice Islands® Paprika, Spice Islands® Garlic Powder and brown sugar. Next we’ll add some Spice Islands® Ground Oregano or cumin. Other times we’ll start with some sea salt, Spice Islands® Cracked Black Pepper and garlic powder, then we’ll add Spice Islands® Mustard Powder, celery salt and a bit of cayenne. Variations are limitless and it is always fun to experiment with the different combinations.
For an added bit of extravagance, sometimes we’ll add a pat of unsalted butter to the top of the steak as it rests (regardless if we used just the sea salt and pepper or if we used a rub.) As the heat from the steak melts the butter, it will cascade down, carrying the salt and pepper and spices along with its juices. Perfect for every bite.
Once you find a rub combination that is a house favorite, make a larger batch and store it in a jar. Your next perfect steak is just a quick grab away. And you’ll never know what else you may find yourself using the rub on. Grilled or roasted corn anyone?
We’ll generally use 1-2 Tablespoons each of our main seasonings (the sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and primary spice) then add 1 teaspoon each of the complimentary spices. If we use brown sugar, it will be a smaller about, due to its tendency to burn over the high heat used when cooking steaks. Use in steak recipe above, substituting the sea salt and ground black pepper with the rub. Cooking times will vary depending on steak thickness and heat.
General cooking times when grilling over high heat are about 6 minutes total – per inch for a rare steak. 12-14 minutes total – per inch for a well done steak. The following recipe is for cooking on a cast iron skillet, but the same principles can be applied to grilling (make sure to oil your grill after heating and before cooking the steak.)
1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store airtight for up to 6 months.
2. Bring steaks up to room temperature. Rinse and pat dry the steaks. Generously season both sides of the steaks with rub.
3. Heat your dry pan on high until it is smoking hot. Place steaks on pan and sear for 45 seconds. Flip steaks over and turn down heat to medium – medium high. Cook for 3 minutes.
4. Turn steaks again and cook for another 3 minutes or until preferred done-ness. For well done steaks you may want to flip the steaks multiple times to help cook evenly. (Remember pressure test – soft for rare, firm but yielding for medium, and firm for well done.)
5. Place steaks on plates or a platter. Add a pat of butter to each steak. Cover steaks with a tent of foil and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve.