Steak Seasoning Intro
The main difference between your homemade steak compared to that of a restaurant steakhouse is, the chef knows how to season a steak the right way!
Many of us have seen Salt Bae dump massive amounts of salt all over his steaks on social media but the man has it exactly right! You can easily bring out and elevate all that wonderful beefy umami flavor by using the right steak seasoning and spices.
By following a few tips, you can create a wonderful steak eating experience by using very easy steak recipes, as it’s all in the flavor!
While some steak purists say a good quality steak does not need any seasoning, we are firmly in the camp that just a little DIY seasoning can bring your steak to the next level!
Based on my own research and experience, the simple act of adding salt alone reacts to the beef proteins, pulling them to the surface to help create a great crust (or sear) and deeper flavor profile.
That first bite is an explosion of the tastebuds and getting there is a lot easier than you think and with minimal ingredients.
Salt Is a Steak Seasoning Best Friend
Wether you are deciding between Ribeye vs Tenderloin, New York Strip vs Sirloin or a nice big Picanha, the very best seasoning for steakhouse flavor is just good quality coarse ground salt, meaning seasoning your steaks with mineral rich Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, or Himalayan Pink Salt.
For health and flavor reasons we advise against fine grain processed table salt which has iodine added. If you did nothing else to your steak, and just added a liberal amount of Sea Salt or Kosher salt after cooking, this would already enhance the eating experience tremendously.
The large crystal size of these higher quality course ground salt allows for prime absorption into the outer layer of the steak, which is where you need the salt to go to ensure every bite has the same balance.
Remember, we are eating an entire thick cut steak and not just the surface of a steak, so you do want to get that absorption going hence the importance to salt generously with course flaky Kosher or Sea Salt.
It’s also important to note that salting steak will tenderize the steak. We like to use trusted brands like Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and Maldon Sea Salt. The most common question we get asked about dry rub seasoning with salt is how much salt per pound of beef? We keep it simple and use one tablespoon of salt per 10 oz. steak.
Salting and Brining meats has also been a time honored way of safely storing and preserving meats long before the arrival of refridgeration.
A Word on Seasoning with Black Pepper
Combing Kosher Salt with freshly ground Black Pepper to your steak is the essential steak rub in our view. Adding black pepper on all sides of your steak along with good quality salt on every surface is going to bring your steak to life and give those lovely dark flavor notes.
There is one school of thought that says adding freshly ground Black Pepper after cooking only and one that says before cooking only.
At TruBeef, we agree with Gordon Ramsey and do both: BEFORE and AFTER cooking. Why? During the cooking process, you will lose 30 to 50% of the surface salt and pepper into the skillet, so be generous in your steak rub application.
If you are going to reheat steak, we suggest a light sprinkle of salt and pepper before and after reheating.
The Process of Steak Seasoning and Timing (when to salt steak)
We use two common methods that are differentiated by when to salt steak and to what level of saltiness one prefers.
- Take your steak out of the refrigerator about 30 to 45 minutes before cooking to let steak rest and to get to room temperature. This is what Chefs call a ‘relaxed’ steak. A relaxed steak will cook quicker and will not be stone cold inside the center.
- Pat your steak dry with a paper towel then massage in a tablespoon of high smoke point oil like Avocado Oil or Tallow.
- Season very generously on all sides with a good Kosher Salt, Sea Salt, or Himalayan Pink Salt plus freshly ground Black Pepper mix.
- The reason for the oil massage is twofold 1.) Helps your dry rub steak seasoning adhere to your steak and 2.) The oil will speed up the Maillard reaction to give you a nice sear.
- Take your steaks out 24 hours before cooking. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Rub a generous amount of Kosher Salt.
- Place steaks on an airing rack and back in the refrigerator until 30 to 45 minutes before cooking.
- You will now have a steak that has changed color to a light bright red color and will feel dry to touch as it has absorbed all the salt and pulled the surface moisture from the surface.
- Without using oil on the steak, you’re ready for cooking!
- For us, Method 2 wins for special occasions. Timing and when to salt steak usually come down to how much time you have in your daily schedule.
Homemade Steak Seasoning and Steak Rubs
Feeling adventurous and happy to do some DIY steak rubs with different spices and herbs? Here are three steak seasoning ideas with a salt free steak seasoning recipe.
Montreal Steak Seasoning:
A classic found in every steak house the world over:
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon crushed coriander
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon dill
- 1 tablespoon granulated onion
- Mix dry ingredients, store in airtight container, and use 1 tablespoon per steak
Fresh Herbs and Sea Salt Rub
Place a handful of fresh oregano, handful of fresh basil, 2 cups of sea salt and half cup of pepper into a food blender. Blitz the dry mixture for 2 minutes until all ingredients are the same size. Now you have an amazing fresh homemade steak seasoning that keeps in the fridge in an airtight container for a week and is out of this world delicious! This rub also makes a great marinade for lamb chops.
Salt Free Steak Seasoning Recipe
Many need to watch their sodium intake under medical advice so this simple salt free steak dry rub is perfect. Into an airtight jar add equal parts:
- Dried oregano
- Black pepper
Recap of Steak Seasoning Tips
- To make your steak a success, always season your steak generously.One tablespoon of salt per steak is a good general rule.
- The crunchier and flakier the salt is, the better the steak will be.
- For best results, season your steak with coarse ground kosher or coarse ground sea salt.
- If you season 24 hours or 1 hour before cooking, always ensure the steak is at room temperature before cooking to bring out the best in the steak and your steak seasoning.
- Seasoning will also tenderize steak with salt making for an even better eating.
- A nice salt-based DIY steak rub will help create a crusty sear to your steak.
- When in doubt, think of Salt Bae and just get to work with just lots of salt.