How to Properly Season Steak

How to Properly Season Steak



Cooking the perfect steak takes skill and practice. Along with searing for just the right amount of time, mastering the art of seasoning is key to creating a delicious steak from the BBQ or grill. There are many different seasoning options and techniques to help create a mouthwatering steak supper. Let's dive in and help you level up your next sirloin, rib eye, or New York strip.

Just add salt and pepper

Some of the tastiest steaks have the simplest seasoning. Nothing could be more basic than garlic salt, which brings out the flavor of steak with a simple sprinkle on both sides.

Regular salt and pepper is also a foundation for many good steak seasonings. This powerful combo enhances the meat's natural flavors without overpowering them, adding a spicy note to tantalize the taste buds.

Steak seasoning with dry rubs

If you're looking to add a burst of flavor to your steak, then go beyond standard salt and pepper with a dry rub or spice blend. These more complex mixtures of herbs, spices and other seasonings can be applied directly to the surface of the meat before cooking, cut out marinating time, and create a flavor-loaded crust.

Whether you prefer a more classic Barbecue Rub, a Sweeter Maple Rub, or a Honey Hickory blend, there's a wide variety of options to suit your taste. Browse all of McCormick Grill Mates® Dry Rub products.

Adding flavor and tenderness with a steak marinade

Feeling more adventurous? Check out some marinades. These combine wet ingredients including oil, acid (such as vinegar or citrus juice), and various herbs and spices to penetrate the meat, tenderize it by breaking down the proteins, and create various flavor profiles.

You can choose a traditional North American flavor option such as the Grilled Steak with Steakhouse Style Marinade, which uses our McCormick Grill Mates Griller's Choice Beef Marinade Mix.


Alternatively, you can use marinade to evoke flavors on a more globally inspired scale. Check out this Brazilian Chimichurri Skirt Steak, which features our McCormick Grill Mates® Brazilian Steakhouse Marinade.


Dry seasonings are a great base for marinades. This Montreal Steak Marinade uses our McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning along with a little olive oil and soy sauce.


Properly Seasoning and Preparing Your Steak

Your choice of seasoning isn't the only consideration when preparing steak. There are things you can do before and during the seasoning process to make the perfect meal.

Prepping the steak

Dry your steak before searing by patting it with a paper towel to encourage a better crust.

Make sure your cooking surface is large enough to give the steak plenty of room. Overcrowding the cooking surface will give you a gray-looking steamed steak rather than a crispy-brown slab of triple-A. Then, preheat the grill or pan to a high temperature. This will ensure a quick sear and lock in the steak's juices while activating the seasoning's flavor.

Timing is everything

Another consideration is when to apply the seasoning. Timing has long been a point of debate among home grill masters.

Seasoning your steak before cooking allows the flavors to penetrate the meat and work their magic, especially when using marinades or dry rubs. It gives the seasoning time to enhance the steak's flavor.

Pre-seasoning isn't the only valid option. Seasoning during cooking produces a more subtle flavor, and it's a favorite approach for those using simple salt and pepper who just want to provide a burst of flavor without overpowering the natural taste of the steak.

To ensure even seasoning distribution, it's important to apply the seasonings evenly across the entire surface of the steak. Rub the seasoning into the meat rather than simply sprinkling, so that its flavor gets into every crevice.

Advanced tips for seasoning experts

Now you've earned your seasoning spurs, you can get even more creative. Experiment with unexpected seasoning ingredients like coffee or cocoa powder to add even more depth and complexity to your steak. For example, this Sweet & Savory Steak recipe uses cola and brown sugar along with our McCormick Grill Mates Griller's Choice Beef Marinade Mix.


You can also use blend butter with various seasonings, melting a pat of it on top of your cooked steak to add richness and a burst of flavor. Similarly, sauces can also bring a whole new dimension to your steak.

Remember, the key to seasoning steak is to experiment and find what works best for your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a bold and spicy flavor or a more subtle taste, these expert tips and tricks will help you create the perfect steak every time. Who knows? You might just find the unique combination that becomes a traditional family favorite.

More steak recipes

Once you've cooked one mouthwatering steak, you're sure to be back for more recipes. Try these out on the BBQ:

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