Steak Rub

5 from 6 votes
11 Comments

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This Dry Steak Rub gives just the right amount of sweet and spicy flavor to a New York Steak. Add the rub, wait 4 hours, then grill to perfection!

Two cuts of steak rubbed with a dry rub on a cutting board

Best Steak Rub

This is the second time we have made this New York dry Steak Rub, and both times turned out amazing! We tried these steaks out with company recently and they were a huge success! It has quickly become our favorite steak rub recipe. Now let me specify, if you are going to make this recipe please PLEASE spend the extra money to get a good cut of meat. Luckily, these steaks were actually on sale at our grocery store last week, so we got Choice grade New York steaks. Trust me, it really does make a difference!

Dry Rub Vs. Marinade – Which Is Better?

It really comes down to what you are trying to do and what you are using your steak for. I like using steak marinade when I need the steak to be tenderized or if I am slicing the steak before cooking (for stir fry, fajitas, etc…) For everything else, I always use a dry rub. I like having a flavorful, seared, “crust” on my steak. Here’s a little breakdown for you to help you decide which way to go:

Dry Rub

  • Great for grilling, smoking, or roasting most meats.
  • Creates a flavorful “crust” when seared or grilled, holding in all those juices and keeping the steak from drying out.
  • Better for flavoring tender, good cuts of meat (such as a New York strip steak, filet or tenderloin, T-bone, Porterhouse, etc…

Marinade

  • Great for recipes using sliced or cubed steak such as stir fry, fajitas, carne asada, kabobs, teriyaki beef, etc…
  • Tenderizes tougher cuts of meat (depending on the marinade).
  • Flavor can soak slightly deeper into the steak before cooking.
A bowl of spices to make a dry rub for grilled steak

What Spices Are In A Steak Rub?

There are thousands of possible spice combinations when it comes to a dry rub. We use a simple combination of spices that can be found in most pantries, including paprika, ground mustard, dried garlic, brown sugar, cumin, cayenne, and ground black pepper. We love this flavor combination because it is savory, slightly sweet, and has a little kick of heat (don’t worry, not too much).

Kicking It Up (or Down) a Notch

As mentioned above, this steak rub really isn’t that spicy. If you like your steak to have a little more heat, you can definitely add some more cayenne. If spice isn’t your thing, bring it down by swapping out the cayenne with some chili powder, or just leave it out altogether.

4 pieces of steak on the grill marinated with the New York Steak Rub

Dry Rub Does Not Mean Dry Steak

It’s quite the opposite actually. A dry rub can help create a crust when you sear the steak and actually holds juices in. After cooking the steak and allowing it to rest, it will be tender and infused with flavor.

How To Store a Dry Rub

For optimal freshness, put your steak seasoning in a zip-top freezer bag or airtight container and store it in the freezer. It will stay fresh for months! You can also put it in a glass jar and store in the pantry or a cool, dry place. Don’t forget to label and date any homemade spice blends so you know when they have passed peak freshness.

Tricks of the Trade

When using this steak rub, or cooking any kind of steak, the key is to avoid overcooking your steak. Leave some pink in the center. Trust me, it just tastes better. One of the better investments we have made (which was actually really cheap) was buying a meat thermometer. Cutting into your steak to see if it is done lets out the juices and will kill the flavor, don’t do it! The best method is to cook each side, turning only once or twice, then allow the steaks to cool for 5 minutes once they are off the grill before you ever cut into it. This keeps the juices in and keeps your steak tasting AMAZING! Here is a temperature guide for steak:

  • Rare – 120-degrees F
  • Medium Rare – 130-degrees F
  • Medium – 140-degrees F
  • Medium Well- 150-degrees F
  • Well Done – 160-degrees F +
Dry rub being sprinkled onto a cut of uncooked steak

FAQs

How long do you leave dry rub on steak?

40 minutes to 4 hours is ideal. You can even keep it on overnight. You just want the rub to be on the steak long enough to infuse it with flavor.

How do you get a dry rub to stick?

By patting the steak dry and then adding a very thin layer of oil, you can create a nice surface for the dry rub to stick to.

What else can I use this rub on?

This rub will taste great on chicken, pork, fish, and even grilled vegetables!

Go Ahead, Grill!

Looking for more great reasons to fire up the grill? Check out these fabulous grill recipes.

  • Steak Salad with Blue Cheese and Avocados is a great main dish salad, full of flavor.
  • Steak Kabobs with veggies and avocado sauce creates a slightly spicy flavor, tempered perfectly by the cool flavor of the avocado sauce.
  • Grilled Steak Street Tacos are bursting with flavor. Tender steak combined with simple ingredients wrapped in corn or flour tortillas. Taco Tuesday can’t come soon enough!
  • Parmesan Garlic Grilled Potatoes are the perfect BBQ side dish. Serve alongside grilled chicken, steak, or fish. A must for your next summer supper!

How To Make Steak Dry Rub

A bowl of spices to make a dry rub for grilled steak

New York Steak Rub

5 from 6 votes
This New York Steak Rub gives just the right amount of sweet and spicy flavor to a New York Steak. Add the rub, wait 4 hours, then grill to perfection!
Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 6 mins
0 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 6 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Outdoor Barbecue Grill

Ingredients

Rub Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (dried garlic flakes or garlic powder work great too)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • About 4 to 6 hours before grilling, pat steak dry and brush lightly with a little cooking oil.
    Mix together the rub ingredients in a medium bowl. Rub the spices all over the 4 steaks and and wrap each individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
    A bowl of spices to make a dry rub for grilled steak
  • Half an hour before grilling, remove steaks to kitchen counter. You want the steaks to warm to room temperature before you grill them.
    Two seasoned uncooked steaks with a bowl of dry rub next to them.
  • Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle both sides lightly with kosher salt. Grill over medium high heat for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness.
    Two New York steaks on a cutting board that have been grilled

Nutrition Information

Calories: 494kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 46gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 121mgPotassium: 681mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 897IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 30mgIron: 5mg

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About the author

Emily Walker

Emily lives in Meridian, Idaho, with her husband, Beau, a physician assistant, and her three incredible children: a son and two daughters. Travel is one of her favorite ways to experience new cultures and cuisines, and she has a love for all things Disney.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Ok, I love these spices!! Making this for Father’s Day for sure! It’s always a hit & makes everything taste so good!

  2. 5 stars
    We are always grilling this time of year. This steak rub is one of the best that I have ever used. The flavor soaked in amazingly and the steak was so juicy!

  3. I think this rub sounds amazing. I like the addition of the ground mustard. But is there supposed to be any salt in it?

    1. Yes! Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I forgot because you don’t actually put salt in the rub, but right before you grill. I will fix it on the recipe. Thanks again!

        1. Yes, I just fixed it on the recipe. You lightly sprinkle the steaks with kosher salt before grilling, but there is no salt in the rub.