Trying to recreate a restaurant-quality steak from your favorite steak house is no easy feat.
With all of the information available in books and online, it can seem complicated to decipher what is true or false when cooking steak.
However, with a few simple steak preparation tips, this challenging task of preparing a steak can seem like a breeze.
Although many people will tell you, the secret to a great steak is in the pan or the cut of beef, the secret to a stellar steak lies in the seasoning.
Why Should You Season Steak
In this case, seasoning means spices, herbs, or a combination of spices used to enhance the flavor of the steak.
Although most individuals season their steaks before they are cooked, they do it out of habit.
Most individuals are unaware of the benefits associated with seasoning steak.
The most apparent reason for seasoning steak is that it enhances the steak’s natural flavor. Yes, a steak would be enjoyable on its own.
However, when you add a little sea salt and ground black pepper to the steak before cooking it, it is like your taste buds are floating on a bed of flavor. It enhances the savory flavor you already know and love.
Nevertheless, seasoning a steak also has a hidden benefit: tenderizing the steak.
A quality steak recipe has salt listed as an ingredient. This is because as the steak sit, salt pulls moisture out of it.
Salting a steak in advance is a process known as dry brining.
After the steak has been salted, the steak is refrigerated, uncovered, and moisture pools on the surface of the steak.
The moisture that accumulates on the surface of the steak is reabsorbed back into the steak and tenderizes the meat as it cooks.
When Should I Season My Steak
Yes, you can season your steak right before you place it into the pan. Seasoning a steak with salt 3-30 minutes before you sear it just isn’t right.
If you want your steak to have maximum flavor, you have to season your steak in advance.
You can season your steak up to 40 minutes before you cook it or refrigerate it overnight.
Nevertheless, if you are cooking your steak from frozen or do not have time to let it dry brine, you can season your steak and cook it immediately.
Can I Use a Rub or Marinade on My Steak?
Whether you are cooking a ranch or Denver steak, you can use a BBQ rub or marinade to season it.
It is worth noting if you marinate your steak, moisture will cling to the surface, which is not compatible with cooking at high temperatures.
The moisture will cause it to cook slowly and team instead of sear.
Make sure you dry your steaks to remove the excess moisture before placing them into a skillet or onto your portable pellet grill.
What Spices Pair Well With Steak
Many spices pair perfectly with steak. After all, it is a semi-blank slate waiting to absorb more flavor.
For example, spices such as cumin, dry mustard powder, curry powder, green peppers, and paprika all pair perfectly with steak.
You can also baste your steak with herbs such as sage, rosemary, or thyme and butter during the final minutes of the searing process.
This will give your steak a delicious buttery flavor you receive when you indulge in a steak from your favorite restaurant.
Alternatively, you can also add the herbs to your salt and season your steak with them before it is cooked.
Another easy way to season steak is to rub it with a clove of garlic after it is cooked. The garlic will add an extra kick of flavor.
Cut a garlic clove in half and run the cut side over the steak while it is resting.
How to Season Steak
We are keeping the seasoning nice and simple by using kosher salt and black pepper. However, if you want to use a BBQ rub, spices, or herbs, feel free.
Unfortunately, many home cooks are terrified of salt. Maybe you’ve been subjected to it by your mom’s lack of exposure to seasoning or your family’s medical history of hypertension. However, there’s no need to be afraid of salt.
Trust me; I get it. No one wants to eat an overly salty steak or develop hypertension.
But when it comes to seasoning steak, you must be generous with the salt.
The first ingredient you need to season a steak is kosher salt. Do not use super-fine salt to season your steak.
Kosher salt has a large enough crystal that permits dry brining and maximum absorption on the steak’s outer surface.
The second ingredient you need to season steak is black pepper.
Generously coat both sides of your top round steaks with salt and allow the steaks to sit fridge uncovered for 1-2 hours or overnight.
Remove the steak from the fridge and season it generously with pepper while it is coming to room temperature.
Seasoning steak doesn’t just happen while it is in its raw state. Once the steak has been seared and allowed to rest, give it another sprinkling of large flaky salt.
If you want to know how to sear a steak, check out our how-to guide.
The cracklier the salt, the more flavor your steak will have.
The idea behind giving the steak a final coating of salt is to ensure the steak’s pink interior gets as much flavor as the outside of the steak.
Now all that’s required is carving your steak and arranging it on a plate-like they do in fancy restaurants and giving it a final shower of flaky sea salt.
If you do not have flaky sea salt, you can also use kosher salt.
Seasoning steak is easy. Now that you know how to season steak correctly, you can recreate that delicious steak from your favorite restaurant at home.
It’s time to rip the band aid off and season your steak!
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.