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Kickin' Steak Rub Recipe & Tips for Grilling

Updated on August 10, 2013
5 stars from 1 rating of Kickin' Steak Rub


There is nothing like the smell of a big, juicy steak grilling on a summer evening. Whether it's at the end of a hard day of work or on a lazy Saturday afternoon, a grilled steak is a great choice. A good cut of meat does not need a lot of fancy seasonings, just enough to enhance the natural taste of the steak. In this recipe, I use freshly cracked black pepper and salt as a base, then add a healthy dose of paprika for smokiness and depth, cayenne pepper to tingle the taste buds, garlic because it's such a crowd pleaser, and thyme, mostly because I think it just goes so darn well with steak.

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  • 1 tbsp black pepper, freshly ground, if possible
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less, to taste
  • 1 tbsp salt, kosher, if possible
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme, rub it between your palms to release flavor


  1. Combine all dry ingredients and stir together for even distribution.
  2. Rub into steak on all sides. Do not apply more rub than what is needed to cover the steak.
  3. Allow steak to rest 10 minutes before grilling.
  4. Grill to desired doneness.

Tips for Rubs & Grilling

  1. Apply just enough rub to each steak so that it is absorbed by the meat, but not crusted on. Applying too much rub may cause the steak to taste burnt or will mask the flavor of the steak. Definitely do not over-apply rub if you have bought a high-quality cut of meat.
  2. Store any extra rub in an air-tight container for up to 6 months.
  3. Steak should be room temperature before grilling. If the steak is cold on the inside and room temperature on the outside, the steak will get very done on the outside, but may still be rare in the center. For room temperature steak, get it out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Lightly oil the grill grate before heating the grill.
  5. Heat the grill to high heat for initially searing the steak, then reduce to medium heat after the steak is seared to finish the cooking process. On a gas grill, you can turn half the burners up to high and the other half to medium and move the steak over to the medium side after searing. On a charcoal grill, mound your charcoal heavier on one side. Use the mounded side to sear and the low side to finish cooking.
  6. Do not press on the steak with a spatula while grilling. This will cause the meat to lose juices and be more dry.
  7. Turn the steak over as few times as possible while grilling. Flipping the steak back and forth multiple times will cause it to lose its juices and be drier.
  8. Get a meat thermometer and grill your steak to the desired internal temperature rather than trying to guess or cutting into the meat before it is done.
  9. When steak has reach the desired temperature, remove it from the grill and wrap it in foil. Allow the steak to rest 10 minutes before serving. The rest period allows the steak to reabsorb its juices.

Use a Reliable, Quick Digital Thermometer

Thermapen's digital thermometer may be a bit pricey, but it is one of the best digital thermometers on the market. It comes to you perfectly calibrated. It has a splash guard. It gives reliable results in about 3 seconds after insertion. It works on meat, bread, candy, whatever you want it to. I cannot speak highly enough of this thermometer. When I first invested in it, I felt a little guilty for the amount of money I spent on it, but after using it for about 6 months, I realize it has dramatically improved my outcomes in cooking and baking. Definitely worth it, if you can afford it. Of course, there are much more affordable thermometers out there and they are better than guessing most of the time, but when you're standing over a hot grill, you really don't want to have to wait 30 seconds with your arm over the flames while checking the doneness of your meat.

Forget About Dry Chicken & Raw Burgers! Try Weber's Step-by-Step Guide

© 2012 Leah Wells-Marshburn


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