Steak seasoning: rubs, sauces or marinades?

We all hear cooks and chefs tell us to get the most out of our steaks with the right flavours. The important questions is: how do you get those flavours? Should you marinate, use rubs or sauces? And for how long? Let’s look at some tips.

We’ve looked at level of doneness when it comes to steaks. And while that is very important, it won’t bring out a lot of flavour if we don’t use the right seasoning. So, let’s take a look at what each one of these things – rubs, sauces, and marinades – can do.

Every cook knows that spices and seasoning add a lot of flavour to grilled food. When it comes to rubs, there are two subcategories: wet and dry. A wet rub contains one ingredient that is liquid, most likely an oil. A dry rub is made solely of herbs and spices. The type of rub you use is up to your taste, so long as it does not overpower the flavour of the meat.

So, dry rubs usually consist of paprika, chili powder, granulated garlic, cayenne, oregano, and so on. The secret is to mix strong with mild spices. Again it all depends how spicy you want it, but never let it overpower the taste of the meat. The same applies to web rubs. The only difference is that it sticks to the meat.

A marinade makes food tastier, juicier and more tender. This takes time. A marinade can work in 30 minutes for chicken, but when it comes to thicker cuts of meat, you should marinade for a several hours or even a day or two. A marinade normally contains spices, herbs, oils, and/or condiments, and some acid component such as vinegar, lemon juice or wine.

Do NOT marinate filet mignon, T-bone, tenderloin steaks. You can (and should) marinate flank, chuck, round or skirt steaks. (For a full list, ask our staff).


Any spice will go well on beef. This is the reason seasoning can be used in both marinades and rubs, and added to sauces as well. Watch out for a post, coming soon, just about seasonings.

There are difference styles of barbecue sauce. If it is a tomato based one (such as ketchup) it is thick, sweet, and tangy. The good thing about it? Tastes great with any meat. Careful: applying bbq sauce during grilling will make your meat burn, but not when you’re barbecuing.

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