It’s no secret. We like beef.
We don’t have beef for every meal, but you will usually find it on our dinner table two to three times a week.
Generally, we like to keep it simple. We season beef with kosher salt so that the flavor of the beef really shines.
However, we also use a lot of beef rubs depending on what we’re making.
Beef rubs are an amazing way to add flavor to beef, but not fat.
They create a beautiful, savory crust on beef, similar to what you’d find at your favorite steakhouse.
Over the years we have used different beef rubs and steak seasonings. Some are store-bought and others are homemade.
After talking with many customers, it turns out that homemade rubs aren’t used in many home kitchens. If that’s you, be prepared to be amazed.
Herbs and spices can literally transform a steak. Plus, beef rubs are incredibly simple to make and you likely already have all of the ingredients in your pantry.
What’s a beef rub?
A rub is a mixture of spices and seasonings that add flavor without overpowering beef.
Rubs have two varieties — dry and wet.
Dry rubs use dry herbs and spices, and wet rubs use spices plus a wet ingredient like soy sauce or oil to form a paste.
Rubs are applied directly to the surface of the meat, and they’re a very easy way to enhance the flavor of the meat without overpowering it.
Rubs can be added just before cooking or hours before.
How to apply a beef rub?
The application of rubs is very easy.
Simply mix the ingredients, pat beef dry, and then rub all over your favorite piece of beef. Use two tablespoons of rub for every pound of beef. Then, let the beef soak up the flavors.
You can either put the beef in a Ziploc bag, or wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator.
The longer you let the beef soak, the more flavors you will notice when you eat it.
We’re not very scientific on timing it, but usually, we try and put on rubs anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours before we cook the beef.
Pantry Ingredients for Beef Rubs
One of the many great things about making your own beef rubs is that they use very common pantry ingredients.
Below we list 10 of our favorite beef rubs. They use 15 common ingredients, but each rub is very different.
- Brown Sugar
- Cayenne Pepper
- Chili Powder
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Dill Seed
- Garlic Powder
- Ground Black Pepper
- Kosher Salt
- Onion Powder
- White Sugar
10 of our favorite beef rubs:
All purpose rubs
1. The Dalmatian (Salt & Pepper) – This is a classic. It will tenderize the meat and bring out its natural flavor. We like using kosher salt (a small amount will do) and freshly ground black pepper.
2. DIY 8:3:1:1 – We’ve talked about this 8:3:1:1 rub before. It is one of our favorites because you can use almost any ingredient in your spice cabinet and your meat will turn out great. One of our favorite combinations is 8 Tbsp light brown sugar, 3 Tbsp kosher salt, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp onion powder.
3. All-purpose Dry Rub – Mix 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp oregano, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 Tbsp paprika, ¼ cup brown sugar.
Steak and Hamburger Rubs
4. Basic All-Purpose Steak Seasoning – Mix 2 Tbsp kosher salt, 2 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, and 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper.
5. Sweet & Spicy Hamburger Rub – Mix 3 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper.
6. Cocoa Rub – Mix 2 tsp cocoa, 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground black pepper.
7. Carolina BBQ Rub –Mix 2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp ground cumin, 2 Tbsp chili powder, 2 Tbsp ground black pepper, 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup paprika.
8. Montreal Steak Seasoning Rub – Mix 2 Tbsp kosher salt, 2 Tbsp ground black pepper, 2 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp onion powder, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, 1 Tbsp ground coriander, 1 Tbsp dill seeds, 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
Roast & Brisket Rub
9. Roast Dry Rub –Mix 3 Tbsp garlic powder, 2 Tbsp salt, 2 Tbsp Ground Black pepper, 1 tsp chili powder and ½ tsp cumin.
10. Beef Brisket Rub – Mix 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, ¼ cup salt, 1/8 cup ground black pepper, 1/8 cup paprika, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.
11. Sugar. We know sugar gets a bad rap and we completely understand why. Did you know if you use white or brown sugar as a rub, it will give a thin tasty crust on the exterior of your steak. It’ll be just like a five-star steakhouse. Give it a try.
How to store beef rubs
Another plus on all of these recipes is you can make them ahead and store them for quick-use in the future.
You can store a dry beef rub in an airtight container for up to 4 months. We love these small mason jars, but any airtight container will do.
Beef rubs can also make a great edible gift to share with friends and family.
An obvious secret about beef rubs
It probably goes without saying that you’ll get better results from your rubs if you use the freshest ingredients possible.
We recommend buying from local specialty spice shops whenever possible. Spices from the grocery store can also work, but sometimes grocery store spices aren’t as fresh and therefore don’t have the same flavor profile
One more thing!
Do you want to learn more about beef? Here are a few other beef posts and recipes you may like. Plus, we have an entire ebook about beef that goes through purchasing and preparing beef from a farmers perspective.
- Dry rub or marinade for steak? Know what’s best
- What Everybody Ought to Know About Beef Cuts
- Is It Done Yet? Why Every Kitchen Needs a Digital Meat Thermometer and the Best One
- Ebook – An Essential Guide to Beef: A Cattle Farm Shares How to Purchase & Prepare Beef