This flavorful cowboy steak rub is a blend of sweet paprika, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. This rub recipe creates a mouthwatering, earthy blend, and you’ll think you’re eating a steak made on the open range.
It’s no secret that we love beef rub recipes. They’re an amazing way to add flavor to the beef (but not fat). Beef rubs also create a beautiful, savory crust on beef – just like your favorite steakhouse. And, one of the best things about steak is that it can take on all kinds of flavors for various dishes based on the spice mix you apply.
What’s a Beef Rub?
A rub is a mixture of spices and seasonings that add flavor to beef, without overpowering it. Rubs are applied directly to the surface of the meat, and they’re a fantastic way to season beef.
Rubs have two varieties: Dry Rub and Wet Rub.
Dry rubs use a blend of dry herbs and spices. They’re great for beef that will cook for shorter amounts of time at high temperature. Dry rubs can sit on the meat for 30 minutes or less and impart flavor.
A wet rub use spices plus a wet ingredient like soy sauce or oil to form a paste. Wet rubs are typically used more like a marinade, and can sit on the meat for longer periods of time.
How to Apply. Step-by-Step Instructions
The application of dry rubs is very easy.
- In a small bowl, mix the cowboy seasoning rub ingredients
- Pat the beef dry with a paper towel. You want to remove moisture from the surface of the beef.
- Sprinkle the dry rub on the meat from above. Apply generously on both side of the steak! You will use approximately 1-2 tablespoon for every 1 lb of beef.
- Using your hands, rub the mixture into the beef. This process is similar to when you’re rubbing lotion into your skin.
- Place the seasoned beef on a plate, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30-minutes (or longer) so the beef can soak up the flavors. The longer you let the beef soak, the more flavors you will notice when you eat it.
How Much Rub to Apply?
A good rule of thumb is to use 1-2 tablespoons of rub per pound of beef.
How Early Should You Season Steak?
There are a lot of opinions on if you should season steaks ahead of time, or immediately before cooking. Both methods work.
The thing you need to know is salt will start to draw moisture out of your steak as soon as it is applied. Seasoning early means more flavor, but a slight loss of moisture.
What Steaks to Use It On?
This spice rub is great on hearty steaks like ribeyes or New York strip. We don’t recommend using it on steaks like filet, which need minimal salt and pepper seasoning so that the beef flavor shines through. This rub is also great on beef roast. At our house, we have even tried it on pork chops and chicken and liked it.
Use Fresh Herbs and Spices
Old herbs and spices mean less flavor. You want the freshest herbs and spices possible. Most dried spices and herbs have an estimate shelf life of about two years. To test potency of the spices or herbs in your spice cabinet, crumble some of the herb or spice into the palm of your hand with your fingers. If you can’t smell it, it’s definitely time to get new herbs.
How to Store Beef Rubs
You can prep beef rubs in advance and store 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. You can make big batches and share with friends and family, as needed.
Cowboy Steak Rub vs. Cowboy Steak
Before you get too confused, it’s important to know there’s a difference between this RUB and the cowboy steak cut of beef. A cowboy steak cut of beef is technically a bone-in ribeye steak. There are several names for this cut of beef including Tomahawk Steak, Cowboy Ribeye and Delmonico.
This rub can be used on any cut of steak. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bone-in ribeye or not.
Cowboy Steak Rub Ingredients:
- Sweet paprika
- Thyme leaves, dried
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Salt (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cowboy Steak Rub
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt optional
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Mix ingredients together in small bowl. Pat the beef dry with a paper towel to remove moisture from the surface of the beef. Sprinkle the dry rub on the meat from above. Apply generously on both side of the steak. Using your hands, rub the mixture into the beef.
ONE MORE THING!
Do you want to learn more about beef? Join our weekly e-newsletter where we share farm happenings, recipes and beef availability. Sign-up and get a cheat sheet with 9-must-ask questions before buying beef directly from a farmer. Or, we have an entire ebook about beef that goes through purchasing and preparing beef from a cattle farmer’s perspective.
Here are a few other links you may like:
- Ground Beef Nachos
- How to choose the best cut of steak (Top 4 cuts)
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon
- Cows 101: Do Cows Sleep Standing Up?
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