To Spice or Not When Grilling Steaks

In many things, I tend to be a bit of a purist. I don’t want lime in my beer, I don’t want soda in my scotch. I want whatever it is to stand as it is. So it was with steaks. I liked to grill steaks with nothing more than a sprinkle of salt or pepper, so I could taste the steak, not the spice. But recently I have changed that stance. I have decided that adding a little spice to a steak adds more to the experience than it detracts from the “purity” of the cut of meat. And when done right, it tastes damn good.

I have by no means perfected a spice mix – but here is a typical combination that I might use. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with, in decreasing order of amount:

  • Fresh ground black pepper. If you don’t have a pepper grinder, then course black pepper, not fine.
  • Coarse sea salt, or other coarse salt
  • Cajun spice, such as Tony’s or Slap ya Mamma
  • Garlic or onion powder

Basically, I am a little heavy handed with the pepper, gentle (just a soupçon) of the cajun and garlic to give a little complexity to the flavour without it being obvious (in other words, cheating). And the salt somewhere in between.

This simple combination, particularly on slightly cheaper cuts of meat, really elevates it from steak to Steak.

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