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Our favorite ways to prep a steak

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The top chefs in steak share their go-to rubs and marinades

Chef Lee Ann Whippen, Chicago Q, Chicago
Blend the salt and brown sugar in a food processor; add all spices and blend again. Add the granulated sugar and blend until well-combined. Rub onto steak and grill.

1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black
1 1/4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon taco spice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Chef Samuel Gorenstein, BLT STEAK, Miami
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and marinate steak at least 8 hours.

1 cup grated horseradish
1 cup whole grain mustard
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
3 tablespoons honey
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil


Chef Tom Azar, City Hall, Miami
Purée all ingredients together; pour over steak and refrigerate 24 hours.

2 cups olive oil
2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1 cup sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons coarse-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Chef Randy Waidner, Gibson’s Steak House, Chicago
Grind all seeds and herbs in a spice mill and combine with remaining ingredients; rub on a steak and grill.

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup ground black pepper
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 bay leaves
7 1/2 tablespoons mustard seed
1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seed
1 1/2 tablespoons fennel seed
1 1/2 tablespoons celery seed
1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons paprika
3 teaspoons thyme
6 teaspoons oregano


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  • Ray says:

    I’ve discovered less is more. Use steak with bone in, such as T-bone for more flavor.

    Brush on Olive Oil
    Grind on Coarse Sea Salt
    Grind on Coarse Pepper
    Spread on Chopped Garlic

    Grill on HIGH, usually 3 to 4 minutes per side for an average size steak. Keep lid closed! Don’t fuss and move them around. Use tongs.

  • Tom Ramsey says:

    Ray – Hate to disagree with you, but keep that lid OPEN! Grilling is best done with direct heat from one side at a time. By closing the lid, you go from grilling to baking. The closed lid causes the heat from the direct source (the flame below) to become trapped in closed space and heat unevenly. The intense heat from below is paired with less intent heat from all around the steak. This means that side A (the side on the grill surface) is cooked by direct heat while side B is cooked by indirect heat. When you turn the steak, Side A (which is already cooked by the direct heat) continues cooking via indirect head and Side B doesn’t start cooking when turned, it merely continues cooking since it was already in what amounts to an oven while Side A was cooking.

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