September 16, 2012

Here's the Rub...

The weather in Brooklyn is perfect today...  mid 70's, sunny and breezy.    These end of summer days are the ones I really cherish because I know too well that before long, they will be gone until the spring.

It is nearly unthinkable to cook dinner inside today.   The days left in this year that we can enjoy being outside are numbered and I want every last second of warm sunshine I can get. 

Although, grilling in inclement weather is no foreign concept to me.  I have memories of my grandmother grilling in the rain, tongs in one hand & umbrella in the other...  I guess once she decided what was for dinner, there was no turning back.   Luckily for me, the weather this weekend has been picture perfect. 

If you are among the throngs of apartment dwellers with no access to a grill or outdoor space, this is delicious done on a grill pan or even a saute pan.    Speaking as one of the aforementioned,  I've cooked many a steak on top of the stove and they are almost just as good.

Why use a rub?  Granted, a good quality piece of meat requires little more than salt & pepper and a nice sear, but sometimes it needs a little something extra.  That's where a good rub comes in.   That extra boost of flavor can transform a good steak into possibly one of the BEST steaks you've ever had.

The Rub
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pulverized dried chili pepper(s)
  • 2 tsps ground coffee beans or espresso powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder (Colman's)
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • oil, for brushing grill
  • 2 bone-in ribeye steaks, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 in. thick
Grinding your own spices makes a world of difference!

- Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.

There are a few key steps to this:
  • choosing the right cut of meat
  • cooking it properly
  • forming the crust
  • letting it rest.
Before we proceed, a word about the steak. Fat is FLAVOR.  Most people would agree that for this purpose, the ribeye rules. It is nicely marbled, meaning there are little lines of fat running throughout the meat. This will ensure a juicy steak, provided you don't overcook it. 

Now that we've covered the basics, let's get on with it...

It is best to start with room temperature meat.  It will cook more evenly, so take steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them.

Pat steaks dry with paper towel,  rub on both sides with spice blend.  Cook over medium-high heat until desired doneness.  For me, that is 7 - 8 minutes per side if the steak is 1 1/2 in. thick which is medium-rare.   Let steak rest for a few minutes before serving.