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How Not to Mess Up Cooking A Steak Dinner | Spice Rubbed Steak

Let's start at the very beginning. I did not grow up eating steaks.

That would be a cardinal sin indeed, growing up in a country where there exists a sacred relationship with cows.

And I've had to learn to make steaks from scratch and It's something hubby and I've gotten very good at in this family over the last three decades.

If Mr. hubby isn't donning his man apron and tools and hitting the deck, then chances are I'm in charge and that means a couple of things follow:

I follow some basic steak rules,

- a nice cut of meat with some fat - NY strip steak or Rib eye steak.

(Lean sucks when it comes to a good steak. Fat carries flavor y'all!)

- a good homemade rub.

- cook in a cast iron pan for a wicked sear.

- cook in ghee. That's right! Nothing like good ole desi ghee to kick your steak into high gear.

Let me explain, I L.O.V.E my steaks on a cast iron pan. If you aren't using a grill I would recommend cast iron pans over any new hoity toity brand name pan for the simple reason that good ole' cast iron allows for true uniform heating and though it may take a bit to get to that required temperature once there it can hold it's heat.

Now ghee, being good old clarified butter, has all the goodness and yumminess of butter without its one prevalent weakness - the tendency of those milk solids to burn easily at high temperatures.

Which is why the clarified bit comes in so handy. When we make ghee, we simmer butter until the fat separates from the milk solids which remain at the bottom of the pan. Not to mention, just plain delicious.

My Whatever-Whenever rub is just that! It's a homemade rub that has been a kitchen staple for over 2 decades. I always make sure I have a jar in my pantry and use it on everything from steaks, shrimp, chicken - you name it.

It's time to get cooking. No doubt my ancestors are looking down at me disapprovingly as I write this post but they'll just have to forgive me. One bite of a perfectly cooked steak, and I was a goner!



Recipe for

Spice Rubbed Steak

Serves 4

Shopping List:

4 qty 10-12 oz. boneless NY strip steaks or Ribeyes, defrosted

4 tbsp. Homemade Whatever-Whenever rub

4 tbsp. olive oil to marinate steak

3 tbsp. ghee to cook steaks

cast iron pan to cook steaks

To finish: finishing salt to sprinkle at the end

Whatever-Whenever Rub

1 ½ tbsp. Paprika

2  tbsp. Brown sugar

1  tbsp. Garlic powder

1/2  tbsp. ground black pepper

1  tbsp. onion powder

1  tbsp. thyme leaves

1  tbsp. oregano leaves

1/2  tbsp. cayenne Pepper

 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 

1/2 tbsp. ground cumin

1-1/2 tbsp. salt


Rub: Place all ingredients, one by one in a screw top glass jar or any plastic container with tight lid. Close lid tightly and shake for 30 seconds vigorously to combine all above ingredients in a thoroughly dry airtight container.

Steaks: Marinate each steak with 1 tbsp. Whatever-Whenever Rub & 1 tbsp. olive oil per steak. Rub thoroughly all over the meat, including top, bottom as well as sides with clean fingers. Do not add any salt since the seasoning is enough. Marinate for at least 1 hour for as long as 8 hours. Cook's Note: The marinade and oil would have infused the meat. You'll be able to tell that it has soaked through the surface.


Heat up the cast iron pan or fire up the grill.

If using a grill, the steaks will be cooked using the 'Direct heat method'.

I like my steak cooked medium - pink center & Mr. Hubby likes it Medium to Medium-rare - hot pink center. 

For cooking times, we follow  Steven Raichlen's guide to cooking steaks:

Steaks 1/2” to 3/4” thick-

Rare – 1-2 minutes / side

Medium – 2-3 minutes/side

Well-done - 3-4 minutes/side

Steaks 1” thick-

Rare – 3-4 minutes / side

Medium – 4-6 minutes/side

Well-done - 6-7 minutes/side

Steaks 1-1/2” thick-

Rare – 4-6 minutes / side

Medium – 6-8 minutes/side

Well-done - 8-9 minutes/side

Heat 1-1/2 tbs ghee in the cast iron pan over medium high heat.

Use the above  guide for cooking times. I love the crisp blackened layer the steak gets when you flip it over. Cook the other side as well once again following recommended cooking times.

Once cooked, remove the steaks to a plate and rest the steak for about 5-10 minutes before serving. I can't imagine resting for 20 minutes. Who like a cold steak?!

Cook's Note: Remember that the meat continues to cook after you've taken it off the heat source. This is crucial to understand especially when cooking a steak.  This is called carry-over cooking and is caused by residual heat transferring from the hotter exterior of the meat to the cooler center.

This means the meat must be removed from the heat source at an internal temperature lower than your desired final internal temperature, allowing the residual heat to finish the cooking while the meat rests.

Why is it important to rest steaks before cutting into them?

Quite simply, as meat proteins cook, they begin to shrink. Think of your kitchen sponge wrung out - that's what the meat is doing as it is cooking.

Once the meat rests, the moisture that is driven toward the center of the meat is redistributed. As a result, less juice runs out of the meat when you cut into it. Dinner's done!

Serve with sautéed broccoli, some roasted potatoes or a baked potato, a bottle of good red wine and you have a lovely evening to look forward to.




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