A beginner’s guide to DIY steak rubs

Steak already tastes delicious on its own, or simply sprinkled with salt and pepper. But to take your steak game to the next level, why not experiment with steak rubs you can make at home? By combining simple ingredients (many of which you can find around your house,) you can quickly create a plethora of flavors for your next barbeque or grilling session. It is important to note that any of the below options for DIY steak rubs have different flavor profiles – and the rubs can be used depending on what kind of flavor you’re looking for, or the occasion you’re serving the meat for.


For grilled or smoked meats, you can create a “sweet rub” for your steak, using a combination of sweet and savory ingredients. Below is a starter recipe you can use as-is, or adapt to whichever ingredients you have on hand/would like to use.


  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of paprika (you can use mild or hot, whichever you prefer)
  • 3 teaspoons of garlic powder (avoid using garlic salt, as you’ve already added salt earlier) you can also use fresh, minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash of basil


In addition to “sweet” rubs, there are also savory rubs, which are perfect for everyday cooking and special events alike. Even though many rub recipes say to add X amount of any given ingredient to the mix, you can pick and choose which ingredients you would like more or less of depending on your personal taste.


  • 4 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
  • ½ tablespoon oregano
  • ½ tablespoon garlic
  • ½ tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ tablespoon thyme
  • ½ tablespoon rosemary
  • ½ tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Both of these recipes can be kept in an airtight jar after initial use, because each batch makes enough rub for about 20 steaks, depending on how much seasoning you usually add. If your guests love the rub you’ve made, you can always give some to take home with them or even gift it for birthdays or Father’s Day. When paring these steak rub recipes with other foods, be sure to keep the type of steak rub you’ve used when serving other dishes. If you’ve used a sweet rub, shy away from serving too much sweet fruit (even though it’s summer,) so your meal isn’t tipped towards the sweet side of things. In terms of summertime drinks, you can pair these recipes with wine (depending on the cut of steak) or mixed drinks. Steak rubs offer the perfect opportunity for you to get adventurous with ingredients, and utilize spices you may have growing in your garden or greenhouse during warmer months. Experiment away, and see which rub recipe is best for you!


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