The Minimalist's Tips for Perfect Steak

No need to go out for a perfectly cooked steak. Mark Bittman, aka the Minimalist, shares his tips for achieving steakhouse-quality perfection in your own kitchen.

Rubs

Most of us believe that because our beef is better it needs nothing but salt and pepper. That may be true of the absolute best meat, but you should tinker when using sub-premium meat, you may want to think about a rub.

A rub is a dry spice or spice and herb mixture used to coat the meat before grilling, adding not only strong flavor, but a bit more crunch, especially if you toast, mix, and grind the spices yourself.

My favorites are basic: chile powder, with mild chiles; fragrant curry powder; jerk seasoning, which contains fresh garlic and ginger and is quite powerful; and five-spice powder, which, when homemade, is unlike anything you can buy in a store.

Using any of these combinations is straightforward: rub a good teaspoon or more into each side of the steak, then grill over slightly lower heat than you would normally use, so the spices don't burn.

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