We’ve been blessed. There’s no other way to describe the way we feel about having had so many opportunities to share delicious steaks with dear friends. They love the steaks we make. We get so many compliments. We also get plenty of questions. One of the most common questions we get is one of the most simple to answer: What steak seasoning do you use?
Have you ever had someone ask you a question about something you made with that expectant look of eager anticipation? Like when they just know you’ve got something really valuable to tell – something that, once you tell them, will make their life better – and they can’t wait to wrench it out of you?
“How did you make that?!”
“What’s your secret?!”
That’s the look we get when people ask us what steak seasoning we use.
You know the feeling you get when you know your answer is going to leave them unsatisfied? Yeah. That’s how we feel.
Every. Single. Time.
Why do we feel that way? Because our secret isn’t so secret. Because cooking steak to perfection is so much simpler than people realize.
Our Not-So-Secret Steak Seasoning
Maybe we’re fools for putting this out there, but here it is. This is the secret steak seasoning that has made our steaks truly flawless:
Salt and pepper.
The only thing we ever use to season our incredible steaks is kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Every medium steak, every medium rare steak (that’s pretty much the extent of our cooking preferences), every perfect, sous vide Manhattan filet and every reverse seared filet mignon masterpiece that’s born in our kitchen gets this simple but perfect steak seasoning.
It’s not that we haven’t tried other steak seasonings. We’ve tried them. We just keep coming back to the original for one reason.
The Steak Seasoning is Inside
Assuming you start with a good cut of steak and a good grade of steak, an incredible amount of flavor comes pre-packaged right inside that lovely little slab of meat goodness. You wouldn’t think it to see the offerings in the seasoning aisle at the local grocery, but the only thing you need on that steak is salt and pepper.
Salt and pepper have been used by humans for thousands of years to enhance the flavor of their foods. There is evidence that the first town in Europe was a salt-producing community. Salt was so valuable to ancient human life that at one point it was even used as currency.
What makes salt so amazing is its ability to enhance the flavor of your food rather than add a flavor that competes. There’s a lot of science to it, but basically it amplifies just the right tastes (sweetness, umami) on your taste buds and mutes the wrong one (bitterness).
As a result, salt grabs all the delicious meaty flavor in your ribeye, strip or filet and cranks it up, because more steak flavor is always a good thing.
Pepper: The Nice Spice
Salt is a pure compound. It’s devoid of it’s own flavor, but rather grabs a hold of the ones already there. Pepper, on the other hand, is a spice.
Humans have been using pepper for as long as time, with evidence pointing to humans using it over 4000 years ago. Unlike salt, pepper adds flavor to the steak. But this isn’t a bad thing. The flavor is truly amazing: both incredibly complex while at the same time understated. Its flavor is earthy and exciting on the tongue, and when used in the proper way can send your taste buds to steak heaven.
Keep it Simple
The old saying applies. Less is more. Salt and pepper is all you need to make the perfect steak seasoning. We use a 1-to-1 ratio typically, but we really like going a little pepper-heavy sometimes. Avoid sea salt or table salt if you can; the flakes of kosher salt are the perfect size to season a nice thick steak to perfection.
The fact that salt endures on our kitchen tables today, nearly 2000 years after Jesus told us we were the “salt of the Earth”, is a testament to the uniqueness of this truly incredible compound. When added with freshly cracked pepper, you’ve got all the steak seasoning you’ll ever need.