Recipe: Dry rub for steak by David Theiss

Summer schedule is filling up with graduations, weddings, back yard barbecues, and, don’t forget, Father’s Day on June 19.

With the celebration of fatherhood should come gratitude for his unique set of skills he has passed onto you. Skills you thought you would never use, and were usually annoyed by. Fixing cars, planting the garden, painting the house and a lot of other chores. As an adolescent, I thought how dumb he was for doing all the things he did. It now reminds me of a quote Mark Twain had coined, “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around, but when I got to be 21 I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

I’ve come to realize how important my father is in my life and how grateful I am to him for all his kind words and experience. His gentle hand of encouragement to do the things I needed to do, an inspiration to enjoy the simpler things in life, and to slow down and enjoy your family as they are important. I believe a man’s worth is measured by how he parents his children, what he gives them, what he keeps from them, the lessons he teaches and the lessons he allows them to learn on their own. Father’s Day, what a great way to celebrate him!

Then there’s what to get your father? The all favorite tie he’ll never wear or the next electric gadget he’ll use once. Here’s a suggestion: Paint that room he has always wanted to change color, or how about mowing the yard, or cleaning those windows your mother has been asking him to do for the last two months? Even better, cook Dad dinner and just let him enjoy your company.

What do you cook? There;s chicken, ribs, pot roast, sausages, hot dogs, hamburgers. I know, Dad always enjoys a steak. One that’s tender, flavorful and cooked perfectly. Once upon a time, I was intimidated by what kind of steak to cook. Experience has taught me everything I need to know about what kind and size to use and for what recipe. Sounds simple, but there are more than a few things to think about. What are you going to do with the steak? Is it being served just as a steak off the grill ready to eat, or is it part of a recipe marinated or seasoned to make an ethnic recipe? What kind of budget do you have? Hankering for a filet mignon but have a hamburger budget? Are you cooking for a large party or just for a few people? Here are a few pointers.

I will limit the kind of steaks as to what I find are excellent grilled, ready to serve steaks.

When purchasing your steaks, specially grilling steaks, quality does matter. We sell C.A.B. (Certified Angus Beef). This certification lets you know the beef we sell is of the top 30 percent of all U.S.D.A Choice Beef. Excellent beef marbled and aged to perfection.

Higher quality cuts go like this. At the top of the steak realm and price and tenderness start with filet mignon or beef tenderloin. These steaks are incredibly tender but lack flavor by themselves. You’ll find these in high end restaurants and usually always served with some kind of sauce or butter. Béarnaise sauce is my favorite with this steak.

Next, we will consider the loin meat. T-bones steaks, rib steaks and New Yorks. T-bones are the best of both worlds. It’s a New York and a filet separated by a bone shaped like a T. When this steak has a large filet, it’s called a porterhouse. These are usually a large steak, 1.5 pounds typically, and could easily serve two people or one real carnivore.

Then we have the New York steak. Also called a strip steak, or top loin steak in some markets. This is one of my favorites. This steak is great for one person as it’s usually not too large but has all the qualities a great grill steak should have. It’s tender, has just enough marbling, and is boneless. We then have a rib steak, also loin meat with incredible marbling. Called many names, a rib steak refers to the bone-in version and a rib-eye refers to the boneless version. If you cook this as a roast it’s the prime rib. This steak is hard to beat. It’s tender when cooked correctly, flavorful when it has the right amount of marbling and a delicious choice for Dad.

The last one I’ll discuss is the top sirloin steak. On the West Coast we cut them boneless. East of the Mississippi, they typically cut this steak with the bone in. This is of good quality with not as much marbling and can be a large piece cooked for many. All of these grill steaks I recommend cooking with a high heat at the beginning and finishing off with a lower heat.

The high heat, or searing, creates flavors through a Maillard reaction. A process in which high heat, 300-500 degrees, when applied to protein and the sugars present, creates the browning and enhances a wonderful meaty flavor. Grill, broil, or pan fry works great for any of these, and Dad is going to love it.

Today’s recipe is a seasoning (dry rub) for any steak, a simple combination of common ingredients that provide incredible flavor.

Dry Rub


1 tablespoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon onion salt

1 tablespoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Mix ingredients together. Store in airtight container. Great on all kinds of meat, or try it on grilled potatoes, hash browns, or grilled vegetables.

Steak preparation couldn’t be simpler. Season both sides of a good quality steak with the dry rub, and cook. Dry rubs don’t need to sit for any time at all to flavor the meat. Just season and cook.

My suggestion for the perfect steak is always medium rare, but all of these steaks can be served to your liking. Internal temperature for rare is 125-130 degrees. Medium rare is 130-135 degrees. Medium is 140-145 degrees. Well done is 160 degrees and higher.

Don’t forget the 3rd and Curry St. Farmers Market starts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. We will be sampling and selling Basque chorizo and smoked breakfast sausage. See you there!

David Theiss is a longtime Carson City resident and owner of Butler Gourmet Meats.


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