Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning
Have you ever eaten steak at one of your friend's barbecues and wondered how it turned out so tasty and succulent? At a steak house have you wanted to figure out how to cook your steaks to such juicy and tender perfection? Montreal steak seasoning effectively blends hot spiciness and savory flavors to produce such culinary excellence.
Preparing a tasty steak is actually not that difficult. Beef is naturally flavorful and barely needs to be cooked to make it enjoyable. The art behind delicious steak can be attributed to how you season it, how you utilize the instruments at your disposal and the cut of meat. Once you master the balance of seasoning and grilling, smoking, or barbecuing, dishes like Montreal Steak melt in your mouth.
What is Steak?
Two important traits of steak are its cut and how it is seasoned.
A steak is the result of your butcher slicing a roast in cross-section. Various cuts of steak dictate how you cook them and what kinds of seasoning best bring out their flavors. Montreal seasoning is so versatile you can use it on any steak.
- Tenderloin (Filet Mignon) – The most tender cut of beef, Filet Mignon does not have the intense flavor of some other steaks. You can pan-broil or grill it.
- Short loin (New York Strip & Porterhouse) – The New York strip is both less tender and flavorful than the rib-eye. However, it is also less fatty and more economical. It is a versatile steak that can be fried stovetop or smoked. A T-bone should be grilled.
- Rib (Rib Eye) – This cut is valued by most beef lovers for good reason. Its classic marbling makes it both juicy and flavorful. It can be fried, roasted, or barbecued.
- Chuck, flank, and round – These are tougher cuts and require more attention to prepping and cooking. You can use a marinade or other seasonings to create more tenderness.
- Top Sirloin (Sirloin and Top Sirloin) – While not as tender as your rib-eye steaks or even a strip steak, these cuts are quite flavorful. They fare well with many seasonings.
Ways to Enhance Flavor in Steaks
Seasoning can take the form of a marinade, dry or wet rub, brine, or collection of spices. Seasoning has become so instrumental in preparing beef and other meats that many rubs and spice collections have names.
- Marinade – Marinade is a liquid that uses an acidic base like soy sauce, vinegar, or lemon juice for tenderizing meat.
- Brine – Another method used for tougher cuts, brine has a saltwater base. An alternative is a deep seasoning whereby you salt the steak and refrigerate uncovered for three days.
- Seasonings/Dry Rubs – Dry rubs can add surface texture or a flavorful crust to steaks. Crumbled spices highlight flavors that are naturally present in various foods. Apply both rubs or homemade seasonings to your steaks before grilling.
- Sauces – Whether sweet, tangy, or spicy, you want to apply sauces lightly in the last five minutes of grilling or after cooking.
The difference between dry rubs and seasonings is subtle. Seasonings are finer in texture and applied more sparingly than dry rubs. Many use the terms interchangeably.
Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning
Why Homemade Seasonings?
While marinating has its place in cooking beef, many of the tender-cut steaks do not require it. Although rubs and seasonings do not tenderize meat, you can accomplish a great combination of different flavors with them. Grocery stores usually dedicate entire sections to steak seasoning.
Homemade seasonings, like anything else crafted in your own kitchen, are often superior to what you will find at the grocer. Made with fresh spices, they lend pizazz to steaks as well as pork, fish, and chicken. Even if you marinade a chuck steak, you can coat a homemade seasoning on top to create an herbal crust or simply add dimension to the taste.
There are several advantages to making your own steak seasoning.
- Amount of ingredients - You can vary amounts of certain spices based on taste and health concerns, for example, you can lower the amount of salt.
- What is in it? - You can substitute spices.
- Awareness - If you make your own seasoning, you know exactly what you are consuming. You know there are no MSGs, artificial ingredients, or preservatives.
- Tastes are more potent - You have control over freshness and knowledge of how long a seasoning has been on your shelf.
History of Montreal Steak Seasoning
Popularly nicknamed Canadian steak spice or seasoning, Montreal steak seasoning is widely used on steaks, potatoes, vegetables, salmon, and poultry.
Did you ever wonder where one of the most popular steak seasonings originated? Montreal steak seasoning is actually the same blend used in Pastrami, and originated in Romania. Reuben Schwartz brought his Pastrami along with the seasonings to Canada when he immigrated. He used the spice blend to cure beef brisket before smoking it in his deli. On a whim, he sprinkled it on his liver steak lunch one day, and the fashion caught fire in all of North America.
Step-By-Step Homemade Montreal Steak Seasoning
Whether you feel adventurous and use red pepper or cayenne flakes, or you want to explore the wood tones of rosemary, you can find and create plenty of variations for Monterey seasoning. At its heart, however, are salt and pepper, coriander, dill, onion, and garlic.
Step One: Kitchen Items You Need
- Food processor or spice blender
- Small bowl
- Air-tight jar with a lid
Step Two: Ingredients You Need
- 2 Tablspns coarse sea salt
- 2 Tblspns paprika
- 2 Tblspns whole peppercorns
- 1 Tblspn garlic powder
- 1 Tblspn onion powder
- 2 tspns whole coriander seeds
- 2 tspns whole mustard seeds
- 2 tspns dried rosemary
- 2 tspns dried dill
- 2 tspns red pepper flakes
You can try to replace heavier spices like rosemary and dill for thyme and parsley when using on chicken.
Step Three: Combine
- Blend the peppercorns, sea salt, and paprika in a spice blender or grind with mortar and pestle until the peppercorns have almost completely broken.
- Blend in remaining ingredients until well-mixed and uniform.
- Instant use provides the freshest experience, but you can store the seasoning for several months in your air-tight jar. Keep at room temperature.
Do not panic if you do not have a spice blender. You can use a regular blender on the pulse setting. Or you can put the mixture into a plastic bag and crush the whole spices with a rolling pin. Another option is to utilize powdered forms or coarsely pre-ground ingredients in place of seeds or peppercorns.
Step 4: Season
When you season steak, your aim should be to liberally sprinkle all sides without dousing the meat. A reasonable starting point is half a tablespoon of homemade seasoning per eight ounces of steak. It should be enough for both sides. Like salt and pepper, you or your guests can add more when ready to dine.
Make sure to work the seasoning in so it infuses the interior of the steaks as they cook.
Step 5: Cook
Cook your steaks according to your preferred method.
You can season your steaks and immediately throw them on the grill. Some feel they benefit from at least 20 minutes up to 2 hours in the refrigerator to allow the flavors of the steak seasoning to disperse. We feel the heat from cooking does that pretty well.
What to Serve With Montreal Steak
You have created a succulent steak complete with the perfect homemade seasoning. Now what? Truly impress your guests with sides to highlight the perfection of their steaks and drinks to complement the bold and spicy flavors.
Recommended Side Dishes
- Hasselback potatoes and Swiss chard – The potatoes provide a striking visual contrast to both the greens and your main entrée. The red pepper and coriander in the chard will complement the seasoning in the steak.
- Mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus – The buttery mashed potatoes and the Parmesan cheese on the asparagus will highlight the rich flavor of the Montreal seasoning.
- Rice Pilaf with mushrooms and pine nuts – Mushrooms go nicely with steak and the pine nuts blend well with the savory Montreal seasonings.
Delicious Beverage Pairings
- Imperial Stout – Oaky tannins similar to those in red wine make this beer bold enough for Montreal steak.
- Bordeaux – A Cabernet and Merlot blend, this red wine has a savory tone that complements steak dishes like those with Montreal seasoning and herbal sides. Cabernets, Malbecs, and Pinot Noirs work equally well.
- Club soda with lemon – The acidity of the lemon goes well with the richness of the steak. If you crave carbonation, this is a great beverage that will cut through the fat of a rib-eye.
We have all seen someone sit down before a thick juicy steak and proceed to dump steak sauce all over it. We thought, and perhaps even said, "How could you ruin a perfectly good steak like that?" There are ways to enhance the flavor of steak without overwhelming its natural accents.
Homemade seasonings make it easy to transform an ordinary meal into an intriguing dish rich in complexity. Whether you want to treat yourself to a delicious home-cooked steak or you want to host a dinner party in style, homemade Montreal steak seasoning is a fast and easy blend.
We hope you found this short guide helpful and entertaining. We would love for you to share your comments and pass these tips along.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Montreal steak seasoning made of?
Montreal steak seasoning was made famous by McCormick spices. The recipe can vary from supplier to supplier, especially when it is homemade for restaurants. Most recipes contain paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic and onion powders, ground coriander, ground mustard, dill, and red pepper flakes.
Is Montreal steak seasoning gluten free?
If you make our homemade Montreal steak seasoning recipe, it is 100 percent gluten free. If you’re buying a store-bought version or ordering a steak at a restaurant that has the seasoning blend applied before or after cooking, you should double check the ingredeints list to make sure they didn’t add any gluten containing ingredients (like soy sauce).
Is there MSG in Montreal Steak Seasoning?
Our recipe for homemade Montreal steak seasoning doesn’t contain any MSG. We find that steaks contain enough naturally occurring glutamates that we don’t need to add any extra by using powdered MSG. McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning is also free of MSG.
What is the best steak seasoning?
The answer to this question really depends on your personal preference. Some people like steak that’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper only. Other people like to add onion and garlic powders, while others still like adding chili peppers, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes. The choice is up to you, but we think this homemade Montreal steak seasoning recipe tastes great on any type of steak!
How long does Montreal steak seasoning last?
Spices definitely have an expiration date. Old spices aren't likely to make you sick, but they definitely lose their flavor and become less potent over time. It’s best to use green herbs and spices within a year of buying them, ground spices for about three years, and whole spices for up to four years. Once you blend this homemade Montreal steak seasoning together, we’d recommend using it within a year for best flavor.