Published July 1, 2004.
As we set out to find a simple spice rub recipe to dress up steaks, we wondered how many spices we’d need for the best rub. We found that because relatively few spices taste better when heated, a five-ingredient spice rub recipe (made with carefully chosen ingredients) is preferable to a pantry-emptying rub. Many proponents of spice rubs profess the benefits of toasting whole versions of all spices and grinding them fresh. To our great surprise, the flavor of steaks rubbed with freshly toasted and ground spices was indistinguishable from that of steaks rubbed with preground, untoasted spices.