Rubbed Rib Eye

I’ve been talking to people about grass-fed beef this week, and doing a fair amount of taste testing. I have come to the conclusion that I can never again eat corn fed, factory farmed animals. Not only is the flavor superior, but it is humane. If I am going to eat meat at all (and this is not a deal breaker … believe me there are veggies and vegans coming at me all the time), it’s going to be happy meat. So if it’s sad meat you’re serving me, don’t tell me. Then go watch the movie FOOD INC.

This recipe is a nice way to use really good beef. It utilizes the spice rub technique. It is like a marinade in that it flavors the meat, but it consists only of dry spices. It is rubbed into the meat, then allowed to sit and penetrate. The longer it sits, the deeper the flavor gets. It is not a dish for the faint of heart, or those with a delicate constitution. This is serious eating.

The rib eye steak, also known as the Delmonico steak, comes from the small end of the rib roast. It has more marbling than other cuts, making one of the most tender and flavorful steaks available. If your butcher sells the rib eye with the bone in, buy it! The extra fat and moisture from the bone adds flavor and tenderness.

You can use these same instructions for other cuts of meat too. Ribs, chicken, and fatter roasts like a pork butt (I love saying that!) will need much slower cooking than described below. Smoking is ideal, but if you are sans smoker, use low, indirect heat on your grill. You can also roast it slowly in your oven for 3-5 hours at 250˚F, then finish it off on the grill to give it that good charcoal flavor.

To get it just the way you want, use an instant-read thermometer to test internal temperatures.


1/2 cup cumin seed
1/4 cup celery seed
1/4 cup black peppercorns
1/4 cup coriander seeds
1/4 cup mustard seeds
1/2 cup chili powder
1/2 cup garlic powder
1/2 cup onion powder
1/2 cup dried thyme
1/2 cup dried oregano
1/4 cup pink peppercorns
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup paprika
2 TB. whole cloves
2 TB. cayenne pepper
4 (12-14 oz.) rib eye steaks


  1. In a hot skillet toast cumin, celery, black pepper, coriander, and mustard seeds.  Combine with remaining spices, mix well, and grind to a course powder. Rub mixture into steaks, coating generously. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  2. Remove the steaks from refrigeration 30 minutes before grilling. Preheat grill on high heat. Grill over direct high heat. If your barbecue has a lid, close it. After 5 minutes, flip meat over, keep the lid open, and cook for another 5 minutes for rare; 8 minutes for medium. Remove the meat from grill, cover with foil and rest 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4 serious meat eaters. Serves 8-10 delicate flowers.

 PS: You can also use this spice blend as barbecue sauce seasoning. Combine 1 cup of spice rub with 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup honey, 1 cup of tomato sauce, 1/4 cup tamarind paste and 3 tablespoons cider vinegar.  Simmer it slowly for 30-60 minutes, stirring periodically. Oh Yeah!

Print this recipe