Cowboy Sugar Rubbed Steaks

Grilled to Perfection

This post goes out to my very distant cousin Emily Ziegler Mallory (tall-tale) over at Cleanliness is Next to Godliness. Now, when you and the dude feel like eating a nice, thick slab of beef, this is it.

Lately, it’s been a scorcher. High over the 100 mark with heat index peaking at 115, very little breeze and when it does stir around, it feels like that of a maddened bull, as I remember. Now ya’ll know I’m a little half-wit, a coot at times and off my rocker fairly often. That said, this idea for a grilled steak recipe has been rolling around in my head like a tumbleweed for a while now and it finally settled down on Saturday eve, in the shade of 99 degrees in fact. The recipe is splendiferous if I may say so myself, grilling outside during this heat spell, I'd say I'm a  chucklehead.

What I was pining for was something of a Texan flavored steak charred with a sweet crusty coating that caramelized from the heat of a hot grill. I wanted the outside crisp and the inside juicy pink. The real test was to make sure the real flavor of the meat was not lost with too much spice or sweet. You with me?

Once I listed the ingredients, I decided given the intense heat and fast cooking time needed, my choice of steaks would be ribeye, my favorite or a strip steak. T-bone would be good too. So off it was to the store where New York strips were on sale and I chose a pair slightly under 1 1/2 inches thick.

Now here’s how I finished these slabs of beeves and the recipe:

Cowboy Sugar Rubbed Steaks

2 Steaks of choice like Ribeyes, New York Strips, T-bones
Olive oil
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground garlic
Dash cayenne
1/4 teaspoon Colman's mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
Sea salt
Liquid smoke, I used hickory
Worcestershire sauce
Soy sauce
    Trim the steaks of excess fat and massage the olive oil into both sides really well. This will help the sugar and seasoning adhere to the meat. You can read more tips on preparing steaks from my post on Grilled Steaks.

    Grind the cumin seed and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or spice grounder, add the garlic, cayenne, mustard and chili powder. Mix to combine.

    Rub 1 teaspoon of brown sugar into each side of the steak. Rub until the sugar melts.
    Sprinkle each side with the dry rub coating well and rub into the sugar. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so.

    Remove from the fridge about an hour before you grill. Sprinkle the top fairly well with the liquid smoke. Let rest for about 30 minutes. Turn steaks over, sprinkle lightly with the Worcestershire and soy sauce and let marinate remaining 30 minutes. Flip once again before grilling. 

    Heat grill between high and medium high heat. Oil the grate with a little cooking oil. Grill steaks over direct heat about 6 minutes on first side and 4 minutes on the other. Spoon any marinade over the steaks if you desire when you place them on and turn them over. Cook longer if you like your steaks medium to medium well.

    Remove from grill, place a pat of butter on each if desired and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the juice that collects on the plate.

    Eat up and thank me later.


    1. Thanks so much for the shout out! I LOVE this!!! Hmm... I do have some red meat in the freezer, I may just make this tonight! This looks DIVINE!

      Heart you, Cuz!

    2. I've got myself some liquid smoke... hmmm!

    3. Hey Drick, this is one heck of a tasty looking steak! Now I want some ribeyes for the grill! I bet that sweet rub adds a nice crusty coating to the grilled steak.

      Medium-rare please!

      Bon appetit!

    4. Where were you Suday when I was cooking t-bones and just made them boring? I'd much prefer these.

    5. what an interesting idea! I will try this!
      I love liquid smoke, too!

    6. I'm game for one of these.

    7. My mouth is watering right this moment! I've been wanting to do a sweet caramelized steak this week! Thanks for the recipe!

    8. The steaks look sublime. I learned about using sugar when grilling from a friend, who's a chef. He showed me how to use a mixture of salt, sugar ginger for seared scallops.

    9. You are a hoot! Love the photo of the cowboy! :) Seriously...I want to grill one of these steaks!

    10. Oh, my, if dinner wasn't already sitting in the frig ready to be heated up this evening, I'd be heading to the store right now to pick up some steaks. Hmmm, maybe dinner will keep and I can still do steaks? Wonder how the rub'd be on sweet potatoes?

    11. Never tried liquid smoke, always wondered what to do with it will give it a whirl now! these look terrific as always~

    12. You have a way with a steak, Drick. You are a brave man to grill in that heat. Here's hoping a cool spell drifts your way so you can grill more comfortably!

    13. Drick, I'm lost! I don't understand :( Oh I I were not preparing this for me. It's a cowboy steak! Common, you need to have a cowgirl recipe, then I can understand...LOL

    14. Oh know I had to save this for my son Adam (aka Truffle Shuffle), aside from the heat there I think he would be willing to have you adopt him:) Beautiful rub with all the best in flavor.

    15. My mouth is watering, just thinking about these tasty looking steaks! Love liquid smoke and Coleman's mustard! Spicy and hot, yum!

    16. Now you know the hubby aka The Carnivore would be lovin' this one! Nice rub combo.

    17. great steaks, I love using liquid smoke and the heat, oh it's pretty unbearable around here also, but what can ya do? grilling in the summer is such a family fav..



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