If you're looking to cook the perfect steak at home, you're going to need the perfect dry rub recipe. When applied immediately before cooking, dry rubs work to tenderize the steak, enhance its flavor, and help you achieve the highly coveted, caramelized crust that sets a well-cooked steak apart. A dry rub can be simple, consisting of little more than salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or it can be more complex with the addition of warming flavors like allspice.
Born from the dried berries of the evergreen allspice tree, allspice is one of the most identifiable flavors in spooky season favorites like pumpkin pie and fall-flavored lattes. With notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and black pepper, any dish with allspice is infused with a warming explosion of earthy flavors -- and steak is no exception.
More traditional barbecue dry rubs usually include salt, pepper, and brown sugar, with the addition of the smoky and pungent flavors of paprika, onion, and garlic to balance out the sweetness. However, because steak requires high heat for a good sear and sugar has a tendency to burn when exposed to high temperatures, steak rubs are usually crafted without the sweet ingredient. Luckily, the nutmeg notes in allspice work to round out the more acrid flavors in your dry rub, supplying a subtly sweet and nutty finish.
Allspice Is A Versatile Dry Rub Ingredient
Frequently used in Caribbean cuisine, allspice is a staple in many meat-centric dishes throughout the region. As one of the predominant flavors in Jamaican jerk seasoning, allspice works well in a dry rub that also includes garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, thyme, cayenne, nutmeg, and cinnamon for a spectacularly spicy and smoky Jamaican jerk steak.
When allspice is incorporated into a steak dry rub recipe with herbs de provence -- a blend of herbs usually consisting of thyme, basil, rosemary, tarragon, savory, marjoram, oregano, and bay leaves -- it works to add a hint of nuttiness that allows the flavors of the delicate spices to shine without overpowering them. While the warming flavors of allspice are typically associated with more robust dishes, like Jamaican jerk steak, the sweetness of allspice can also work well with the subtle summertime herbs for a light and herbaceous steak that pairs well with peppery arugula and shavings of salty parmesan cheese.
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