Sugar and salt steak seasoning

If you have bought yourself a really great steak, you want to make it taste like a great steak. That makes sense because what else should a steak taste like. Still, you have to season a good piece of beef. Often with salt. Salt brings out the natural flavour of the fat in the meat.

This time we also used sugar and came to a great conclusion. sugar gives the beef a subtle sweet taste and helps get the Maillard reaction going faster.

We had an excellent dry-aged T-bone in the freezer. The steak has been aged for 21 days and therefore gets a more intense beef taste. You have to taste such a steak as it is intended. And we’re going to do that with salt and sugar.

Using sugar to season a steak sounds strange, but it isn’t. We mix salt and sugar in a ratio of 3 to 4. We use smoked sea salt and ordinary white sugar that we sprinkle on the steak until we see a grey haze.

We then leave the steak uncovered in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight. The salt draws the surface moisture from the steak, in which the salt and sugar crystals dissolve. The meat will then absorb the salty fluid, and the sugar will coat the outside of the meat.

You don’t have to worry about the steak becoming very sweet. The salt will have the upper hand because it penetrates far into the meat. The sugar only remains on the surface, and that is only a small part in relation to the rest of this thick steak.

We grill the steak over direct heat at a relatively low temperature of around 200ºC (392F). We have lowered the grates one notch in the divide and conquer system of our Kamado Joe. This way, you can control the grill temperature a bit without adding or perhaps removing more charcoal.

When the steak is on the grill, we sprinkle a little extra dry rub over the steak and close the lid. We do this to prevent flames caused by the melting fat.

This way, you leave the steak for at least 15 to 20 minutes. What happens now is that the steak is slowly heated up, and you like that with a thick steak of 2 fingers thick. This technique we use is called the reversed sear, and we recommend that you use that for a steak thicker than 2.5 centimetres, where you first let the steak indirectly heat up and then grill it.

The potatoes had been in the barbecue for an hour while the t-bone steak was in the fridge. A baked potato takes about an hour. We put the tomatoes on the grill simultaneously as the steak.

The sugar will make the T-bone brown faster on the surface and form a crust. This crust is due to the Maillard reaction, which gives the meat a more complex taste. This is why everyone is preying on the crusted sides when a piece of meat is cut.

There is a clear difference between brown and black. That’s why you don’t want flames or too high a temperature in the barbecue. Then the sugar would burn and become bitter. That is why we keep the lid closed as much as possible.

The surface browns faster because of the extra sugar; it’s because of this that you don’t even have to grill the steak at the end. It is essential that you pay close attention and turn and flip the steak in search of cooler places if necessary. Grill stripes are lovely but not crucial for the taste.

After about half an hour, we have a T-bone with an internal temperature of about 52-53ºC (126 to 127F). If you let it rest, the temperature will rise slightly to the perfect core temperature of 55ºC (131F). It is therefore essential that you regularly check the core temperature.

This is our T-bone that we seasoned with salt and sugar. When grilling, the sugar caramelizes and gives a beautiful dark brown crust. The salt has flavoured the dry-aged steak from the inside out, bringing out the concentrated flavour of dry-aged beef even better.

If you try this dry rub on your next steak, let us know in the comments below. Or better! Take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbq.heroes so we can see what you made.


  • A good quality steak
  • 4 parts granulated sugar
  • 3 parts coarse salt


  1. Mix the sugar and salt and sprinkle this over the meat until you see a light haze.
  2. Leave the dry rub on for 2 hours to overnight.
  3. Prepare the steak as described above.

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