Use A Sweet And Spicy Dry Rub To Elevate The Beefy Nature Of Tuna Steaks

Do your tuna steaks need more flavor? The meat itself is savory and mildly sweet, but even the most flavorful cuts of fish can sometimes use more spice. To avoid the risk of serving a bland meal, use a sweet and spicy dry rub on the tuna that will give it similar flavor profiles and texture to grilled beef steak. For a little inspiration, check out our recipe for dry-rub grilled spicy tuna created by Tasting Table recipe developer Ksenia Prints. It enhances the fish with spices like coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper, as well as a small dash of brown sugar for sweetness.

Just in case you haven't used a dry rub on tuna steaks, or any other meat before, it's a fast and easy technique for seasoning. It's basically a dry version of marinade made with a blend of spices that you pat onto dry meat right before it goes in the pan or on the grill. So you don't have to worry about letting the protein absorb the flavors for a while like you would with a marinade. This method for tuna steaks creates "robust flavors" and a "mouthwatering crust as it grills," says Prints.

Making a dry rub for tuna steaks

To make this dry rub, the first step is finding the right balance of sweet and spicy seasonings. Prints uses 1 tablespoon of paprika, ½ tablespoon each of garlic powder, coriander, and cumin, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and ½ teaspoon of brown sugar in her recipe. If you like smokier, bolder flavors, go for smoked paprika instead, and increase the cayenne pepper if you have a high tolerance for heat. You can also use other spices on your sweet and spicy tuna steaks, like chili powder, onion powder, and dry mustard for tanginess, or go with cinnamon and nutmeg if you want to lean more into comforting sweet flavors. You can also use a very simple dry rub steak seasoning mix to get more essence of beef.

The trick to a good dry rub is to make sure all of the ingredients are blended well. To achieve this, measure out the seasonings, place them in a bowl, and combine well. Don't rub each seasoning onto the tuna steaks separately, or you risk parts of the fish lacking the balance of sweet and savory flavors. After your spice blend is ready, pat the tuna dry, and rub the mix on every crevice of the steaks to ensure ultimate flavor. After they're grilled, you'll be left with sweet and spicy tuna steaks that have a surprisingly similar taste and texture to beef steaks.