The Sweet Ingredient You Should Use To Season Steak

Steak is like the Rolls-Royce of meat options. It's often enjoyed as a celebratory dinner at steakhouses and costs a pretty penny, depending on what kind of cut you purchase. This is especially true for American wagyu and Japanese Kobe beef, per Bow River Meat Market. However, tasty steak dinners can also utilize cheaper cuts, like sirloin and flank steak, via CNET.

Either way, such steaks must be seasoned for those enriched salty and umami flavor notes. Salt, in particular, helps tenderize steak by breaking down lean muscle proteins and aids in the golden-brown coloring and enhanced flavors of the Maillard reaction, per Criollo Grass Fed Beef. Salt, thyme, oregano, and yellow mustard powder are known to pair well with steaks, as noted by Spices Inc. Seasonings like these are, of course, common for savory dishes, but what about adding layers of sweetness to the mix?

It might sound strange to season steaks with something sweet, but we assure you, doing so results in a perfectly caramelized crust with mouth-watering beefy, charred flavors, as told by America's Test Kitchen. Here's what that sweet ingredient is.

Dessert would be nothing without...

That magically-sweet ingredient is sugar. It's found in condiments, prepared foods, desserts, and syrups, according to Harvard Medical School, but this sweet stuff can also be used as a secret ingredient to elevate the richness of steaks.

America's Test Kitchen states that 4 parts sugar to 3 parts salt should be used to achieve a charred crust that would make many steakhouses jealous. The outlet explains that salt decreases the moisture levels of steak, which then "dissolves the sugar." The rub should be sprinkled "before a one-hour rest at room temperature" and right before you cook the steak. Thick steaks should also be used and moved around every so often, especially after caramelization occurs so that the sugars won't scorch.

Kitchn notes that a scorching grill should be used with clean, oiled grates (neutral oil is best here). Other than that, the process is pretty similar to cooking other steaks. Simply grill the steaks, rotate them at a 45-degree angle for those coveted grill marks, and flip. Grill to your desired temperature preference (make sure those sugars don't burn) and let the steaks rest on a cooling rack before enjoying. The result is subtly sweet with "supercharged" beefy flavors that give other steak recipes a run for their money.