Properly broiled steaks have crispy exteriors that yield to succulent juicy flesh. They should not be salted before cooking as the salt draws out their natural moisture, which inhibits the browning process and turns them an unattractive shade of gray. Purists prefer broiled steaks seasoned right before serving with nothing but a sprinkle of salt and pepper, while others like their meat with more zest.
Besides salt and pepper, you can season broiled steak with granulated garlic or garlic powder, a premixed seasoning salt or mixes of herbs and spices specifically made to bring out the best flavors in beef. For added flavor, lightly sprinkle cooked steaks with dried or fresh oregano or thyme leaves.
For years, restaurants have served steak sauce with their beef cuts, a tomato-based mixture flavored with other ingredients such as hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and assorted spices including dry mustard, allspice, celery seed and onion, garlic and curry powder. You can also liven up a broiled steak with bottled or homemade barbecue sauce, pure Worcestershire, hot pepper or teriyaki sauce, prepared horseradish or jarred mustard. A dash of balsamic vinegar brings out the natural flavors of the steak without overpowering them.
Season broiled steaks with sautéed vegetables to add texture and flavor. Good toppings that complement beef are caramelized onions, sliced fresh mushrooms quickly browned in butter and olive oil, roasted fresh garlic cloves or a mixture of these savory toppings.
Rubs and Marinades
To add unique flavors that permeate the steak before broiling, treat it with a rub or marinade. Mix freshly grated lemon peel with rosemary, thyme, freshly minced garlic, salt and pepper; rub it all over the steak and refrigerate for 10 to 30 minutes. To add a lighter taste to the meat, rub it with a mixture of rubbed sage, dried oregano, onion powder, dried basil and lemon pepper. For Texas-inspired steak, coat it with a combination of dried thyme, dried oregano, ground paprika, salt, garlic and onion powder and white and black pepper; wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator before broiling. A unique rub made with finely ground dark roast coffee, black pepper and salt gives the steak an earthy depth when applied right before cooking the steak. Wine fans can infuse the fermented grape flavors into their steak by marinating it in a mixture of red wine, chopped onion, orange zest, fresh rosemary, red currant jelly, salt and pepper for two to 24 hours prior to broiling. Flavor your steak with a Caribbean-inspired marinade made by sautéing chopped onion and garlic and simmering them with soy sauce, red wine vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, allspice, pepper, thyme, cloves, cinnamon and hot sauce. Marinate the steak overnight in the cooled marinade and broil to desired doneness.
Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.