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6 Steak Rubs and Marinades that Will Change your Life

reverse seared ribeye
seared steak

There is nothing wrong with Salt & Pepper for your steak seasoning when done correctly.  However, these 6 Rubs and Marinades will change the way you season your steaks for the grill.  After mixing up a few rubs and marinades, your family will think of you as a super hero….. changing the ordinary weeknight steak into a night out at home!  

I recommend starting with the marinades first… as they are heavy hitters that will open your eyes to the possibilities. 

Asian Steak Marinade

One of my all time favorite marinades that has sweetness, saltiness, and a little funk and heat on the backend.  If you do not like the heat, leave out the chili paste and you will be fine.  Great for skirt steak, flank steak, hanger steak, and flat iron steak

Marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours ahead of time.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of Steak. 

  • 3 Tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Gochujang
    (or 2 teaspoon chili paste)
  • 2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • Pinch of Black Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt

Carne Asada Marinade

I have had a quite a few bad carne asada tacos here in Iowa… I created this marinade to solve my own problem, and I am pretty proud of this one.  It is the “freshest” marinade on this list with plenty of citrus and cilantro that brings a bright punch of flavor.  Try this for a great steak by itself, or take taco night to the next level at home.  I usually pair this with Skirt Steak or Flank Steak.  

Marinade for 2-6 hours ahead of time.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of steak. 

  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
  • 3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Mexican Beer
  • Handful of Chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Jalapeño Diced
  • 1/2 Kiwi Smashed
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Amazing All Purpose Steak Marinade

This is a steak marinade for all occasions.  Well balanced with a touch of sweetness and a little salty tang that goes well with any steak.  Great for thin cut steak sandwiches or steak & potato night.  Can’t lose with this marinade recipe. 

Marinade for 30 minutes to 2 hours prior to grilling.  Recipe for 1-2 lbs of steak. If you are going overnight, add 8 Tablespoons of additional water.  Try this with flank steak or flat iron steak.  

  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worsteshire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

Red Chile Steak Rub

I would add a little heat to all my dinners, if it was my choice alone.  This Red Chile Steak Rub adds a little kick to a classic steak rub, and gives your steaks at home one more added dimension.   Season evenly and liberally.  After seasoning, I like to drizzle some olive oil and rice vinegar for nice marinade.  

Season 30 – 90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge. Try this with Ribeye, New York Strip, or Hanger Steak.  

  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

Sweet and Salty Steak Rub

For years I was in search of a steak rub that was more balanced, that tasted less salty.  This rub allows you to coat the steak pretty heavily if it is a thicker steak, which really creates an amazing flavor crust over a hot grill. I like this on thicker steaks, such as Ribeye, Hanger Steak, and New York Strip.  

Season 30 – 90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge.  

  • 2.5 Tablespoons Coconut Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon pepper

Classic Steak House Rub

A little touch of salt, pepper, herbs, and spice.  This is a great all purpose rub for Steaks and Burgers.  Feel free to experiment with the herbs you use in this rub for a change of pace.  Great for all steaks and burgers.  Season the thicker cuts more heavily.  

Season 30-90 minutes ahead of time and rest in the fridge. 

  • 2 teaspoon Coconut Sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 3 teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile
  • 3 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 2 teaspoon oregano,
    thyme, or other herbs

More Details on Steak Marinades and Rubs

I go through all the nuances and details of these steak rubs and marinades in the video below.  Want to know why I choose certain ingredients or where to find some of them?  All in my YouTube video below… 

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The Best Cheap Steaks for Your Grill…Stop Wasting your Money!

cheap steaks for the grill

Are you sick of the same old steak cuts on a weekly basis? I have a handful of amazing steaks that you can pair with great rubs and marinades that will change they way you grill steak… and how much you spend doing it!  All of these steaks are towards the bottom of the price range, typically found below $10 per pound, and sometimes much less on sale. 

From the Left: Skirt Steak, Flat Iron Steak, Flank Steak, Hanger Steak, Chuck Eye Steak, Shoulder Tender Steak

However, its not the price that drives me to purchase these steaks… its the flavor and versatility of these cuts that make them so amazing! No matter what the occasion, one of these steaks will be the perfect choice for the grill! Below are my favorite cheap steak cuts and why they should be on your list for the butcher.

6 Amazing Cheap Steak Cuts

Grilling Tips for Amazing Steaks

These grilling tips apply to any steaks, but certainly to these cuts as they can be a little tough or chewy if not treated correctly.  

  1. Season liberally with salt and pepper, or other seasoning blends about 30 minutes before grilling.  
  2. The thicker the steak, the more seasoning you want to ensure a flavorful steak. 
  3. Do not undercook these steaks… as they will be chewy.  I recommend pulling your steaks off the grill with an internal temperature of 130°F.
  4. Rest your steaks for at least 5 minutes.  Then make sure to slice your meat against the grain.  A lot of the steaks on this list have a strong grain, which works out great… as long as you cut perpendicular to that grain.  Cut with the grain… and your meat will be tough! 

Hanger Steak

If you are going to choose one steak to try on this list…it might be hanger steak.  If you have a good source, then this is one of my favorite cuts for steak night.  It has the tenderness of a filet when cooked properly, but with slightly more fat content which makes it so juicy and flavorful.  A nice combination of tenderness and buttery goodness!  Make sure to cut against the grain, or you will not find it very tender!  

Flat Iron Steak

Flat Iron Steak may be the most versatile steak on this list of cheap steaks.  It is similar to flank steak, but I find it more tender and has a little higher fat content for added richness.  This steak is great by itself, or sliced thin for fajitas or tacos.  I love it with a good asian marinade as well. Slice against the grain to ensure tenderness. 

Flank Steak

Flank Steak is a classic at our house.  When you get a good cut of flank steak, it really brings a rich beefy flavor to the table.  This is a great cut to sear hard for a few minutes on each side, or low and slow finished over high heat with a reverse sear.  

Flank Steak is thick and beefy enough to stand up for steak and potato night, but also takes the flavor of marinades very quickly.  Try my 30 minute flank steak marinade for an amazing weeknight meal. 

flank steak

Skirt Steak

When you want a steak that is rich in flavor and super quick to prepare… pick up a Skirt Steak. They are super think compared to most cuts of beef and take on flavors quickly before hitting the grill.  I love making Carne Asada for home made street tacos.  This Carne Asada marinade has hints of sweet and saltiness, along with the freshness of cilantro, lime, and orange.  One of my ALL TIME favorite marinades….. you will love it! 

skirt steak

Shoulder Tender Steak

You can think of Shoulder Tender Steaks as a poor man’s tenderloin, as it is lean and pretty darn tender for a cheap cut of meat.  They kind of look like mini filets as well… except you can eat a whole one by yourself.  I like to pair this steak with a Classic Garlic Salt and Pepper steak rub, a little olive oil, and rice vinegar… for an easy marinade.  Grill to medium rare and you are off to the races! 

Chuck Eye Steak

Chuck Eye Steak is a great cheap steak, that is quite similar to a ribeye.  Similar to a ribeye, the chuck eye has marbled fat running through the beef, for a super rich flavor profile.  

I like to buy Chuck Eyes on the thicker side, so you can sear them long and hard on each side to create that salty flavor crust on the outside, without over cooking the steak.  Checkout my sweet and salty steak rub for Chuck Eyes an other thicker cuts of steak…. love the balanced flavor of this rub! 

ribeye alternative

Cheap Steaks with Huge Flavor

Looking for more info on these amazing steaks?… in the video below I cover all the details of these beautiful cuts of beef.  Check it out for more knowledge and feel free to ask any questions below in the comments… or on my YouTube Channel.  

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How to Grill Juicy Salmon with Crispy Skin

grilled salmon recipe
grilled salmon recipe

This grilled salmon recipe saved my marriage!  Ok, we would probably still be together, but this recipe is my wife’s favorite, out of anything I have ever made… and I think this salmon is a flat out winner as well.  It is super easy and can be prepared in 30 minutes from start to finish, which is a bonus.  

When you are done you will have a large tender juicy piece of salmon that has crispy skin on one side and a sweet and salty flavor crust on the other.  Follow this guide below, and you will have somethings special to share with your family and friends. 

Basic Steps for Perfectly Grill Salmon

  1. Pick out a thick 1-1.5 lb piece of salmon for each couple you are serving.  I buy about 8 oz of salmon per person. 
  2. Rinse and dry your fish, as you want a nice clean piece of fish to absorb our BBQ Spice Rub
  3. Season the skin side lightly with BBQ Rub and the flesh side liberally.  You do not want the rub “cakey” but you want a fairly thick coating
  4. Slather the salmon with Olive Oil, Avocado Oil, or another vegetable oil.  Marinate for 20-60 minutes. 
  5. Heat your grill to medium high.  Clean thoroughly.  Then place your Salmon flesh side down for 3 minutes.  
  6. Flip after those 3 minutes with a big spatula.  Turn the grill down to medium low and cook for another 3-10 minutes until the internal temperature in the middle is 125°F.  

Salmon Rub Recipe

One of the absolute keys for an amazing grilled salmon is a BBQ rub that is full of flavor, but is not overpowering.  Luckily, I have a perfect rub that will give you a balanced sweet and salty bite, with a little heat on the end.  Make a big batch of this and you can use it on Salmon, Chicken, and Pork of all types. 

  • 2 Tablespoons Celery Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, Turbinado Sugar, or Coconut Sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons Ancho Chile
  • 1 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

How do you Know When Salmon is Done?

So, the easiest way to know when salmon is done is to use a quality temperature probe to measure internal temperature.  I like to take my salmon off the grill when it reaches 125-130°F in the middle.  If you like salmon more rare, you can take it off at 110°F. 

Another key to look for if you do not have a temperature probe, is how the salmon will start to open up on the flesh side, and you will see the texture of the fish appear.  You can see the fissures in the salmon below… that is one way to tell when it is getting closer to done. 

Tips to Flipping Salmon on the Grill

There are several keys to flipping salmon with out losing a bunch of fish in the process. 

  1. First, you cannot be scared.  You have to slip the spatula under the fish quickly and aggressively.  Go slow and you are finished for sure. 
  2. Second, when you grill the flesh side down, make sure the thick part of the fish is facing toward you. It gives the spatula a better chance of getting under the fish clean. 
  3. Finally, get a proper big ass stainless steel spatula.  Something like this one, which should get the job done. 
  4. Also, make sure that the cut of salmon is not much wider than your spatula.  Cut your fish to size if needed.  

Check out the video below to see my techniques in action for more confidence grilling better salmon: 

You will LOVE this recipe… its been a fan favorite on YouTube… so give it a try with confidence.  Leave me a comment if you try it… and hit me up with questions if you have any. Cheers – Keegan

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Green Chile Pork Carnitas

hatch green chile pork carnitas

This recipe for Green Chile Pork Carnitas is one of my all time comfort foods, as it brings some heat from the regional New Mexican hatch green chiles and a ton of rich flavor from a variety of pork cuts.  Throw this in a low and slow kettle or slow cooker for an afternoon and you will have the start for an amazing meal for your family and friends. 

hatch green chile pork carnitas

Pork Carnitas Grocery List

Although the flavors for these carnitas are rich and complex, the ingredient list and following recipe is super simple.  Only a few things needed from the store to tackle this recipe.  

  • 10-12 lbs of Pork:  I prefer to use a variety of lean pork and fatty pork.  Typically 5-6 lbs of Pork Loin and then 5-6 lbs of Boneless Country Style Ribs or Boneless Pork Shoulder. 
  • 40 oz Jar of Roasted Hatch Green Chile:  I like to buy the Medium Heat 505 Brand Jars from Amazon or Costco.  They are straight out of New Mexico and have exactly the right combination of heat and tangy flavor. Do not skimp on quality green chiles… this is the key to the recipe! 
  • 28 oz can of Diced Tomatos or Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes 
  • 5 Cloves of Garlic Roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Rice Vinegar 
  • Pantry Seasonings:  Salt, Black Pepper, Ancho Chile, Granulated Garlic

Pork Rub Seasoning

The green chiles goes a long way for seasoning the pork, but we need to add some more salt to make sure the carnitas have a nice punch of flavor after braising in the oven for 5 hours.  This is a basic rub I like to use to give the carnitas a well rounded bite….

  • 6 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Ancho chile
  • 2 teaspoons Granulated Garlic

Pork Prep for Carnitas

The most timely task in this whole process is prepping the pork, seasoning the pork, and then searing the pork in the dutch oven.  You can skip searing the pork if you want to save time, and it will come out fine.  However, I do think searing the pork builds a little more flavor. 

  1. Cube up the pork in 3″ cubes or strips depending on the cut of pork you are working with
  2. Season on all sides with the rub, coating all sides of the pork cubes evenly.  Don’t be shy with it! 
  3. Heat up your dutch oven, or other large 8 quart pan to medium heat until nice and hot. 
  4. Put a few table spoons of Vegetable Oil in bottom of the pan and sear the pork in batches, adding oil as needed.  Sear small batches at a time, so you are developing a nice golden brown flavor crust on all the pieces.  If you over crowd the pan, you steam the meat, and not get that nice crust. Turn the Pork once every 3-4 minutes to sear most sides of the meat.  
  5. Set pork aside after searing, then add it all back to the dutch oven after all the pork is seared. 

Slow Cooking the Green Chile Pork

Now that you have the pork seasoned and seared, the rest is easy!  The smells out of the oven the rest of the way will be intoxicating. 

  1. Pour the diced tomatoes, chopped garlic, roasted green chiles, and rice vinegar over the pork and nudge them into the crooks and holes of the pork.  
  2. Cover the dutch oven or pot and place in the oven at 300°F for a total of 5-6 hours. 
  3. At the 3-4 hour mark, get a sample of the braising liquid and some of the pork in a little bowl, shred and taste test.  At this time, add more salt to your taste before cooking the pork for a few more hours.  
  4. When you pull the pork from the oven, it will be swimming in liquid at first, similar to the picture below.  Before you shred all the pork, try to skim any excess fat from the top with a spoon. 
  5. Shred the pork and the meat will absorb all the juices and be amazingly tender and juicy! 
slow cooked pork carnitas

I hope you enjoy this one!  New Mexican flavors will always hold a special place in my heart from my time spent there.  Some of my favorite meals to make with the green chile pork are: 

  • Simple soft tacos with sour cream
  • Burrito bowls with rice and beans, and tomatoes.
  • Breakfast burritos with eggs, hash browns, cheese, and sour cream

Leave me a comment if you give this one a try!  – Keegan

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Traeger Grill Table Plans

pellet smoker grill table plans
traeger grill table plans

If you are a Traeger pellet grill owner, you may have noticed there are not many Traeger Grill Table Plans out there, if any at all.  I am thrilled to finally offer Traeger owners a solution to building a quality Traeger Grill Table at home for a reasonable price.  You will no longer have to drag pellets, meat probes, and other accessories back and forth from that garage.  You can keep all your smoking gear right inside your new Traeger Grill Table.  

Currently, I have Grill Table Plans that fit the Traeger Pro 575 and Traeger Ironwood 650 as one plan set for both.  If you own the larger Traeger Pro 780 and Traeger Ironwood 885, these grill table plans are also sold as one set as both grills are a similar size.

What are Included in the Plans?

The plans for each grill table include all the details you need to get the job done right the first time, with minimal trips back and forth to the hardware store.  Plans include… 

If you want more information on what tools you need, what fasteners are best, and my favorite hardware… check out my Tools & Hardware Guide.  

Download my Full Grill Table Tools & Resources Guide

You may purchase grill table plans for several sizes of Traeger Grills below….. 

I have designed all of these plans to be super easy to build.  If you have a chop saw and a table saw, it will be very easy to cruise through these plans in a weekend.  If your tool set is less advanced, it will take you a little longer.  

The plans are designed to break-up the project into modular units, so the final project is easy to assemble, even if you are a one man band in the garage. 

You will work from the ground up to build the base frame, cabinet frames, and then finish everything off with beautiful trim work to create your own work of art. 

base frame of traeger grill table
traeger grill table completed with cedar trim

You can be confident these plans are well designed and built to last a long time, as I am a registered Landscape Architect here in Iowa.  I spend a lot of my time at work designing more complex outdoor kitchens, so you can feel confident these are complete plans that will help you save time and money during the process.