Budget BBQ Steak: Turn cheap meat cuts into gourmet fare

Ideal for a summer barbecue, this special steak dry rub and magic post-marinade recipe can turn budget BBQ steaks into gourmet fare.

Serves: 4–6  (multiply ingredients to serve more people)
Not long at all


    • 6 x 300g blade steaks (or steak of your preference – instructions are for blade steaks)
    • aluminium foil

BBQ steak dry rub ingredients:

    • 3 tablespoons pink sea salt
    • 2 tablespoons coconut or brown sugar (ground fine)
    • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
    • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon hot paprika
    • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
    • 1 tablespoon onion powder
    • 2 tablespoons course black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
    • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

Read: Barbecue tips to take your cooking to the next level

Post-marinade recipe:

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons Kikkoman soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or golden syrup, but maple is better)
    • 1 tablespoon red wine (but works just as well without it)
    • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (or raspberry balsamic)
    • handful fresh chives, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, finely sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)


To make the dry rub, combine all of the dry ingredients together. This will make a rub for three large roasts or around 10–12 steaks. Wash your steaks in clean water and pat them dry. Once dry, cut three slits across the meat about one inch apart and rub about half to one teaspoon of dry rub into each steak. Go easy with it though, you’ll only need a little bit because the mixture is super tasty (and a little spicy) and the post-marinade will also flavour your meat.

Place steaks in the fridge for about one to two hours (the longer you leave it, the more the rub will seep into the meat). And the leftover dry rub can be used for your next barbie (or six!).

Read: Is it ever ok to not clean your barbecue?

You may as well use this time to make your post marinade. I’ve based my recipe on one from a friend of mine, a maestro with meat named Tim Elwin, who runs a great website called Urban Munching (check it out!). Anyway, add all ingredients and mix well. I find popping it all into a jar with a sealed lid, then shaking, works best. Leave the marinade out at room temperature.

Your steaks should come out of the fridge with enough time to get to room temperature before cooking. Make sure your BBQ or fry pan is set to medium-high and, when hot (not smoking) sear each side before frying for six to seven minutes, turning once during cooking.

Time for the post-marinade:

Pour your marinade into a baking dish. Remove your steaks from the pan and sit in the marinade. Ensure both sides are marinated. Cover with foil and leave for five minutes.

Serve steaks with vegetables or salad, drizzling the marinade over the top of the meat. The marinade can also be added to some chutney, stirred and used as a warm salad dressing.


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