Ask any chef how to cook a steak and they’ll tell you that it’s not just how you cook it, but also what you cook it with. For whatever reason, people are obsessed with the idea of over-seasoning their precious steaks. Rather than allowing the meat to do what it does best (taste fucking delicious) or at least pairing it with seasonings that make sense, people insist on slathering it in sauces and marinades or choking it out with things like adobo or Montreal steak seasoning. Stop.
The only ingredients you need:
In actuality, cooking a steak couldn’t really be simpler; it requires just a couple ingredients that are as old as time and that you probably already have in your home: thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. That’s it. No lemon zest, no paprika, no goddamn onion powder.
If you’re cooking your steak right, the seasonings you choose should accentuate the natural deliciousness of the meat, which should be brought out throughout the cooking process—searing the meat, getting that nice outer “crust” everyone is always raving about. That is where a good steak shines.
It’s rich and delicious base flavor is then brought out by a little bit of salt and pepper. Garlic and thyme naturally pair well with the flavor spectrum present in cooked beef, without overpowering any of it.
Basically, if you don’t like the taste of steak and feel the need to mask it with other heavy seasonings, perhaps you should stick to chicken instead.
Of course, there are notable exceptions to the rules. Personally, I’m a “It’s a free country” kind of guy, so I truthfully don’t really care what you season your steak with. You want to toss a little adobo on there? Sofrito? Mojo? Garlic powder? Liquid smoke? By all means, brother! Do you!
The only point to really keep in mind is that steak—any steak, really—comes with its own uniquely delicious flavor profile that should be accentuated by the crap you’re marinating it in or throwing on top of it.
If you’re going to use a seasoning, do so sparingly and with stuff that’s going to make your steak better, not something else entirely.