No matter what cut of beef you cook, plenty of salt and pepper bring its flavor to life, with or without additional herbs and spices. Use salt and pepper along with any herbs or spices you choose for all cuts of beef.

Cooks fall into two camps when it comes to salting, either salting hours ahead of cooking or immediately before. At the Food and Wine website, food writer Oliver Schwaner-Albright conducted his own tests and determined that a rib eye steak tasted great no matter when he salted it.

Tips

Let steaks and hamburgers come to room temperature before cooking so that the meat cooks more evenly throughout, without overcooking on the outside while still remaining cool inside.

Fresh herbs work best when you sprinkle them over the meat just before serving. Try these herbs for steaks, hamburgers and any grilled beef:

  • parsley
  • cilantro
  • chives
  • mixed herbs, such as in  chimichurri,  an Argentinian sauce made with oil; vinegar; and finely chopped parsley, oregano and garlic.

Sprinkle dried herbs on roast beef or add them to the pot for braised beef brisket. Dried herbs that work especially well with beef include:

  • rosemary
  • oregano
  • tarragon 
  • thyme
  • bay leaves for braised cuts of beef such as brisket or stews
  • red pepper flakes, less commonly used but complementary flavoring  for steaks and hamburgers.

Tips

Dried herbs and all spices are more potent than fresh herbs. Substitute 1 measure of dried herbs for each 3 measures of fresh herbs called for in any recipe.

Spices work with all cuts of beef, either sprinkled on before cooking or tossed into a braising pot. For dry spice rubs, rubbed into short ribs or steaks, use a mix of herbs and spices and let the rub sit on the meat for a few hours before cooking. Along with salt, pepper and dried herbs, add:

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • curry
  • coriander 
  • Indian-inspired spice mixes for braised beef or short ribs, including cumin, garam masala and cinnamon

Tips

Before serving roasts and steaks, cover the meat loosely with foil so its juices have time to reincorporate into the tissues; give steaks about 5 minutes resting time and roasts about 15 minutes.