The Secret Ingredient for the Best Steak of Your Life

Cooking a restaurant-worthy steak is no easy task. It takes skill, precision and a keen eye for detail to recreate your favorite steak dinners at home. Although many people focus on how you cook a steak (reverse seared, grilled, cast-iron skillet seared), you should really start at the start—the seasoning. A steak is only as good as its rub, and a well-rounded mixture of seasonings can take your steak dinner to the next level.

As someone who knows their way around seasoning a prime cut of meat, Katie Lee Biegel recently offered some great steak tips (see what we did there?) on a recent episode of The Kitchen.

Inspired by a steak she and her husband had at Brooklyn hotspot Lilia, Katie Lee starts with a hanger steak, one of her favorite underrated cuts of beef—and then spices it up. As she goes through the seasonings for the steak, she starts with unsweetened cocoa powder, which immediately got our attention. She says the baking staple “gives it kind of this cowboy steak” flavor. And the best part about it? It’s likely already in your pantry.

Related: The Secret Ingredient for Making Jarred Pasta Sauce Taste Like It Came From an Italian Restaurant

When paired with the usual suspects of steak seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, onion powder, chili powder and smoked paprika) cocoa powder adds a deep, rich flavor and a little bit of bitterness that pairs well with the rich red meat. Katie Lee also adds some coffee to the rub, which also works well with the cocoa powder and the steak. And Katie Lee isn't the only fan of adding some cocoa powder to a steak rub. Bobby Flay and Ree Drummond are also fans.

To recreate Katie Lee’s hanger steak rub, start by patting the steak dry with paper towels so the rub has a chance to really stick to the surface of the meat and crisp up while cooking. Whisk together salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, onion powder, chili powder and smoked paprika in a bowl before dusting both sides of the hanger steak with the rub. Let the meat sit for about ½ hour to marinate at room temperature.

When ready to cook, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and sear the steak for a minimum of two minutes per side depending on your preferred doneness. When the steak is done, transfer it to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing. This rest will help you turn out a moist, juicy steak. Once it’s time to plate, slice your steak, arrange it on a platter and dig in.

Up next: How to Make a Quesadilla That Tastes Like it Came From a Restaurant