If you’ve ever enjoyed the peppery-sweet taste of a rib eye seasoned with Montreal Steak Spice, you can thank a Canadian grill cook known as “The Shadow.”
Like many preserved-meat seasonings, the popular blend has its roots in Eastern European cooking. Along with pepper and garlic, Montreal steak spice features coriander and dill, common in recipes from Romania. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that most accounts trace the origin of the spice blend to a deli founded by a Romanian immigrant. Not just any deli either, but Schwartz’s, the city’s most well-known purveyor of smoked-meat sandwiches and the oldest deli in Canada.
According to Bill Brownstein, who wrote a book about the famed deli, every employee was allowed to eat their fill of one item: cooked liver. Perhaps this limited diet was why one cook, Morris Sherman, became so thin that he earned the nickname “The Shadow.” The joke was that if he turned sideways, only his shadow would be visible.
Sherman and his fellow employees at the smoked meat landmark Schwartz’s were allowed to eat for free at the restaurant, but only liver steak. Legend has it that one day, since liver can have a dry taste, Sherman sprinkled a new blend of spices over the liver.
Soon enough, customers began to ask for the spice, and eventually it was also used on steaks. Montreal Steak spice was born. When sprinkled on a steak pre- or post-grilling, the taste of Montreal steak spice is comparable to another deli favorite: pastrami. Zesty and complex, the blend is more than a point of local pride. As Brownstein says, it’s basically the standard by which all steaks should be seasoned, not just in Canada but throughout the continent.
Our version of the classic Montreal Steak rub —based on “The Shadow's” recipe— has a robust flavor explosion designed for the bolder tastes of steaks and burgers.
We —and many others— have discovered that Montreal Steak Seasoning's charms aren't limited to red meat. Far from it — from enlivening roast potatoes, to spicing up veggies on the BBQ, to making your simple side salad sing, our all natural, small-batch take on a classic makes this spice blend an indispensable partner in the kitchen. Don't forget to try it on salmon, pork chops, chicken and even French fries. Our personal favorite is actually when it's paired with fish — big tuna, swordfish, or mahi-mahi steaks left overnight in a simple marinade of extra-virgin olive oil and our Montreal Steak Rub, then seared quickly on the grill outside or in a cast iron pan on the stove top.
Ingredients: Himalayan pink sea salt, Hungarian paprika, Tellicherry black pepper, garlic, onion, roasted red bell pepper, black mustard seed, coriander, hot pepper flakes, rosemary, thyme, and dill.
This robust blend is a blank canvas, just screaming for flavor fusion. Greek Spice, or...
You'll find this to be an ideal N’awlins Cajun Seasoning. Why we love this blend?...
One of the great, classic blends —sweet, spicy & lemony— for all taste buds. A tango...