The Origin of Canadian Steak Spice

Canadian steak spice emerged as a transformative star in Quebec's gastronomic skies, initially inspired by Eastern European culinary practices. Integral to its genesis was the innovative spirit of Morris "The Shadow" Sherman at Montreal's legendary Schwartz's Deli. Sherman creatively harnessed a distinctive mix dominated by coriander, mustard seeds, and black pepper, augmenting simple liver dishes originally available to the staff.

Canadian steak spice distinctively incorporates staples like dill and paprika, reflecting immigrant influences in Montreal. These elements entwine Schwartz's cultural ambiance and customers' palates in layers of zesty, peppery embraces that characterize Montreal's diverse identity. Each sprinkle over steaks mirrored shifting culinary methods and inscribed the heritage of a Jewish deli innovator transforming everyday meat dishes into iconic menus.

Sherman's blends quickly gained popularity, ascending the ladder of essential meat seasonings. This convergence of basic spices evolved into an anthem of the city's smoking grills and culinary invention, embodying a story of cultural fusion right at the center of busy, spice-scented kitchens of Montreal, all tracing back to a clever twist on traditional flavors by a legendary cook.

Spread and Popularity

Canadian steak spice's journey from a local delight to a global culinary staple mirrors the radiation of culinary culture across borders. McCormick significantly amplified the international recognition of this unique blend through its 'Grill Mates' product line. Packaging this Montreal-originated seasoning under a commercial name ensured its routine appearance on grocery shelves worldwide.

Beyond professional kitchens, Canadian steak spice has infiltrated home cooking in various countries, influencing food enthusiasts to experiment with this blend on different meats. Imaginative home chefs and restaurateurs sprinkle these spices on chicken, pork, and even lamb, exploring the seasoning's versatility and depth.

The innovation led to introducing Canadian steak spice flavored potato chips—a testimony to the blend's universal appeal and adaptability. This integration into snack foods speaks volumes about the blend's integration into the food culture, becoming a beloved staple beyond traditional environments.

Internationally recognized food writers like Karen Burns-Booth have furthered the spice's fame by incorporating it into their culinary endeavors. Burns-Booth embraced the seasoning for its qualities that elevate simple dishes to gourmet standards. Through her recipes shared across mediums, she showcases the seasoning's value, inviting a global audience to share in the taste experience that encapsulates much of Montreal's food identity. Her endorsement and inventive usage highlight how even geographically isolated culinary staples can find relevance and admiration on a worldwide stage.

Such widespread adoption underscores a universal quest for flavor and innovation in modern culinary art. Canadian steak spice represents not just a seasoning but a bridge connecting different food traditions and gastronomic practices around the world.

Culinary Applications

Canadian Steak Spice, with its bold assortment of spices, offers much more than a standard seasoning for steak. Chefs and home cooks alike can incorporate this unique blend to elevate an array of dishes, infusing rich, peppery undertones that transform ordinary ingredients into extraordinary meals. Let's explore some of the culinary applications of this versatile spice blend.

Marinades: For an effective marinade that enhances beef, pork, or chicken, combine three tablespoons of Canadian Steak Spice with a quarter cup of olive oil and a quarter cup of balsamic vinegar. This mixture not only tenderizes the meat but also imparts deep flavors ideal for grilling or roasting.

Vegetable Seasoning: Sprinkle a light dusting of this seasoning blend over assorted vegetables before roasting. It pairs exceptionally well with root vegetables like carrots and potatoes, giving them a pleasantly spicy crust when baked at high temperatures.

Rubs: Create a dry rub for larger cuts of meat such as brisket or ribs by combining two parts Canadian Steak Spice with one part brown sugar. Rub this mixture liberally over the surface of the meat before slow cooking to develop a richly caramelized crust.

Butter Enhancement: Infuse softened butter with a teaspoon of Canadian Steak Spice for an aromatic compound butter that can be spread over freshly grilled steaks or warm bread. This simple addition transforms an average dish with a burst of savory flavor that complements a wide range of recipes.

Sauces: Add a teaspoon of Canadian Steak Spice to creamy sauces or gravies to lend a subtle spice that enhances but does not overwhelm the primary flavors. It works particularly well in enhancing the umami qualities of mushroom sauces served over steak or poultry.

Popcorn Topping: For a quick snack, mix half a teaspoon of Canadian Steak Spice into melted butter and drizzle over hot popcorn. The garlicky and peppery notes provide a delightful twist to a classic treat.

By including Canadian Steak Spice in various dishes across the culinary spectrum, chefs and food enthusiasts can effectively and innovatively elevate the flavor profiles of their creations. This spice blend is excellent for adding depth and character to a wide array of dishes.

Recipe: Classic Montreal Steak

Select a high-quality ribeye or New York strip steak for optimal flavor and texture. These cuts are well-marbled, which ensures juiciness and richness suited to the bold flavors of Canadian Steak Spice.


  • 1 ribeye or New York strip steak (about 12 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Canadian Steak Spice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


  1. If choosing to marinate, prepare the marinade by mixing the olive oil, soy sauce, Canadian Steak Spice, and minced garlic. Place the steak in a sealable bag, pour in the marinade, and ensure it is well-coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for deeper flavor penetration.
  2. Remove the steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. This promotes even cooking.
  3. Preheat a grill, cast iron skillet, or frying pan over medium-high heat. While the cooking surface warms, remove the steak from the marinade (if using) and pat dry with paper towels to ensure a good sear.
  4. If not marinated, generously season both sides of the steak with Canadian Steak Spice, pressing the seasoning gently into the surface to adhere.
  5. Place the steak on the hot grill or in the skillet. For a medium-rare finish, cook the steak for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Adjust the time if you prefer a different degree of doneness.
  6. After cooking, transfer the steak to a cutting board and cover loosely with foil. Let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Resting helps the juices redistribute throughout the steak, ensuring a moist and flavorful bite.
  7. Slice the steak against the grain for tenderness.
  8. Serve the steak hot, complemented with sides such as garlic mashed potatoes, steamed asparagus, or a fresh garden salad. These sides subtly enhance the rich spices without overpowering the steak's flavor profile.

Nutritional information (per serving):

  • Calories: 520
  • Fat: 35g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 120mg
  • Sodium: 1180mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Protein: 48g