Cast Iron Blackened Steak? Any of you that know me, know I love big bold flavors which often include a lot of spicy heat. I don’t like overly spicy just to be spicy. It has to have flavor other than soul crushing heat. That’s why I love jerk seasoning. Lots of heat but also a ton of bold flavors. I’m not eating anything with ghost pepper extract on it just to turn my mouth into a flame thrower. I love me some Jerk Steak (from way back in 2011!) So this isn’t the first time I’ve added some kick to a steak. I mean, I love spicy and I love steak. Why can’t I love both at the same time?

One note: blackened steak is not something to try inside unless you’ve got an industrial vent hood over your stove big enough to park a Dodge. It could lead to some significant smoke action so be ready with the chair to turn off those smoke detectors if you try this inside. 

What is the difference between blackened and grilled?

Grilled is simply seasoned and cooked over fairly high heat to add a little char. Blackened is seasoned with over the top, bold spices and cooked over lava hot seasoning to blacken the spices and form a very spicy flavor crust. 

Cast Iron Blackened Steak Ingredients:

  • 3 well marbled strip steaks, 1.25 inches thick
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, cut in half if you prefer less spicy
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil

This is a fairly simple dish. The ingredients in the rub are about the most complicated aspect to this.

Blackened Steak Seasoning Recipe

Let’s start off by seasoning those steaks with some coarse salt:

Next up, combine the rest of the ingredients except the butter and the oil in a bowl:

Cast Iron Blackened Steak Prep:

Now apply the rub liberally to the steaks on both sides:

I like to pat the rub onto the steak to help it adhere:

Now let’s get that grill going:

I sparked up my Hasty Bake Grill which allows me to raise and lower the coal bed. This is an ideal set up for reverse searing. I can adjust the heat of the fire without having to touch any of the interior grill components. At first I lowered the coals and set the steak just off to the side and tossed in a chunk of smoke wood to impart some smoky flavor as I brought the internal temp of the beef up to about 100F degrees internal:

How do you cook a steak in a black cast iron pan?

Once it reached 100F and our steak has a nice smoky flavor, I raised the coal bed with the crank on the side of the Hasty Bake and stoked the fire to get it blazing hot before busting out the cast iron. I added the butter and the oil and waited until my cast iron pan got above 500F and placed my steak inside:

I also dropped in my asparagus to crisp up that bacon a bit. 

How do you get a black crust on a steak?

The easiest way to get that black crust is really high heat and cast iron. 

Now the goal with this grilled blackened steak recipe is to caramelize that crust we made with all those glorious rub ingredients. The outside will turn black a bit. Don’t sweat that. It’s called Blackened Steak for a reason. Hello! Besides, plenty of time to sweat later when we take a bite!

Let’s not forget to crisp up that fat on the outer edge of this strip steak:

Once we hit an internal temp of 125F, it’s time to pull the steak and let it rest:

Coast to coast pink!

After a few minutes of resting, slice and enjoy:

Cast Iron Blackened Steak

And a close up:

Grilled Blackened Steak Recipe Recap

First, notice that we have no grey around the edge of that steak. Because we slowly brought the temp of the steak up by smoking first, the meat doesn’t turn dry and grey around the outer edge. This is coast to coast pink from top to bottom and side do side. THIS is why we reverse sear more than anything else. And we incorporate the cast iron so that browning is coast to coast too. 

The blackened steak has some kick if you use the entire teaspoon of cayenne. A half teaspoon cuts it way down. But the rest of the rub brings lots of well nuanced flavors to the palette. I hadn’t made this recipe in a few years and forgot how magnificent it is. And considering how simple it is, I need to do it more often.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.

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Cast Iron Blackened Steak

Well marbled strip steaks, seasoned, smoked then blackened in a cast iron pan on the grill
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Steak


  • 3 well-marbled strip steak 1.25 inches thick
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (cut in half if you prefer less spicy)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground mustard
  • 4 tbsp salted butter (½ stick)
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil


  • Season the steaks with salt and then combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Coat each side with the rub
  • Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with coals on one side and the steak on the other
  • Target temp inside the grill is 300F
  • Put in a chunk of smoke wood and close the lid
  • When the steak hits 100F crank up the heat and place the cast iron pan over the fire
  • Add the oil and butter and allow to get up to 500F+
  • Sear the steak on both sides and along the outer edge of fat
  • When the steak hits 125-135F, remove from the heat and let rest


More pics of the cast iron blackened steak cookout

Cast Iron Blackened Steak

Cast Iron Blackened Steak



Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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