Montreal steak seasoning is composed of salt, black peppercorns, crushed red pepper flakes and fennel seed. It also contains dehydrated garlic and onion, as well as dried thyme and rosemary leaves.
To make a batch of Montreal steak seasoning at home, measure 4 tablespoons salt and 1 tablespoon black peppercorns into a blender. Add 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion and 1/2 tablespoon each dehydrated garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Mix in 2 teaspoons fennel seed and 1 tablespoon each dried thyme and rosemary leaves. Blend until spices are ground and well combined. Store Montreal steak seasoning in a glass or plastic shaker.
Montreal steak seasoning is used to flavor meat entrees such as hamburgers, pork chops and steak. To use, either rub or shake the seasoning onto the meat, and then grill or broil as instructed.
The unique flavor of Montreal steak seasoning is based on that of a dry rub mix used when preparing smoked meat. It was originally a pickling mix, and its recipe sometimes includes a different mix of spices. Alternate spices include coriander, cayenne pepper and dill.
The seasoning was created by Morris "The Shadow" Sherman at Montreal's Schwartz's deli sometime in the 1940s. Sherman enhanced rib and liver steaks with the pickling spices used to smoke meat at the deli, and it became a customer favorite.