Tea Recipes

Five Unusual Rubs To Add To Your Recipe

December 16, 2021

When deciding how to flavor your meat, what comes to mind? Salt, pepper, certain herbs? Well, we’re here to tell you all about something that probably doesn’t come to mind first: tea! Yes, adding tea to your rubs can add a whole new world of flavors! Tea works well as meat tenderizer because of its tannin content. Black contains most tannin amongst all tea, evident by its dark color. This makes black tea very effective and an all-natural meat tenderizer compared to other products out on the market. These five recipes will explore everything from earl grey to herbal tea. Whether you are grilling out or making a delicious dinner at home, these five rubs are sure to be a hit!

1) Tea-Rubbed Filet Mignon Steaks with Buttery Mushrooms


This recipe from Weber’s Way to Grill™ by Jamie Purviance calls for 2 Earl Grey tea bags to kick off its rub. Earl grey tea leaves mix with black peppercorns, tarragon, salt, and thyme to create a rub that turns into a paste when combined with olive oil. Coat your steaks with the paste for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling, and you’re off to the races.

2 ) Jasmine Tea Rub Ribs


This recipe from The Woks of Life incorporates tea not only in a rub, but also in a mixture for brining. Begin by steeping jasmine tea in hot water with salt and sugar. Add the ribs, squeeze out the air, and store in the refrigerator for three hours. After those three hours have passed, it’s time to season the ribs even more with the rub. This rub combines jasmine tea leaves with pepper, cumin, paprika, salt, and soy sauce. After two hours in the oven, the ribs are ready to be garnished with sesame seeds and cilantro. This recipe may take a while to prepare, but it’s sure to be worth the while.

3) Iced Tea-Infused Rub

Have iced tea mix somewhere in your cabinet? Here’s a general iced tea-based rub recipe from Woman’s Day to pair with your favorite meat, potatoes, or seafood any time of the year. The rub combines iced tea mix with ginger, cinnamon, salt, cloves, and pepper. Tip: make this rub in bulk and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months for a quick and delicious way to season your meals.

4) Smoked-Tea Rubbed Steak with Mango-Ginger Salsa


This recipe from Oui Chef on Food52 blends a unique array of flavors with its rub and accompanying salsa. The rub blends Lapsang Souchong tea leaves with salt, red pepper flakes, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and dried chives. Food52 writes, “The Asian flavors in the tea and the piquant Latin American/Mexican spices combine to create a crust on the flank steak that is both succulent and super-spicy.” Sounds good to us!

5) Ming Tsai’s Tea Rubbed Salmon


Salmon gets a tea twist in this recipe from Ming Tsai in his cookbook Simply Ming: Easy Techniques for East-Meets-West Meals. You’ll enjoy a thin layer of crispy flavor thanks to this dish’s five-spice chile tea rub. The rub pairs lapsang souchong tea leaves with salt, red pepper flakes, chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, onions, and five-spice powder. Served with lemon-infused rice, this dish packs flavor into every bite.


  • As a rule of thumb, green tea is mild and it will pair well with delicate seafood, veggies, and white meat. Use black tea, or a smoky Lapsang souchong, on steak, pork or portobello mushrooms.
  • If you are going to GRILL your produce, instead of using the tea as a rub, use it in the marinade! With some grills, the fire may char the tea so using as a marinade can prevent that! Concentrate your tea, then add complementary spices to round your marinade before soaking the produce. For example, to include Earl Grey in your marinade, steep 2 Tablespoons of our organic loose leaf Earl Grey in 12oz water for 3-5 minutes. The bergamot flavor of the Earl Grey mixes well with beef and pork. Consider using a floral tea marinade for your chicken dishes.

If you try any of these out, be sure to tag us @theteakitchen on Instagram! Enjoy!

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