Apply Oil
Credit: Robin O'Neill Photography

Often an overlooked step, the application of oil creates an adhesive surface and allows the rub to stick to the protein. "When you put the rub directly on a steak, the steak sweats," says Mays. "So when you turn the meat, the rub falls off or clumps." The protein doesn't need to be drowned in oil, so imagine how much you'd use of baby oil or sun lotion on yourself: just enough.

There are also oil blends that can add a layer of complexity. Try out a canola-olive oil (half and half) or sunflower-sesame combo. With the protein covered in oil, massage it carefully onto the meat. Take your time and use your fingers. If your hands are not disgusting, you're not doing it right.