Montreal Seasoning is a favorite of many steak-eaters, and is definitely an immediate go-to at our house. The beginnings of this deliciously complex spice originate in Montreal, Canada (big surprise), where Schwartz’s, a Hebrew Delicatessen established in 1928, is credited with its creation.
During the 1940s and 1950s, Morris “The Shadow” Sherman, a broilerman at Schwartz’s, began adding the pickling spices used in the deli’s smoked meats to his own rib and liver steaks. Soon customers began asking for the spice on their steaks as well, and the spice was eventually copied by many other Montreal delis and steakhouses due to its popularity. The original blend is still available for Schwartz’s today via mail order. In the 1990s, McCormick’s introduced a Montreal Steak Seasoning in their GrillMates line of products.
Montreal Seasoning recipes vary, but the primary constituents include garlic, coriander, black pepper, red pepper flake, and dill seed, all spices traditionally used in pickling mixes in Eastern European and Romanian Jewish cuisine. We include all of these spices in our Montreal Seasoning, along with a few “extras.” Montreal Seasoning’s complex blend of flavors marries perfectly with a big, juicy steak, but we also love it on burgers, pork chops and chicken. It is even versatile enough to sprinkle on fries or veggies!