Giant Fennel-Chile-Rubbed T-Bone Steak

Fennel Chile Rubbed Steak, Grilling

Giant Fennel-Chile-Rubbed Steak

This T-bone steak is grilled with a simple rub of ground fennel seeds, black peppercorns, and red chile flakes.Michael Turek

It's my only rub, and my favorite rub," says Andrea Reusing, James Beard Award-winning chef of Lantern restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, of her mildly hot fennel seed rub. It works on just about anything: chicken, mackerel, wild salmon, vegetables, steaks, whatever. "People who don't think they like licorice still like it, because the flavor plays off the peppers in a really nice way," she says. The subtle anise flavor will come through in the oven or on the stovetop, but cooking it over an open flame creates an irresistible crust. Reusing plans on serving this steak at her new restaurant The Durham, which opens July 2015.

Pairing note: "The 2008 Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Merlot ($38; sherry-lehmann.com), from Napa, or the 2012 Arnot Roberts Syrah ($40; winetransit.com), from California's North Coast, are both slightly gamey and work well with the rub's heat."—Vilma Mazaite, director of wine at laV; Austin, Texas