When seasoning steaks I use many different dry spices etc. What is the best method to apply spices to the meat without having to flip the steaks many times or have to wash my hands many times?
Use the fact that you have two hands*.
- If you don't want to pre-mix your spices, open all containers you intend to use.
- Assign one hand to be the "clean" one, one the "contaminated" hand.
- Use the clean hand to shake or pinch spices or salt from their jars (onto the other hand, the meat or your work surface, depending on your preferred method of seasoning).
- Use the contaminated hand to apply spices to the meat, rub them in, turn as needed, move the meat aside....
- Wash hands, put close spice containers and put them away.
This system is largely independent on the method of seasoning (oil or not, sprinkling on or rubbing in, individual spices or mix...)
The only exception might be your pepper mill, which usually needs two hands. You can pre-grind the pepper, enlist the help of a second person (hint: kids love pepper mills!), invest in a battery-operated model or wash your hands.
If you know that you won't be touching your meat, you can use tongs to flip and turn your meat, eliminating the need to wash your hands in between steps. But that would render your question somewhat moot.
* For the sake of simplicity, I assume you do have a full set of two healthy and functional hands. In case of physical limitations, seasoning your steak might be a minor issue anyway and you probably have developed hacks for a lot of things already.
As I like my steaks quite well done I turn them more than once. The first time a part-cooked face is upwards I brush it with oil (often a homemade flavoured oil) and sprinkle spices and herbs that I've already mixed in a little bowl. Then I press them with the back of a wooden spoon.
The simplest version is: brush with (e.g. refined olive) oil, grind black pepper over. For a steak cooked more quickly, you won't get away with olive oil, you'll need a higher smoke point. Whatever oil you use, don't drip it on the pan itself.