Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coffee Rubbed Steak

Steak. I love steak. I think I could eat steak everyday. I'm serious. Especially if it is grass-fed, which is what we try to buy most of the time. The best steak I've ever had in my life was at Mesa, Bobby Flay's restaurant in LasVegas. I was there with some of the cast and crew of The Great Food Truck Race Season 2 while we were filming the Las Vegas episode. The chef from the Hodge Podge truck, Chris Hodgson, wanted to go to  Mesa and despite being on a tight budget, I decided to join the group. I'm SO glad I did. I had eaten at Mesa once before, but I ordered chicken and only found it underwhelming for the price. I was unsure what to order this time around when Chris suggested that we let the chef pick for us. When the waiter placed coffee rubbed filet mignon in front of me my eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas who just discovered the motherload of presents. Ever since then I've wanted to recreate that rub but have been worried I would mess it up and tarnish my memory of that perfect steak. Also, a coffee rubbed steak recipe calls for well, coffee. Surprise, surprise. And I NEVER have coffee on hand... because we don't own a coffee maker and we don't drink coffee at home. In fact, we rarely ever drink coffee. Well, I rarely ever drink coffee. I think Adam secretly indulges often behind my back and then claims he's not a coffee drinker.

So, I put off making this life changing coffee rubbed steak because I didn't want to buy a whole package of ground espresso only to use a few tablespoons, then I remembered those coffee grinding machines at the grocery store and thought maybe I could get a small amount like, 1/4 a cup. So, after standing in front of one of those grind your coffee machines for all of about 20 minutes and having no idea how to make it work and where to find a bag to put the grounds in... was I suppose to bring my own?! I finally just gave up, and bought a whole package of espresso grounds.

Which means every recipe I make from here on out must include espresso grounds, until that pack is gone. So get ready for espresso and eggs, zucchini topped with espresso, and espresso crusted chicken! Haha, just kidding.

But in all seriousness, get ready for this coffee spice rub. It will knock your socks off and leave your taste buds wanting more. And in fact, it may have been better than the steak I had at Mesa. Take that, Bobby Flay. (And also, thanks for the recipe Bobby Flay.)

Coffee Rubbed Rib Eye
adapted from Bobby Flay's Recipe

2 - 4 steaks (I used grass-fed rib eye, but you could you use any quality cut of steak you like)
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

For the rub:
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons finely ground espresso
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar (omit the sugar to make this paleo)
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet over high heat. Rub each side of steak with olive oil. Sprinkle steaks lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. 

Rub 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of coffee rub on each side of steak.

Place steak in the hot cast iron skillet, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, flip the steak over and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer skillet to the oven and cook to desired doneness. This depends on the thickness of the steak. Medium rare could be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. 

I like to press down on the steak with my finger, it should feel like the fleshly skin between your thumb and pointer finger for medium rare. 

Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

**Update - I highly recommend being heavy handed with the rub, I use 2 tablespoons on each side. Also when we grilled the steak instead of using the pan to oven method the flavor was much, much less pronounced. I highly recommend using the pan to oven method when using this rub. 

Store excess steak rub in a 4 oz mason jar for future use.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!


  1. Mmm... looks delicious! I've decided I think you like espresso & coffee :) You seem to have a trend going on there!

    1. Haha, I had to use up the bag of espresso I bought for this recipe! I've still got a lot to go!

  2. STEAK! I could write a serious love letter to steak and mean it with my entire heart. This looks divine.

  3. I don't drink coffee either! I love it though - it just doesn't agree with me.I bet I could eat this and get away with it - my mouth is watering like crazy!

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  5. I love coffee rubs and I love the grill. There's a trick to grilling it that works really well. Take your steaks and generally prepare them as you mentioned with the rub applied and pressed into the steak very liberally. I'm not sure if it helps for this process but I actually apply the salt to the meat first then the rest of the rub ingredients over that. The reason I do this is because you then put the steaks in the freezer for 35 to 40 minutes. Get your grill nice and piping hot and take them out of the freezer and throw them directly on the grill. There's two things I think are going on when you do this. The salt on the surface draws moisture out of the very edge of the steak as the edge begins to cool. What happens is the moisture will burn off immediately when you put them on the piping hot grill making a thick burnt delicious coffee yum crust of sorts. Also I dont know if it's my imagination, but i think since the edges are a little cooler than the middle, it seems like the whole steak will have perfect consistency ... not jut the very middle of the steak being pink, but pretty much everywhere. I swear every time I use this method I get this delicious burnt coffee crust on the outside, and a perfectly tender pink inside all the way through to the edges. I've eaten at least three steaks that cost over $100 bucks in my life and been to ruth chris as well. Nothing beats this method in my opinion!

  6. I meant to say with the rub "generously" applied. btw

  7. This recipe rules. I use it once a week, with one difference. I only cook the steaks for no more than 2 min a side, then 5 min in the oven and it's perfect medium rare for about a one inch steak.

  8. This looks great! I'm hoping to make this next week. Two things:

    1. Can I use regular paprika or smoked paprika instead of sweet paprika?
    2. Can I use Instant Espresso?

    1. Yes you can use any kind of paprika. I'm not sure about instant espresso... I'm sorry I don't drink coffee so I don't much about it. In fact, I even had to check and see if what I used was instant, but I'm pretty sure it was just ground espresso.

    2. Regarding instant coffee/espresso - absolutely NO. All it will do is dissolve and make a mess..
      Also, I do not think you have to use a espresso roast, all you need is any dark roast grind fine.
      (Take it from a devoted coffee indulger)

  9. That looks good would try it with a tandoori oven naan

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