I first heard the idea of coating a big juicy piece of steak with coffee from my friend John. It seemed strange, to say the least, and I must admit, I wasn’t at all sold on the idea. Then I read an article in the newspaper about a restaurant in Seattle that featured something similar and it was all the rage. So reluctantly, I decided to experiment and give it a try. It took a few attempts to get just the right balance of coffee along with the sweet, salty and spicy. My first incarnations were entirely too peppery, leaving my lips numb for hours, like a bee-stung-lipped-model during fashion week! Not a great look for me. But with a few tweaks I finally found the right balance of flavor. The coffee rub forms a beautiful, seared, almost black crust on the outside, and as you cut into the steak it gives way to the tender pink meat inside. One bite and I was hooked! Take my word, however odd coffee on steak may sound, it’s a killer combination.
FOR THE COFFEE RUB
½ cup coarse ground coffee beans, dark roast
¼ cup Kosher salt
¼ cup coarse ground black pepper
¼ cup dark brown sugar
FOR THE STEAKS
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 (8 ounce) New York or Rib Eye steaks
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To make the dry rub, place the coffee, salt, pepper and brown sugar in a small bowl and toss gently with a fork to combine. Any leftover rub can be stored in the freezer for another time.
Heat the canola oil in a large heavy oven-proof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over high heat until almost to the smoking point. Pat steaks dry with paper towels and generously and evenly coat all sides with the coffee rub. Sear well to form a good crust, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Don’t panic if the steaks look a little charred, that’s what you’re going for and will ensure lots of flavor.
Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and cook for 5 to 7 minutes for medium rare, or until desired doneness. Let the meat rest, tented under foil for 5 to 10 minutes before devouring.