A coffee-rubbed flank steak!?! What is this, the 1980’s? Hang on, I need to slip into a pair of Jordaches and go meet Emilio Estevez for an early dinner at Indochine. Seriously? We’re eating this?
We sure are. Okay, maybe rubbing coffee into beef seems like a trend whose time has come and gone, like dribbling overwrought foams over plates or “deconstructing” a Denver Omelet (no, see, you take a bite of the egg, THEN a bite of the green pepper!). But we humbly submit that the coffee bean and beef combo should be here to stay, should be a flavor combination firmly planted in the mind of every cook. After all, the reason great things stick around and become burned into the fabric of our culture before eventually becoming kind of tiresome is usually because of how truly exceptional they are to begin with (see also: Jean-Claude Van Dam doing the splits, Arnold Schwarzenegger stabbing necks, and Vanilla Ice shaving those little lines into his eyebrows).
That’s what’s happening with coffee and red meat. In addition to helping create a rich, dark crust on the meat (which only stays on the grill for a flash), the coffee flavor lends a complex depth and savory richness to the flavor of the beef, while tenderizing it slightly at the same time. And of course, because you’re basically eating coffee, I like to think the caffeine winds you up a little bit, too.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 2-lb flank steak
- Vegetable oil
- In a small bowl, combine spices. Pat meat dry, then rub lightly with vegetable oil. Cover the meat in the seasoning rub, patting gently. Put on a plate, and refrigerate for up to an hour (but no longer).
- Preheat a grill to high. Drizzle both sides of steak with oil, then grill, about 5 minutes per side for medium rare. Transfer to a cutting board, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.