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Ancho Chile & Coffee Steak Rub
I won’t lie – when I cook a steak for myself I usually season it with salt. Just salt. Only salt. No pepper, no garlic, just plain ‘ol kosher salt. But, when I’m cooking larger cuts that are designed to be sliced thin for serving (like tri-tip, flank, skirt, flap etc), I really like to take advantage of interesting seasonings (like this pickle brine), because they really help take the meat to the next level.
This rub was born out of necessity. I was spending the weekend at a camp by Caddo Lake, and had to feed a bunch of folks on Saturday night. I didn’t want to buy a bunch of new spices and seasonings, because I’d only be using a pinch of each and then leaving the rest behind to get stale. But then, I had an idea… I limited my purchase to a jar of Ancho chile powder and a couple of skirt steaks and took a gamble with what I’d find waiting in the spice cabinet at the camp, which were usually leftovers from various hunting trips.
With a little ingenuity, I was able create a badass freshly-made rub using pretty much ingredients that were already around. I’d already bought coffee for breakfasting purposes, and using the rounded bottom of a saucepan, crushed a few scoops repeatedly against a chopping board until they turned to fine powder. Add in the Ancho, plus the “found” spices like salt, garlic and cumin, and the Ancho coffee rub was born!
Ancho chile is more smokey than spicy, and it has a very mild heat, so the bulk of the rub can be made from it without it being overpowering. I used it on skirt steaks that I’d trimmed back a little further (they can be a little gnarly and fatty on the underside), and rubbed them down with the mix, returning them to the fridge to chill for an hour.
Then, all you need to do is fire up your grill and get it super hot, lay your steaks down and cook for a couple minutes each side just to sear them, then remove, foil and rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. I prefer to cook my skirt rare to medium rare, and take it off the grill when it reaches between 125-130 degrees.
The combination of the coffee and the Ancho chile is beautifully earthy, and is a robust combination to stand up to strong beefy flavors. Make sure you are using ground coffee beans not instant – I used Coffee & Chicory blend because I like the dark roast and extra bitterness. You could definitely give this a try on pork loin, too!
Ancho Chile & Coffee Steak Rub
- 3 heaped tablespoon Ancho chile powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 level tablespoon finely-ground coffee beans
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Combine ingredients together well and rub onto meat of your choice.
- Store any unused rub in airtight container (provided it hasnt touched raw meat).
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