Why You Need To Start Rubbing Coffee On Steak ASAP

Adding a rub is an easy way to vary a dish when you're tired of eating the same thing. Dozens of rubs are available at the supermarket depending on the protein, but making one at home allows you to customize it to your palate — and while this might be a departure for steak purists who swear by just salt and pepper, a coffee rub adds depth to the steak's crust and is ideal for those who prefer their steak medium to medium-rare. A coffee rub is not only flavorful, but it also creates a crust that locks in the meat's juices, ensuring that a one- to one-and-a-half-inch steak remains pink and juicy.

Along with additional seasonings, ground coffee provides flavor and acidity that help tenderize the cut. This is particularly useful if you're not preparing filet mignon for the family — though it's delicious on that cut as well. Similar to deglazing a pan with alcohol, coffee amplifies the flavor, making your steak taste even meatier.

Since only two tablespoons are used to coat four steaks, caffeine isn't a real concern. Bakers have long relied on coffee to intensify the flavor of chocolate in baked goods, and even purists will appreciate what it can do for steaks.

Tips for preparing a coffee rub

The only rule for making a coffee rub is to avoid flavored coffee beans. Like brewing a pot of coffee, it's best to grind the beans yourself to get the most flavor; however, some cooks repurpose their spent coffee grounds, storing them in the refrigerator for up to a week or indefinitely in the freezer. Depending on your preference, you can grind the beans from fine to coarse, like peppercorns, keeping in mind that a coarse grind won't adhere to the meat as well as a fine grind will.

Much like this smoky dry rib rub, your coffee rub should combine your favorite spices, ranging from smoked paprika to chipotle powder. Include salt, pepper, and brown sugar to add sweetness and help caramelize the crust, and apply the rub at least 30 minutes — but up to six hours — before cooking. If you plan to rub the steaks in the morning to cook that evening, place the meat on a wire rack atop a rimmed baking sheet and leave it uncovered in the refrigerator. This allows the exterior to dry out, which helps form the crust. Allow the steaks to come to room temperature before cooking.

Store any leftover coffee rub in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a month, using it on ribs, chicken, pork, and roasted vegetables.