July 11, 2014 – Cowboy Steak with Coffee and Chili Rub

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On Friday night, we planned to make one of our favorite recipes from Elie Krieger: Cowboy Steak with Coffee and Chili Rub. As happens sometimes, real life got in the way and we got home feeling just a little too tired to cook. Instead, we decided to have the steak for lunch the next day and to have it over an arugula salad instead of with sautéed spinach. It turned out to be so quick and easy to make that we probably should have just stuck to the plan, but then we would have missed out on a fantastic lunch!

What I enjoy most about this recipe is the great mix of ancho chili powder and ground espresso that goes into the rub. The other ingredients contribute their own flavor (especially the brown sugar), but it’s these two that really make me love this dish.

We normally make this recipe using a flank steak, which is a fairly large, and relatively thin cut. With that much steak to cover, I usually make the whole spice rub (I might even double it if I’m feeling crazy), put it in a spice shaker, sprinkle it on the steak, and rub it in. This time, however, we used a top sirloin, which is much smaller and a little thicker than the flank steak. Given the size of the steak, I thought I would do something a little different.

I decided that instead of sprinkling the rub on the steak, I would mix up the ingredients and spread them out on the cutting board like so:

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Then I pressed both the top and bottom of the steak and all the sides into the rub, getting a nice, even coating all around.

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I heated the grill pan on medium-high for about 10 minutes and then put the steak on for about 3 1/2 minutes per side. The meat thermometer said the steak should be on the rare side of medium-rare, which it was.

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I covered the steak with aluminum foil and let it rest for about five minutes. This step is crucial, because it allows the meat to reabsorb its juices. If you try to cut it right when it comes off the grill, you run the risk of drying it out – and making quite a mess on your cutting board!

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I sliced up the steak and served it over a bed of baby arugula. This was Kim’s idea, as she  figured – correctly – that the peppery flavor of the arugula would be a nice complement to the rub. Kim mixed the arugula with a salad dressing she made, as she always does, from scratch. For this version, she used the juice of one lemon, a heaping teaspoon of grainy mustard (to complement the mustard powder in the rub), about a quarter cup of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

We paired the steak and salad with a very hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA for a special weekend lunch.

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