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If you’ve never used coffee in marinades or dry rubs for meat, you are missing a great opportunity to enjoy its mysterious flavor added to usual suspects such as herbs, peppers, and spices.  I’ve blogged before on a take on pork tenderloin that I still think is one of the best recipes I have in the blog, and that uses coffee as one of the ingredients.  But today I’ll switch gears and apply a coffee-based dry rub to beef. The recipe, published by The New York Times,  was recommended by our very dear friend, Marijo, who happens to be a great cook, so when she raves about something, I am all ears. And taste buds. It did not take me too long to jump on it, although it is taking me a long time to share it here.  What else is new?  That’s the way Sally rolls…


(as published in The New York Times)

2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons granulated garlic
1 heaping teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.

Rub on the meat you intend to grill and leave it for at least one hour, overnight works too.

Grill to medium-rare, or to the level of your choice (hopefully not well-done!)

Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.


to print the recipe click here

Comments: I’ve made this recipe quite a few times, with flank steak, flatiron steak, tri-tip, and even bison rib eye steaks. For the bison rib eye, I adapted it to sous-vide and it turned out spectacular, but the photos not so much, so I won’t dedicate a special blog article for it.

SOUS-VIDE METHOD: Apply the rub, and seal the meat in a plastic bag (vacuum is fine, water replacement method will work too). Leave the meat in the fridge for one hour or more, whatever is convenient with your schedule.   Place the bag in the water-bath set for 134 F (medium-rare) for a minimum of 3 hours.  I left mine for almost 6 hours, as I started cooking it at lunch time and we enjoyed the meat at dinner time that evening.  Once the meat is cooked, open the bag, discard the liquid accumulated inside, pat-dry the surface with the meat with paper towels.  Sear on a blazing hot grill or cast iron pan.

To our taste, the sous-vide was by far the best method for bison steaks. Same applies to flatiron. For flank and skirt steak, we think there is not much improvement by going the sous-vide route, both cuts of meat cook perfectly fine on the grill. Whatever your method of cooking, this rub is money!  Give it a try…

Marijo, thanks for sending this recipe our way,
looking forward to many more!

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I’m always searching for interesting ways to bring pork tenderloin to our table.  This preparation, with a dry rub of powdered trumpet mushrooms, coffee, and curry, turns humble pork into a feisty little beast.  The meat gets tightly wrapped, then rests in the fridge for a couple of hours (or more).    The flavors of this threesome synergize to more than the simple sum of their parts.  Funky, deep, mysterious… you’ll hear your diners asking… “what is this spice?”

I found the recipe five years ago in a blog called Foodie NYC.  To my disappointment, the proprietor seems to have vanished from the blogosphere – no activity since 2008.   Still, I highly recommend that you browse his blog, because all the recipes are original, not from cookbooks or magazines.  It’s impressive!

(from Foodie NYC blog)

1 package of dried black trumpet mushrooms (or dried shiitake)
handful of coffee beans
1 tsp hot curry powder
2 pinches of freshly ground nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 pork tenderloin
1-2 Tbs olive oil

Using a spice grinder, grind enough black trumpet mushroom to obtain 1/4 cup of powder.  Reserve.   Grind the coffee beans and add 3 Tbs to the powdered mushroom.  Add the curry and nutmeg; mix well.

Dry the pork tenderloin (previously brined it if you prefer, but it’s not necessary), place it on a piece of plastic wrap and add the mushroom /spice powder to its surface, completely covering it.  Wrap it tightly and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Heat the oven to 300 F.

Add the oil to an oven-proof skillet and heat on top of the stove over high heat.  Sear the meat briefly on all sides – the idea is to seal the crust, not to make it golden brown.  Since the meat will cook in the oven, over-browning the crust now could make it burn later.

Transfer the pan to the oven and roast  for about 30-35 minutes (see comments).  Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve made the full menu as described in Foodie NYC, serving the pork with eggplant puree and  pistachios, and it was excellent. But I also made only the pork and then picked different side dishes to accompany it.  For our dinner this week I served it with new potatoes, that were roasted in a light coating of olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cooking conditions: Some people like their pork medium-rare, however my old-fashioned (in a good way…) beloved prefers it traditionally well-done, so I increase the time and sometimes also the temperature (350F).  Use a meat thermometer and adapt the cooking to your taste.

Note to self: play with other flavors… cocoa powder?   a little smoked paprika?  ground ginger?  Just don’t skip the mushrooms…   😉