Coffee-Rubbed Steak (Paleo/Whole30)
How do you throw together last minute meals? (And why are they always so good? I think it’s because of the adventure of winging it – a little risk is super delicious, in life and food.)
I kayaked on Lake Harriet a couple of weeks ago with my friend Eric Tollefson and while we knew that we were making a simple dinner at his place afterward, we didn’t have a specific plan, especially since the forecast had been for rain all week.
But alas! The sun came out and we were a go.
At home, I rummaged in my fridge and scared up some veggies to roast. I tossed them with GF pasta, arugula, toasted pine nuts, olives, and mustard-balsamic vinaigrette for a dead-simple pasta salad. I brought extra vinaigrette for grilling more veggies when I got there, and tossed some dark chocolate in the bag. He had a gorgeous skirt steak, corn and zucchini and carrots to also grill, and plenty of cold wine.
God I love summer, especially impromptu summer.
Eric suggested a coffee rub for the steak and I was like, Dude, go for it. I’ve never done a coffee rub before, I’m all about it.
Holy. I LOVED it. We just winged it – theme, lol – and stirred together ground coffee, brown sugar, chile powder, and salt. We grilled the steak hot and fast since skirt steak is a thin cut, let it rest up, and finished with fresh lime. Winner.
So now I’m sharing it with you! I made corn too (for Whole30, skip the corn and go with potatoes or sweet potatoes, mmm!) with plans to dust the corn in chile powder but it was so good as is, so sweet and fresh crisp, that I didn’t even bother. Butter and salt. Done.
Off camera I also served a simple spinach salad but it wasn’t nearly as alluring as the steak and corn. But it is a great side to steak and corn – green beans would be too, since you’re boiling water for corn. (Unless you grill the whole shebang – then I’d do a grilled romaine salad with caesar dressing, yep.)
I worked with a flatiron steak here, but you could use any steak. If you use a thicker cut, I suggest finishing the steak in the oven (if you’re making on the stove). Because there is sugar in the rub (unless you Whole30 it), it browns quite a lot on a hard sear. But with a thin steak like skirt or flatiron, you can cook it from start to finish on a hot burner. (None of this matters if you grill the steak, of course.)
Let the steak rest while you boil the corn and then when you’re ready, slice against the grain (I like thin slices of chewier cuts like flat iron and skirt). By the way, I used decaf coffee and it worked beautifully. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, no need to be up at 2a wondering if there’s any leftover steak in the fridge! 😂 #vroom
Before I leave you, a giant thank you to hostess extraordinaire Stephanie March for putting together the perfect July 4 celebration. Amazing food, gorgeous setting, killer tunes (thanks Jakey!), and best of all, lovely humans. Fireflies + stars + fire stood in for fireworks and created pure boondocks magic.
Second, as the weekend indulgences wind down, I decided to record this video about how to beat bloat after the holiday weekend. So annoying, yes? I point out several places to investigate and experiment. See what you think. (Watch it here on YouTube if you’re not on Facebook.)
If you want to dive in even more, make sure to join the Food Reaction Freedom: Find Your Best Foods Facebook group, where we talk through food reactions, food journaling, elimination diets, and other resources for finding, easily preparing, and enjoying delicious foods that make you feel great.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the weekend!
Note: The recipe is easily doubled. Store extra rub in a jar. I give instructions below for cooking in a skillet but grilling works beautifully as well.
For the rub:
2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee (I used decaf)
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Several grinds of black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons brown or coconut sugar (skip for Whole30)
For the steak:
8-ounce flatiron or skirt steak (or your preferred cut)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 lime, cut into sections
In small bowl, combine all of the rub seasonings. Sprinkle generously over steak and rub in. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (Can be done up to 2 hours ahead; refrigerate and bring to room temperature before continuing.)
To make on the stovetop:
Set a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add avocado oil and spread evenly over the pan.
Add steak to pan and sear for 4 minutes. Flip steak and sear for another 4 minutes. Continue searing, flipping for even cooking, to desired doneness. (Meat should feel springy, not squishy when poked.) Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Slice against the grain and serve with squeezes of lime and additional salt.