Coffee-Chili Rubbed Steak

With the 4th of July looming overhead this weekend, it seems that all my favorite food websites are inundated with red-, white-, and blue-themed desserts and drinks, and it’s all a little overwhelming. To heck with all the sugar… where’s all the nutritious protein, people?! Don’t they know that the lovely warm weather means that grilling season has officially begun?? To celebrate in perfect Paleo style, you’re going to need a fantastic recipe for a tender, juicy, mouth-watering steak that the whole party will be raving about. And that’s where this recipe saves the day.

Let’s face it: everyone wants to be a master of the flames, at least somewhere deep down inside (talk about connecting with your inner caveman or cavewoman!). And it’s not that difficult. All you need is some grilling know-how, and a really good marinade or rub. When you’re short on time, a rub is the most convenient way to pack as much as flavor as possible into your meat.

Coffee-Chili Rubbed SteakThis rub has only two main ingredients, aside from the usual salt and pepper: coffee and chili powder. That’s it. And it is AH-MAZING. In fact, it’s so freakin’ good, that there’s not much else I can say about it other than to just go make some and try it. Not to mention, there’s something incredibly primal about rubbing the seasoning into the steak with your fingers. It sort of makes me feel like I just hunted it down myself, and I’m taking a moment to show my appreciation before eating it… or maybe I’m just weird. But I’m okay with that. :)

Coffee-Chili Rubbed Steak

A couple of key things to remember before you turn up the heat on your modern-day cave fire pit:

  • Allow the meat plenty of time to come to room temperature. This will help your meat cook evenly and come out just the way you want it. There is no magic number to this, because it depends on how thick your steak is. Just poke it and use your best judgement.
  • If you’re (hopefully) grilling up a delicious grass-fed steak, do realize that grass-fed meat can sometimes end up being a little tougher than grain-fed, but it’s also WAY more tender and flavorful than conventional steak! To avoid a chewy, rubbery steak, it’s best to grill it as close to rare or medium-rare as you can stomach… this is what will get you the most juicy flavor! If you overcook it, I can assure you that you’ll be unhappy with the results.
  • Always, always, always… allow the steak to “rest” after it’s done grilling, for several minutes. You can loosely “tent” it with aluminum foil to help retain warmth during this process. This allows the wonderful, flavor-filled juices to redistribute throughout the muscle fibers, so your steak does not end up being dry and unpalatable.

Now go get some high quality fine-ground coffee, rummage through your stash of seasonings, and make this rub. Then grill a steak with it at your next get-together (maybe this weekend!), and I’ll bet you that everyone will want to know what’s in it. And you can just tell them it’s a secret recipe passed down from your Paleolithic ancestors. ;)

Share your thoughts with us… what’s your favorite cut of grass-fed meat to grill?

Coffee-Chili Rubbed Steak

Coffee-Chili Rubbed Steak
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3 people
  • ½ tbsp fine-ground coffee
  • ½ tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1¼ lb flank steak, preferably grass-fed
  1. In a small bowl, combine the coffee, chili powder, sea salt, and ground black pepper.
  2. Rub the seasoning mixture evenly into both sides of the steak with your fingers.
  3. Leave the seasoned steak on a plate or cutting board, and allow it to come to room temperature.
  4. When it's pretty close to ready, preheat a grill to high heat.
  5. For medium-rare doneness, grill the steak for 2 minutes on each side (for a total of 4 minutes cook time), then remove from the grill and cover loosely (tent) with aluminum foil.
  6. Allow the steak to rest like this for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Slice against the grain (perpendicular to the direction of the fibers) and serve immediately!
  8. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
**If your flank steak is a thicker cut, you may have to grill it for 2½ to 3 minutes on each side to achieve medium-rare doneness.
**If you prefer your steak rare, only grill for 1 to 1½ minutes per side.
**If you prefer your steak cooked to medium or medium-well, you will need to first sear the steak on high for 2 minutes per side, and then turn the heat down to medium to continue grilling until desired internal temperature is reached.
**ALWAYS tent with foil for a few minutes after grilling! This gives the juices time to redistribute and makes for a more tender steak.

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