Coffee rubbed steak recipe - Flavorful hanger cut steak seasoned with a smoky coffee rub and grilled to perfection.
Hanger steak has more flavor than your more expensive steak cuts, but at a much lower price point. The ground coffee based rub adds a bold, sweet-heat flavor and a nice crust to the steak.
Hanger steaks are truly a best-kept secret. I had never heard of a hanger cut until I moved to Chicago. There was an Argentinian steakhouse near my house called Tango Sur that was a carnivore's paradise where you could get highly flavorful cuts of beef at value prices. At the time it was one of the few places you could find it.
- Hanger Steak
- Canola oil
- Ground coffee beans
- Cacao powder
- Black Pepper
- Ancho Chili Powder
- Brown sugar
- Kosher salt
Make the rub by mixing all the spices in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Season steak generously with the coffee rub. Place steak on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill uncovered for 3 hours.
Remove steak and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. This will help ensure the steak cooks more evenly and quickly.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the steaks and cook 2 minutes per side to create a nice crust.
Transfer steaks to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120 for medium rare, about 5 minutes. Transfer steaks to a cutting board and let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice against the grain into ½ inch thick slices.
Coffee Rubbed Steak Flavor Profile
I'm not a coffee drinker but I keep ground coffee on hand specifically to make steak rubs and occasionally for lamb that have strong flavors and can stand up to the bold coffee rub. Coffee has many things working for it. It's acidic which makes it pair well with savory items. So when you combine it with flavorful beef like hanger steak you get magic!
Coffee also acts as a spice and when paired with other spices many of its elements are accentuated and lend a level of complexity to meat. When blended with ancho chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, etc. you get sweet, smoky, earthy, and a little heat altogether.
Lastly, the coffee caramelizes when encountering high heat and makes for a nice crust that seals in the moisture of the meat. This is what creates that bark on the steak.
Grilled Hanger Steak Cooking Tips
- Make sure you cook it to medium-rare or medium. Hanger steaks have a very coarse texture with a distinct grain running through it, so anywhere beyond medium will make it too rubbery to chew. Best to use a thermometer, and cook it between 125° and 130° degrees (this gives it some leeway to rise in temperature was it rests).
- Because these steaks are quite thin, they require high heat in order to develop a nice char/sear without overcooking.
- Let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to redistribute.
- When you cut your steak for serving, make sure to slice it against the grain, as this will ensure tender texture.
- Remember to let the steak rest (don't tent it or it will over-cook) for about 10 minutes before slicing.
- Pair it with zhoug sauce if you prefer to use a condiment to enhance the flavor.
Coffee Rubbed Hanger Steak Meal Planning Tips
- if you're buying from a butcher have them break it down into two separate, well-trimmed steaks. Each one should be close to a foot long weighing in at 8-12 ounces.
- If time permits season steaks well in advance, place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill uncovered 36 hours. Let steaks sit 1 hour to come to room temperature, which will help them cook quickly and more evenly.
- Most coffee works for the steak rub, but I'd avoid anything instant or the larger ground coffees like Folgers. Decaf works just fine as well since you're only going for flavor. I have a small coffee grinder that I typically use for grinding spice seeds. I recommend the Krups Electric Grinder since its inexpensive, quiet, and quite effective. With a grinder on hand you can use fresh coffee beans for even more fresh, bold taste.
- Pairs well with quick and easy grilled asparagus
Make grilled hanger steak
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- 2 tbsp ground coffee beans
- 1 tsp Cacao powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
- 2 tbsp Ancho Chili powder
- 1 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 16- ounce hanger steak
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Mix spices in a small bowl.
- Season steaks with spice mix. Place on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill uncovered 3 hours.
- Let steaks sit 1 hour to come to room temperature, which will help them cook quickly and more evenly.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Heat oil in a large skillet over hot-high heat. Cook steaks 2 minutes or so on each side to create a nice crust. Transfer skillet to oven; cook steaks until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 120° for medium-rare, about 5 minutes. Transfer steaks to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes. Slice against the grain into ½ inch thick slices