Cowboy Spice Rub | Recipe

This July 4th, my boyfriend and I made an epic dinner for a group of 9. The event took place at his parent's home in Delaware and to prepare, I mixed all spice blends before leaving Brooklyn. We decided to make a Cowboy Rubbed Steak, and once I compiled all the ingredients realized that the steak rub would also make for a fantastic gift. I love the colors and layers of fresh cracked pepper, brown sugar, salt and chile flakes, like a childhood art project (but far tastier!). The original recipe has a pan sauce but I think this steak is great just as is.

A special thanks to Cate Knuff for making this for me two years ago. It was so good, I remembered it years later.

Adapted from Cowboy Rubbed Steak on Food52

Serves 4-8

4 lbs thick rib eye, sirloin, hanger or strip steak, 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick
2 tablespoon ground coffee
¼ cup kosher salt (You may want to reduce the salt to taste, especially if using Morton's Kosher or other finer salt)
4 teaspoons dark brown sugar
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
2 teaspoons  ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes (preferably Ancho chile)

  1. Mix the coffee, salt, paprika, peppers & cumin together and toast lightly in pan until fragrant (alternatively you can toast whole spices then grind). Mix the spices with the sugar to make the rub.

  2. Spread the rub all over the steak and let sit for awhile, if you do it the night before you'll have stronger flavor but if you do it right before serving it'll be good, too. (If you pre-rub and set it in the fridge, be sure to bring it up to room temperature before searing, so you do not shock the meat.)

  3. Heat grill until it's really really hot -- then place the steak on the grill pan. It should sizzle; leave it there, do not touch it at all for 3-4 minutes. It should be browning on the bottom. Then turn and cook to medium rare or desired doneness.

  4. Remove the steak and let rest on a warm plate, cover with aluminum foil.