Coffee is the most popular drink worldwide with around two billion cups consumed every day. Us Brits also love a cup of joe, with 80% of UK households buying instant coffee to drink at home. But have you ever thought about using coffee in your cooking?
Now, before you dismiss what we’re going to say, hear us out… Using a ground coffee rub on your red meat adds a new dimension to it that you just can’t get with salt and pepper. A good rub amplifies the flavours that are already present in the meat you are barbecuing, taking your overall eating experience to a new level.
The only limitation to a good rub is your imagination, and their use have been making slow-cooked meat better for centuries. Without a layer of seasoning, the outside of the meat chars up over heat, but a thick layer of mix helps to create a crunchy crust that adds a twist to your dining experience.
When a rub is made with just salt and pepper, only the pepper chars, but adding coffee to the mix helps to create a much deeper and complex flavour. Herb-based rubs cannot accomplish this as herbs are more delicate and don’t shine when cooked in that way.
The thing with coffee is that it is already roasted, which means it has a very deep and complex flavour to it, which you associate with the typical BBQ flavour. So how do you go about achieving this?
You should be aiming to add a coffee that has tobacco flavours or dark berry notes to it, as this deeper flavour will compliment your meat. A coffee that is too light can result in an almost botanical flavour if added to red meat, which can be unpleasant. However, lighter roasts may be more suited to chicken or fish should you wish to experiment with them.
Building the rub
There are a few things you should consider when building a coffee rub to ensure you get the best possible experience. Firstly, you should try and get four elements into your rub; smoke, sweet, acid and heat. You should also try your rub before applying it to your meat to ensure you like the flavour. Just take a little dab after you’ve mixed it to make sure you enjoy the flavour. If you don’t, try to find out what part you aren’t keen on and balance it out with the other elements.
It is also important that you don’t leave your coffee rub on your meat too long before cooking. As coffee has such a strong flavour, you don’t want it to overpower the meat. You should leave the rub on your meat for only half an hour before cooking. It is also important that you get the grind setting correct on your coffee – too fine and it will turn to sludge when the fat on the meat starts to melt.
However, if it is too thick, the grinds will get caught in your teeth.
Below, we have outlined a recipe for coffee rub, why not give it a go on your next BBQ?
½ tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 ⅓ tablespoon coffee (medium-roast or darker)
Cook your meat how you desire, but searing it in a griddle then cooking on a low heat is usually a good way to go. And if you are wondering “where can I buy a griddle?”, why not look at the full range of products on our site?
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