If you have never been to
A chain of islands formed in the Pacific Ocean millions of years ago from undersea volcanoes,
All of this said, it’s
I digress temporarily away from regional cooking and cattle ranching to say that I have a love affair with coffee that requires counseling and medication. I actually don’t love coffee. I live for it, as I have written about previously here. Don't give me weak American brewed Sanka or I'll curse you to a fate worse than Greg, Peter and Bobby dealt with in the Tiki episode above. Or lock you in a room with Don Ho crooning "Tiny Bubbles" over and over. And over. Nothing in my mind is better than the coffee grown on the Kona Coast of Hawaii. Rich. Decadent. Deep. It tastes of the volcanoes. The aroma is ancient. Similar for me to wine in a sense. I enjoy smelling it as much as tasting it. It is an experience.
We have a tendency to think of coffee as only something to drink. It turns out coffee is a phenomenal and versatile ingredient that is very misunderstood in the world of cooking. Although not the first to introduce the concept into popular culture, Roy Yamaguchi, widely credited as one of the major forces behind launching Hawaiian regional cuisine, and the founder of
From the Paniolo country on the Big Island we drove to
With the global financial meltdown erupting all around us consumers can currently get very high quality “prime” grade beef for a bargain. Even the Wall Street Journal is commenting on this interesting gauge of consumer spending as it relates to the current state of the economy. I created this version of a coffee crusted grilled steak combining finely ground Kona coffee and Hawaiian pink salt into a rub with a richness of depth that shows off the meat to its fullest. I will say that while I used Hawaiian ingredients for this recipe, you don't have to. Just buy a good coffee bean and use kosher salt and the outcome will still be as a rewarding as watching a hula dancer. For this treatment I combined finely ground coffee, to a level of an espresso ground or finer. Do not grind to a medium texture or the end product will taste like sand. There is no one way to create a rub like this, just use what you like. A lot of recipes use garlic and onion powder, something I am personally not a fan of. In this case, I wanted a bit of sweetness and added brown sugar for additional caramelization of the meat on the grill. I also added cayenne for heat and some smoked paprika to complement the coffee flavor. I lightly coated the steak with the rub and let it "marinate" in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. I think this step really promotes the flavor of the rub into the meat. All in all, the overall approach really worked.
From a steak perspective, any cut of beef will work. I originally intended to do this with a ribeye to play off the salt crusted prime rib we had on the rim at Kiluaea. Given the fact that my local Whole Foods had my go to cut, New York Strip, grass fed and on sale at $9.99 per pound, I went with that. And it did not disappoint.
So in the meantime, if you can't get over to the Islands anytime soon, I want you to turn on "Tiny Bubbles" and go outside and light the BBQ. Put on your best black socks, sandals and your most obnoxiously colorful Hawaiian flower print shirt. Toss on a cowboy hat and a slab of beef and let this luau of flavor begin.
Marinate the Steak