Finding different things to do with steak when you don’t have the option of grilling outside can be difficult sometimes. There is nothing quite like getting a steak nicely grilled, grill marks and all, and having the smell of the steak on your barbecue permeating the backyard. For those of us that do not have the grilling option, finding a good way to get flavor, grill marks and more out of a steak you make indoors is what you have to make the best of. For me, it usually means making use of a grill pan, finding a really good rub to put on the steak and doing some careful cooking to make sure the steak gets done correctly. There is nothing worse than overcooking a good piece of steak, considering how much they cost today. You can save a little bit if you can get yourself a nice sirloin steak, which I managed to do recently at our local farmers’ market. I got steak from Bishop Farms, a farm that promises no hormones, GMOs or antibiotics in the meat they sell. It was then a matter of finding a good way to cook it, so I decided to make use of part of this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for a grilled steak with ancho chile-coffee rubs and adapt for indoor use.
Pan Grilled Sirloin Steak with Ancho-Chile Coffee Rub
For the Steak:
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ( 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pound) boneless sirloin steaks, about 1-inch thick
For the Spice Rub:
1 dried ancho chile. stemmed, seeded and flesh torn into 1/2-inch pieces
4 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 teaspoons coriander seeds
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground coffee
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
Vegetable oil spray
For the steak, combine the tomato paste, fish sauce, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels. With a sharp knife, cut 1/16-inch-deep slits on both sides of steaks, spaced about a ½ inch apart, in a crosshatch pattern. Rub the salt mixture evenly on both sides of the steaks. Place the steaks on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet; let the steaks stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
For the spice rub, toast the ancho chile, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and peppercorns in a medium skillet set over medium-low heat, stirring the spices frequently, until they are just beginning to smoke, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the spices to a plate to cool for about 5 minutes. Grind the spices in a spice grinder or in a mortar with pestle until they are coarsely ground. Transfer the spices to a bowl and stir in the sugar, coffee, and cocoa powder.
Sprinkle about half of the spice rub evenly over 1 side of the steaks and press down to adhere until the spice rub is fully moistened. Lightly spray the rubbed side of the steak with vegetable oil spray for about 3 seconds. Flip the steaks and repeat the process of sprinkling with the spice rub and coating with vegetable oil spray on the second side.
Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Drop a few drops of water on the pan and if it sizzles loudly when it hits the pan, the pan should be hot enough for your steaks. Place the steaks in the hot pan and sear the steaks on one side for 5 minutes without moving the steaks. Flip the steaks and cook them on the other side for another five minutes without moving them for a doneness of medium-rare. If you prefer the steaks medium, add one to two minutes to your cooking time to desired doneness. Remove the steaks and allow them to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing them thinly against the grain and serving.
If you didn’t want to go through the effort of toasting the spices and then grinding them you could certainly use spices that are already ground, but the toasting does add a different flavor to the spice mixture and it works well. You get a much deeper flavor this way. I really liked having two different rubs on there as the combination of the tomato paste, fish sauce, salt, onion and garlic really adds something special to the steaks and then it gets topped off by the coffee and chile spice rub for a really good finish. Spraying the steaks with vegetable spray serves a couple of purposes as it will help you to keep the steaks from sticking to the pan but it also helps to bloom the spices a bit more so you don’t get a raw spice flavor. I think the rub will work well on any cut of steak you want to make, something expensive or inexpensive, and still give you great taste. I only made one large steak for the three of us for this meal but if you make the two steaks indoors you will need to cook them in batches so you can make sure you get a nice sear and don’t overcrowd the pan so the steaks steam. Of course, if you have a gas or charcoal grill you could always cook them outdoors and get great results as well. Any steak goes well with roasted potatoes and roasted vegetables, and I made some roasted broccoli and beets to go with the meal.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!