Advice from the Spice Guy

Winston-Salem JournalFebruary 23, 2013 

Cookbook author Bruce Aidells told me he is particularly fond of flavoring meat before cooking, either with a rub, paste or brine.

Aidells, founder of Aidells Sausage Co., explained it this way. “I’m a spice guy, probably because I had to really learn how to use spices to make sausage.”

Makes total sense.

Aidells told me that one of his favorite rubs for steaks combines coffee and chocolate flavors. .

Aidells is also a big fan of Spanish flavors, particularly smoked paprika, so I’ve included his Spanish-style spice paste, too.

To see a printable version of the recipe, click on the link below:

Chocolate and Coffee Rub

Spanish-Style Spice Paste

Chocolate and Coffee Rub Recipe adapted from Bruce Aidells’ “The Great Meat Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). 4 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon finely ground espresso beans 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon raw or dark brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 1 tablespoon ancho or New Mexico chile powder

COMBINE all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Brush steaks of your choice with olive oil, then generously sprinkle both sides with the rub. Cover and let rest 2 hours at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight. For best results, let steaks come to room temperature before cooking. Also be sure to let them rest about 5 minutes after cooking. Yield: Makes enough for 2 large steaks or 4 smaller steaks

Spanish-Style Spice Paste Recipe adapted from Bruce Aidells’ “The Great Meat Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012). 4 teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons minced garlic 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika (pimenton) Pinch saffron threads 1 teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried) 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

COMBINE all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well. Smear paste over steaks of your choice. Place in a nonreactive dish, cover with plastic wrap, and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature, or refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, scrape off excess paste, but leave a little bit to create nice crust on the meat. Yield: Makes enough for 2 large steaks or 4 smaller steaks

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