By Esther Boateng
Fans of coffee meat rubs will enjoy this recipe. As the name suggests, this meat rub contains cacao instead of coffee, along with a synergistic blend of warm spices like cardamom, ginger, and turmeric, among other ingredients. If you are looking for a slight variation to a familiar recipe, you are in for a real treat.
Normally, I avoid sugar like the plague and use alternatives like honey, maple syrup, or dates, especially when baking, but on this occasion, I decided to go with my gut instinct and use brown sugar, and I’m glad I did. Cooking is much easier when your ingredients have the same consistency, especially when it comes to combining them in a blender or spice grinder.
I decided to use a fresh cardamom pod for a richer flavor. Instead of putting it in the spice grinder with the rest of the seasoning, I took some extra time to grind the seeds into a fine powder with a pestle and mortar before adding it to the rest of the seasoning. Cardamom is a wonderfully fragrant and delicious spice that can overwhelm your taste buds if you bite into a seed that isn’t completely crushed.
The subtle sweetness from the coconut sugar and the beet powder works well with the slightly salty seasoning. I was a little concerned that the rub might be overly sweet, but this was not the case at all. The fragrant aroma of the herbs and spices such as Allspice makes it smell like a Christmas pudding; fortunately, it didn’t taste anything like this.
This meat rub is a great way to add more spice into your diet. It’s also an opportunity to get creative and have fun with different spices to find out which blends tickle your taste buds.
Cacao Meat Rub
Grass fed steak (8 oz. per person)
2 Tbsp. cacao nibs
1 Tbsp. fermented or regular cacao powder
1/2 tsp. Dr. Cowan’s Garden Pepper Salt (optional)
1 Tbsp. brown coconut sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder or 1 fresh cardamom pod
1/2 tsp. Allspice powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin powder
- Add the seasonings to a bowl and briefly mix.
- Put the seasonings in a spice grinder and grind for several seconds until it resembles a fine powder.
- Rub the cacao rub onto both sides of your meat. You might want to pat the rub onto the meat more than once to make sure it’s sufficiently coated.
- Cook immediately or let it marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Roast, pan-fry or barbeque your meat. If you are pan frying, to seal in juices, quickly sear the meat in a pan with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil over a high heat, then reduce to a medium to low heat to prevent burning. Continue to cook for a few minutes, or until you are satisfied with its firmness.
- Remove from heat and place on a plate. Cut the meat into half-inch-thick slices and sprinkle with additional Pepper Salt if desired.
You can tell how well your steak is cooked by touching it. The more firm it feels, the more well done it is.