No one revels in warm weather like a Minnesotan. We don shorts as soon as the mercury reaches 60 and hit the lakes and parks proudly displaying our pallor and the fact that we made it through another winter. One of my personal celebrations is the unveiling of the grill–that big metal hulk hibernating on the deck under its plastic tarp since October. At our house we throw meat, fish, vegetables, and even slices of fruit and bread on the grill as soon as the snow has thawed until it’s too cold to shuttle back and forth.
Often during the balmy months, I’ll walk the dogs down to Linden Hills and stop in at one of my happy places, Clancey’s Meats and Fish, a tiny shop with clean, local meat and a cauldron of treats for the pooches (if it’s a happy place for me, imagine how they feel?). I stopped in recently and talked with owner Kristin Tombers about something in the case that caught my eye–the coffee rubbed flank steak. She uses a blend of ground coffee, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, ancho chili, and other spices to impart a smoky, super flavorful note to the savory meat. “There’s something really good about the toasty char that coffee brings–a slightly burnt flavor that’s compelling and so good on steak.” she said, “Especially when you pair it with something cool and creamy like avocado in a fajita or as part of a salad. I even tried it on some salmon my brother-in-law caught–not bad.” She’s happy to put in on anything in the shop that strikes your fancy.
If you want to try and make a coffee rub at home, Kristin recommends using a medium roast coffee (I like Caribou Coffee’s Travelers’ Roast) and then play with other spices until you get a combination you like. You could even do kebabs to try several at the same time and come up with your own house mix to use all summer long.