Saturday, May 28, 2011

Coffee and Beer Marinated Steak with Truffle Parsnips Paired with 2004 McClean Vineyards Estate Private Reserve Paso Robles Syrah

Grilled London Broil Truffle Parsnips paired with 2004 McClean Vineyards Estate Private Reserve Paso Robles Syrah-1

Welcome to a special Memorial Day weekend edition of Craig’s Grape Adventure.  I don’t normally post on the weekend, because my handy Google Stats tell me that most of you are enjoying a bit of escapism while at work during the week.  No worries, I won’t let your little secret out.

Grilling is a time honored tradition in the U.S. over the Memorial Day weekend.  In case you have not yet completed your menu for the weekend, this pairing may provide an interesting twist on the traditional.  Chef Sue and I tested it last night with absolutely mouth watering results.

London Broil on the Grill-1

In the interest of full disclosure and appropriate credits, this recipe comes from Whats Cookin – Food With Taste.  I highly recommend you sign up for their free newsletter that conveniently shows up in your inbox twice a week with some deliciously unique recipes.  Thanks a bunch to the folks at Whats Cookin for an endless stream of inspiration.

It goes without saying that Chef Sue and I cannot take any recipe at face value.  In this case we stayed pretty true to the Whats Cookin recipe for Coffee Steaks Under the Influence, but made a few modifications mostly out of convenience and a little intuition.  Follow the link for the original recipe.  I have parenthetically noted our modifications in the recipe at the end of the post.

The Food

London Broil Plating

I was drawn to this recipe out of idle curiosity – a coffee and beer based marinade – really?  My curiosity was rewarded with a wonderful blend of flavors.  Although the marinade and the rub include a number of ingredients, the coffee was clearly the headliner.  The coffee, toasted on the surface of the steak was a perfect addition to the steak.  It was not overwhelming and added a very pleasant nutty coffee note to each bite.  This earthiness melded perfectly with the truffle parsnips chosen to fill out the plate.

The Pairing

2004 McClean Vineyards Estate Private Reserve Paso Robles Syrah-1

Normally I would discuss the wine a bit before getting to the pairing.  However, in this case I am simply too anxious to get to the heart of the matter.  The pairing was spectacular.  We have already established that the steak and parsnips feature a wonderful nutty earthiness with plenty of umami to bring smiles to the faces of even grumpy old men.  The 2004 McClean Vineyards Estate Private Reserve Paso Robles Syrah precisely complemented these flavors with deep flavors of chocolate (chocolate and coffee – YES!) plumb, and a pleasant spiciness which added a delicious peppery coating to the steak.  At $28 per bottle, this wine is well worth every penny to pair with the fruit of your grilling efforts.

The Recipe 

Coffee Steak Under the Influence

The following recipe is presented in it's original form. Chef Sue's modifications and other notes are parenthetically noted.

Grilled London Broil Truffle Parsnips paired with 2004 McClean Vineyards Estate Private Reserve Paso Robles Syrah-4


  • 12 ounces heavy beer. I used Yuengling Black And Tan, but any dark preferably craft beer will work.
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Crystal Hot Sauce
  • 3 boneless strip steaks (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), trimmed of fat (Chef Sue chose London Broil cut in Barney Rubble thickness - honestly, use your favorite steaks, its all good.)
  • 3 tablespoons fine ground dark roast coffee
  • 1 tablespoon pure chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

Sliced London Broil-1


The Night Before: Mix the beer, Worcestershire sauce and Crystal Hot Sauce in a large freezer zipper lock bag. Put the steaks in the bag, seal it shut, then refrigerate overnight. (Chef Sue combined ALL the ingredients in the marinade - they all made sense in the marinade and she could not resist the temptation. Rather than marinade overnight, Chef Sue let the steaks marinade for about 4 hours.)

Grilling Day: Mix the other ingredients in a bowl. Take the steaks out of the marinade, discarding the marinade. Pat dry the steaks with paper towels, then dampen with vegetable oil. Coat the steaks with the spicy mix, patting in gently with your fingers.

Pre-heat the grill. If you’re using a propane grill, high heat is good. Grill the steaks until they have a dark crust. Two minutes on each side for medium rare (depending on thickness of steaks). Four minutes per side for medium. (As designated grill master at our secret Potomac lair affectionately known as the Crab Shack, my grilling method is slightly different. Because we used the Barney Rubble cut (think hugely thick Brontosaurus steaks), I grilled on high heat with my tried and true process of 2.5 minutes, rotate 90 degrees for another 2.5 minutes, flip for 2.5 minutes, then rotate 90 degrees for another 2.5 minutes. This process results in those oh so beautiful grill branding marks and beautifully pink medium rare steaks. The timing is completely dependent on the steak thickness which may require some minor adjustment. Use a meat thermometer and adjust your grilling time to get an internal temperature of 130 to 140 degrees F. Legal disclaimer: USDA recommends a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees. If grilling steak to 130 degrees is the riskiest activity in my life, I can live with that. For my palate, the more you head in the direction of well done, the greater the loss of flavor. When you remove the steak from the grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing/plating. The internal temperature will continue to rise during this resting period and the juices will redistribute throughout the steak ensuring a plump juicy piece of meat.)

Truffle Parsnips


  1. 4 medium parsnips (cleaned, pealed and cubed)
  2. 3 small red potatoes (cubed)
  3. 1/4 cup cream cheese
  4. 2 oz. butter
  5. Truffle salt to taste
  6. Green onions (chopped as garnish)


  1. Boil parsnips and potatoes until fork tender.
  2. Mash parsnips and potatoes in a bowl along with the cream cheese and butter.
  3. Season with truffle salt to taste.
  4. Plate and garnish with green onions.

Enjoy your grilling, and have a great Memorial Day weekend.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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