Coffee Marinated Fajitas

Photo of Coffee Marinated Fajitas with flank steak and tortillas

Café Con Football
Meteorologically, it is fall. And, by that, I mean that the mere fact that the calendar says September means fallen leaves crisp mornings, and a whole lotta pumpkins with or without the spice.

Here in California, we know that just because it says September doesn’t mean that it isn’t 105 degrees outside. The only remotely accurate sign, for me, that fall has in fact arrived, is that my posterior has been parked on the couch the last two Saturdays watching college football.

The start of college football means that I have been doing some grilling ‘cause what is watching a game without some sort of grilled something? I mean sure, it’s not like I haven’t been grilling all summer but flipping the calendar means changing to more fall flavors. See, somewhere deep in my whacked-out brain I have this thing, this sense that certain flavors are just for certain seasons.

Perfect example? I would never make a pork roast in July. Pork roast is a fall and winter thing. I know. I got issues, man. So, with this in mind, the rubs and marinades that I use to grill in the fall turn from the brighter, lighter flavors of summer to something deeper and more intense in flavor.

One of my favorite ways to do this is by using coffee in my marinades or rubs. The coffee doesn’t really add a lot of coffee flavor, but it gives whatever you’re grilling just a little bit more depth. It also works really well with the smokiness of dried chilies. This makes it a no brainer for grilled Mexican dishes.

Brewed coffee in marinades is excellent as a tenderizer—which is key if you are using cuts like flank steak or skirt steak for tacos. One of my favorite recipes is for Coffee-Marinated Fajitas. It’s Perfect for feeding a hungry crowd of rabid football fans.

Coffee Marinated Fajitas
Adapted from Food 52
Yields 4 to 6 servings

This fajita is extremely flexible and super delicious. And, in this recipe, coffee is working behind the scenes. The enzymes have transformative powers. They masterfully tenderize a tougher cut of meat and bring out the depth of flavor. Read more…

Jittery John’s Cold Brew

Glass of Jittery John's Cold Brew over ice with milk

Jittery John’s Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate is made from a blend of locally roasted single-origin beans and chicory. This special blend yields tasting notes of chocolate and citrus with an ultra, full-bodied flavor that is dense, rich, and smooth. It is crafted by hand from a unique recipe Read more…

Ham with Red-Eye Gravy

Gravy boat with Red-Eye Gravy on a white background

Take The Red Eye
It’s September. And, I don’t know why this is, but the minute the Labor Day weekend ends, I find myself needing just a little bit more help to get going in the morning. There is no real compelling reason for this. My routine doesn’t change between August 31 and September 1. Yet, here I am reaching for the high-octane coffee.

When the kids were younger, I could blame it on the back-to-school adjustment. Now that they are either out of the house or driving themselves that excuse no longer holds water. Maybe it’s just muscle memory from those days? Either way, the reality is that I am drinking more coffee on the daily than I was pre-September. I’m drawing the line at Pumpkin Spice though…we’re not there yet.

Coffee has been on my mind, so I have been looking for ways to use it that don’t involve simply drinking it. I am thinking outside the mug as it were.

There are plenty of BBQ rubs that include coffee—and thousands of baked goods. But, you may not have heard of some unexpected uses for that extra coffee. The most notable is Red-Eye Gravy. And, though it’s very possible you have heard of it I’m pretty confident you haven’t tried it. It’s pretty old school…

Red-Eye gravy requires rendering the fat from a ham steak and combining it with coffee and spices to make a gravy. (Sounds weird but tastes good.) The hardest thing for me is having a ham steak on hand. Though I love me some Sunday morning ham and eggs.

Ham with Red-Eye Gravy Recipe
Adapted from All Recipes
Yields 4 servings

Red-Eye Gravy is nothing more than fried county ham drippings and strong black coffee—aka the perfect breakfast. The bitterness of the coffee marries well with the sweet, smoky fat of the ham. The point of Red-Eye Gravy is to enjoy every last bit of the salty, sticky, meaty glaze left in our skillets after frying slices of Southern country ham. Read more…

Philz Coffee

Photo of a cup of Philz Coffee
Artisanal and wonderfully delicious.
Philz Coffee is a San Francisco institution and a leading local member of coffee’s third wave. Philz Coffee brightens your day, wakes you up, and inspires conversation.

About Philz Coffee
Philz Jaber started on the corner of 24th and Mission Read more…