Smoked-Tea Rubbed Steak with Mango-Ginger Salsa

By • July 19, 2011 • 24 Comments


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Author Notes: As with most things in life (and food) there are few absolutes, and that definitely applies to this dish. Where most people will only use a savory salsa or chimichurri with beef, I LOVE this sweet-hot salsa with a great flank steak. The fact is, this salsa is ALSO terrific with chicken and seafood, but what makes it such a winning pairing with the beef is the spicy, smoked-tea rub we put on the steak. The sweet-hot mango salsa is the perfect foil for the earthy smokiness of the beef rub, it is a match made in heaven...trust me. - Oui, ChefOui, Chef

Food52 Review: This inventive and unusual recipe delivers robust, bold flavors. Oui, Chef has you rub smoky Lapsang Souchong tea and other peppery spices all over the meat an hour before cooking it. After the steak is grilled, the Asian flavors in the tea and the piquant Latin American/Mexican spices combine to create a crust on the flank steak that is both succulent and super-spicy. The meat is served with a yummy tropical-like mango ginger salsa. My testers and I especially loved how the sweet salsa tempered the spiciness of the steak. Much as we all liked this dish, we felt that the peppery spices masked the tea’s smoky flavors a bit, and when I make this again I will probably use less cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and chipotle powder. Note: I made a quarter of the rub, and it was the perfect amount to coat a 1 1/2 pound steak. I also found it helpful to brush the steak with a little grapeseed oil before applying the rub to help it adhere to the meat. - cookinginvictoriacookinginvictoria

Serves 4

Smoked-Tea Beef Rub

  • 1 1/2 cup Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup chipotle chili powder
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons dried chives
  • 2 tablespoons five spice powder
  • Enough flank steak to feed four people

Mango-Ginger Salsa

  • 2 large, ripe mangoes peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 small red onion cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 Jalapeno pepper, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon sambal (chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • kosher salt and fresh ground white pepper to taste
  1. For the spice rub, combine all ingredients in a bowl. * This recipe makes a LOT of tea rub. Feel free to halve, or even quarter the recipe if you desire. Store leftover rub in a ziploc bag in your freezer, where it will last practically forever. Note: Bulk tea leaves will generally be coarser and will therefor give you and more textured / crunchy coating on the steak. Tea pulled from tea bags will be finer and leave you with a smoother rub.
  2. For the salsa: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, season to taste with salt and pepper. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.
  3. For the steak: Remove the steak from the fridge and rub all over with the smoked-tea spice mix. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let sit for about an hour to come to room temperature. Grill over a medium-high flame for only 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting across the grain, and serving with the mango-ginger salsa.

Tags: condiment, dry rub, savory, sweet

Comments (24) Questions (0)

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over 2 years ago zieker

I've never thought to use a smokey tea like this in a in a rub! Sounds incredible, and I love sweet-spicy hot salsas with everything from beef to fish. Another great one to try. Thanks Oui, Chef!

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over 2 years ago Summer of Eggplant

I'll tea smoke anything, thanks for the recipe.

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over 2 years ago Lizthechef

Yet another have-to-try recipe. LOVE the rub and spicy salsa, Steve! Thumbs up!

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over 2 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

This looks mind-blowingly delicious. I'm strongly feeling that you should just come over tonight and cook it for us! ;-) Barring that, I'm saving it to try myself.

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over 2 years ago Fairmount_market

I love the idea of a spice rub with tea leaves. I look forward to trying this.

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over 2 years ago susan g

https://marktwendell.com...
Mark Wendell is in Acton MA, and there should be stores selling the Hu Kwa teas. The web site doesn't have a retail list, but they ship, and you can contact them about picking it up there. I know my store sold it years ago and it was popular. Nice tins too. It's more mellow than the usual Lapsang, if I remember correctly. When I retired I was getting good quality teas from an importer in Vermont, Vermont Tea and Trading, but no Hu Kwa.

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almost 3 years ago Midge

What an amazing flavor combo! I'm hooked on Lapsang Souchong too. I've been drinking Hu-Kwa from Mark Wendell, which isn't as smoky as some.

Steve_dunn02

over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, Midge. I'd love to try the Hu-Kwa, where do you get it around here? - S

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over 2 years ago Midge

Cardullo's and Formaggio Kitchen both carry it.

Summer_2010_1048

over 2 years ago Midge

and they both ship!

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almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

I love Lapsang Souchong! I typically get one called Pine Smoked Black made by Tao of Tea. It's got a rich smoky flavor & I bet it goes beautifully with the salsa. Gorgeous recipe!

Steve_dunn02

over 2 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, hardlikearmour. I've had the lapsang from Tao of Tea and love it! - S

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over 2 years ago Sagegreen

I am lucky to have a great tea place nearby in Northampton, but they also do an online business. Mary Lou and Bob travel to hand select many of the teas they carry. Every time I visit they seem to have another book out, too: http://www.teatrekker.com...

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almost 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

The spiciness of the rub looks like it would be a perfect combination with the mango salsa! I have the same question aargersi does - can you tell us a little about the tea leaves, and a good sub if we can't find Lapsang Souchong?

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almost 3 years ago Sagegreen

It's more common than you might think. If you can't find any, I will mail you and aargesi some! It is maybe like a very smokey Earl Grey? I want to try this this weekend.

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almost 3 years ago susan g

About Lapsang Souchong: this tea is smoked over wood fires in traditional practice. When I first drank it, I made it at my desk at a very conventional work place. People would come over for a whiff, and say "Eeuw, it smells like creosote." They were right. I now find it too strong to brew alone, so I add a few pinches to another tea as base. One option for a substitute is a smoky Russian Caravan tea. But any place that sells bulk tea is likely to have it.

Steve_dunn02

almost 3 years ago Oui, Chef

susan g gives a great description of the tea here. To me, it smells like a campfire (and I mean that in a good way), it IS a strong tea, but one I enjoy drinking on a cold winter day, its too heavy for summer. I find it pretty readily around here. Thanks for you lovely comment, Suzanne! - S

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks great - we love mango salsa too - I am not familiar with that tea - is there something common and comparable so I can "taste" it in my mind?

Steve_dunn02

almost 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, aargersi. Close your eyes and think campfire. That's the tea. - S

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almost 3 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Got it :-)

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almost 3 years ago lapadia

Fabulous, Oui, Chef...thanks for sharing!!

Steve_dunn02

almost 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, lapadia...I hope you give it a try this grilling season.

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almost 3 years ago Sagegreen

Beautiful. Love the rub and the hot fruity salsa.

Steve_dunn02

almost 3 years ago Oui, Chef

Thanks, Sagegreen. Hot-fruity salsa makes just about everything taste better! - S