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 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 cups 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.

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