Cocoa-Coffee Steak Marinade for Grilling Recipe

Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why This Recipe Works

  • Marinating is mostly a surface treatment, so even an hour is enough to get plenty of flavor onto the meat.
  • Salt in the marinade helps the beef retain moisture during grilling.

Coffee and chocolate sound like strong flavors, but they take on a delightfully mild tone in this steak marinade. I combine them with some brown sugar, which helps the steak develop a deeper crust more quickly on the grill, and a pinch of chili powder for a subtle, spicy warmth. I go light on the chili heat, but you could add more if you want it to be more pronounced. Mostly, the coffee and chocolate add a slight bitterness that underscores that charred, grilled flavor; the chocolate contributes an additional round butteriness, presumably from the cocoa butter.

Recipe Details

Cocoa-Coffee Steak Marinade for Grilling Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 20 mins
Serves 4 to 8 servings


  • 1 cup (235ml) hot, strong brewed coffee

  • 1/2 ounce (15g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon (15g) dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon (5g) kosher salt

  • Pinch chili powder or cayenne pepper

  • About 2 to 3 pounds (900g to 1.4kg) steak of your choice


  1. Stir together coffee, chocolate, sugar, salt, and chili powder or cayenne, until chocolate is fully melted and sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Let cool.

  2. Transfer marinade to a large zipper-lock bag, add steak, press out air from bag, and seal. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. When ready to cook, remove steak from marinade, blot dry with paper towels, and grill as desired.

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
374 Calories
25g Fat
2g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 374
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 31%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 311mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 436mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)