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Cedar Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Coffee Rub

Cedar Grilled Flat Iron Steaks with Coffee Rub

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Combine sugar, coffee, chili powder, cayenne and salt. Cut steak to fit on cedar planks if necessary. Brush steak with 2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle all over with coffee rub and press to adhere. Set aside.

Prepare a grill for high-heat cooking. When very hot, bank coals on one side of grill, leaving one side free of coals; if using a gas grill, turn burner off on one side. Have a spray bottle filled with water handy. Heat cedar planks on cool side of grill for 3 minutes; remove from grill, brush one side lightly with oil and set aside.

Grill steaks on hot side of grill until just seared, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to oiled sides of planks and place planks near (but not over, if possible) hot zone on grill; close grill cover and cook until steaks reach desired doneness, 8 to 12 minutes for medium-rare. Spray edges of planks with water if they catch fire. Remove planks from grill; rest steaks on planks 10 minutes before slicing.

Coffee-rubbed grilled flat iron steak

So, I have to say that living at the top of a steep hill with a 90-degree turn into the garage sucks when you have two ice storms in a row. The Peoples of the South do not do hard-core winter well. I understand that the Peoples of Boston have had 853 inches of snow this winter and that I should feel sorry for them. But when you watch your beloved King Daddy slide down the hill in his Jetta, across the street and into somebody’s front yard…well, my sympathies are closer to home.

I cannot fib. I grilled this steak a week ago, in between storms. Right now, there are 3-foot-long icicles hanging from the gazebo under which my grill sits so venturing on to the deck could be fatal.

Coffee is one of those chef secrets that I have unabashedly stolen. It gives chocolate cake incredible depth, adds complexity to mole sauces and highlights the meatiness of both beef and pork. And you really can’t taste it in the finished product, which has that “something something” that’s hard to describe. At least for me. At least right now. I’ve been housebound too long. Brain cells. Withering away.

Flat Iron Steak

Up until recently, I hadn’t ever given much thought to flat iron steaks. Actually, until 2002, the only though any butcher had given to this cut of meat was how quickly they could get it into the grinder. The flat iron steak (also known as top blade steak) was “developed” in 2002 by two researchers at the Universities of Nebraska and Florida (what a job, huh?). When I say “developed”, I mean that these guys realized that this meat that was usually turned into hamburger could actually be cut in a way that made it a delicious steak. Fast-forward to 2010 and this steak is now the fifth most popular cut of steak, and one of the most economical. Some even think it has a better taste than more expensive cuts like the New York Strip. Count me as one of those flat iron steak fans.

So it was “developed” in 2002, but I didn’t really develop and interest until they went on sale at my grocery store 2 weeks ago. Now in the last 10 days, I have grilled 4 of them. Yep, the quickest way to my grill (and stomach) is via my grocery store’s weekly ad. Now that I have a few flat irons under my belt (both figuratively and literally), I feel like I have been missing a great cut of meat. Like many other cuts of steak, your job is to not screw it up, cook it just right and let the natural beefy goodness come through. The flat iron steak should not be cooked past medium temperature or it will get a little tough. It’s best at medium-rare. I admit, I let a few of the steaks sit in a little Worcestershire sauce, and it was delicious but not too overpowering. Most of the time, fresh ground pepper is all you need. Let’s get right to it.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 pounds flat iron steaks

Stir together the paprika, salt, sugar, chili powder, chipotle powder, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin in a small bowl until blended. Rub the seasoning mix all over the flat iron steaks, then wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. Marinate in the refrigerator 2 to 8 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat, and lightly oil grate.

Cook the steaks on the preheated grill until cooked to your desired degree of doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium. Allow the steaks to rest for 5 minutes in a warm location before slicing.

  • 2 flat iron steaks, 1 pound/450 g. each
  • 3 tablespoons/45 mL olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons/10 mL salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon/2.5 mL marjoram
  • black pepper

Place steak in resealable plastic bag. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over steak. Work marinade into ​the meat. Seal bag and place in refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.

Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Remove steak from ​the dish, reserving marinade. Place meat on the grill and allow to cook for 15 to 17 minutes.

When ​the meat reaches desired doneness, remove from heat and allow to sit for five minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.

If your butcher stares blankly at you when you ask for a flat iron steak, it could be that this particular cut (or actually this particular name) hasn't caught on in your neck of the woods. If requesting a flat iron steak isn't successful, ask for a top blade steak. If it is still unavailable, try your best to track one down and give it a taste. You might just find your perfect steak.

Raw meat doesn't have too long of a shelf-life, so plan on cooking the flat iron steak within three to five days of purchasing it and store in the refrigerator until ready to prepare. Make sure it is wrapped well without any extra air inside the packaging. If you need to keep for later use, remove from the store packaging and rewrap in a freezer bag or butcher paper, removing any extra air. The steak will stay fresh for at least three months or longer.

I'd love to know how it turned out! Please let me know by leaving a review below. Or snap a photo and share it on Instagram be sure to tag me @onceuponachef.

Easy and full of flavor, this grilled flank steak is one of my favorite summer grilling recipes.


  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 - 2-1/2 lb flank steak


  1. Make the marinade by combining the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Blitz for a few minutes, until garlic and rosemary are pulverized.
  2. Place the flank steak in a medium baking dish. Using a fork, poke meat about 10 times on each side. Pour the marinade over top and turn the steak a few times to coat evenly. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Grease grill with oil and preheat to high. When grill is hot, grill flank steak covered for about 5 minutes. Turn and cook covered for about 3-4 minutes more. Let meat rest on cutting board, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice very thin against the grain.

Pair with

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

See more recipes:

  • Flat iron steak
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  1. Combine all marinade ingredients stir until combined.
  2. Place steak inside heavy duty ziploc bag pour marinade over.
  3. Marinade 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
  4. Grill flatiron until desired doneness.
  5. Allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing.
  6. Cut thinly across the grain serve.
Nutrition Information:

Smoked Flat Iron Steaks

These smoked flat iron steaks have gained in popularity over the last few years and some even say they rival the sirloin, tri-tip and tenderloin in flavor and tenderness.

I usually get these as large steaks about ¾ inch thick, 4 inches wide and about 12 inches long but I found some for this article that are already cut into individual portion sizes.

These go great with my smoked twice baked potatoes and a nice green salad.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Dry Brine Time: 2-4 hours
  • Marinate time: 6-8 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 130°F (medium rare)
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite or pecan
  • About 3-4 lbs of flat iron steak
  • Coarse kosher salt (Morton's blue box)
  • Jeff's original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub)
  • Olive oil
Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Rinse the steaks under cold water then pat them dry with a paper towel.

Please note that I did not dry brine these however, you certainly could and it only makes them better if you want to take the time to do this.

To dry brine, sprinkle about ¼ teaspoon of coarse kosher salt on the top of each one and place it into the fridge for 2-4 hours before adding the olive oil and rub marinade below.

No need to rinse the steaks after dry brining.

Brush olive oil onto the steaks then sprinkle my rub onto the steaks. Flip them over and do the same on the back side.

Place the steaks into a plastic or glass bowl with a lid and place in the fridge overnight or for 6-8 hours

I used my XL Big Green Egg for cooking these and it does a great job but I can't help thinking that these would also be an excellent thing to do on the Woodwind WiFi by Camp Chef. You could get some good smoke on these and then throw them over some hot coals for a minute or two.. oh my! Read my review on that thing.. it's pretty sweet for cooking meat– I'm a poet!

Back to Earth, Jeff.. back to Earth!

Set up your smoker for cooking at about 225°F with plenty of smoking wood to last about 1 hour. I recommend using mesquite for great smoke flavor that marries well with these beefy wonders but make sure you have good airflow into and out of your smoker. Pecan is a safer choice and also tastes great.

Note: In colder weather, it is advisable to preheat the smoker at least an hour or more before you are wanting to use it. Keep the door closed as much as possible and even skip basting if necessary to maintain proper smoking temperatures.

Place the steaks directly on the grate

Depending on how thick your steaks are, they should take about 45 minutes or so to reach 130°F in the center. If you want them more or less rare, adjust the time accordingly.

I recommend using a trusty thermapen thermometer or a remote digital probe meat thermometer like the Smoke (which I am quite fond of) and staying close by the smoker so you don't overcook these and ruin them.

If you want to sear these or lay down some grill marks, simply remove the steaks from the smoker when they reach about 100°F and throw them onto an already hot grill or a very hot pan.

Continue to watch the temperature and be sure to pull them when they reach your desired doneness.

Let the steaks rest for about 15 minutes then serve with my smoked twice baked potatoes.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Today we are going to be “world travelers” at the supper table by heading off to Argentina. Before venturing off, I thought it would be fun to give you a little background on the sauce for our Flat Iron Steaks.

Chimichurri Sauce in a condiment sauce from Argentina that is used on grilled meats, much like the way Americans use A-1 Steak sauce except with more versatility. Chimichurri Sauce is not just reserved for steaks or grilled red meats. It can also accompany grilled chicken, pork or even as a side to grilled fish such as Sword Fish Steaks.

Typically Chimichurri is made from finely chopped parsley, oregano, minced garlic, olive oil and white vinegar. In Latin Countries outside Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, the dominant flavor comes from the use of chopped coriander leaves, more commonly known as Cilantro. Although usually served in its green form, like Enchilada Sauce, it does have a red version. This is accomplished with the introduction of tomatoes and red bell peppers to the mix. However tonight’s rendition of Chimichurri Sauce is green.

The origins of the name for this sauce is unclear, although there are two schools of popular thought. Both are amusing, steeped more in folklore than fact. The first is that the word dates back to the early 1800, when the British were captured after a series of failed invasions to capture the Spanish colonies in and around South America’s la Plala Basin. British prisoners used a mixture of English, aboriginal and Spanish words to form the word che-mi-salsa or chi-mi-curry. Roughly translated, the prisoners were saying “give me condiments” or “give me curry” to have with their food. The word eventually became “Chimichurri”. Another popular tale is that the word hails from the Basque settlers of Argentina, and their term tximitxurri, loosely translated as “a mixture of several things in no particular order.” Personally, I like the latter theory if for no other reason than the randomness of preparing a sauce “in no particular order”. What fun – a little of this, a little of that, whipped it up and there you go.

The Flat Iron Steak, when grilled to a nice, warm medium rare is tender and filled with flavors. A light sprinkling of Montreal Steak Seasoning only adds to the beautiful, beefy flavor of this wonderful cut of meat.

The Chimichurri Sauce is a Latin Pesto of sorts for all things grilled. The wonderful texture, bright color and blend of flavors is delight for the senses. The cilantro and lemon complement one another beautifully, neither taking center stage while allowing their distinct differences to come bursting through.

While I enjoyed mine as a thinly sliced steak, Hubby and Kiddo wrapped theirs in warm tortillas, with more sauce and a dash of sour cream. Bottom line is that this dish is easy to make and a joy to eat.

Are you ready to start cooking? Then let’s get busy. You’ll want to season the steak, whip up the Chimichurri Sauce and build a nice bed of coals for grilling. Oh how I love nights like this, when Hubby and I spend quality time together preparing a meal. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Ingredients: Flat Iron Steak
1 Flat Iron Steak, about 1 1/2 – 2 pounds
1 Tablespoon Montreal Steak Seasoning

Ingredients – Chimichurri Sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley leaves (about 1 cup before chopping)
2 Tablespoons Roasted minced garlic
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 Teaspoons White or Red wine vinegar
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup olive oil

Take the steak out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking, rub with steak rub, and let it come to room temperature.

Wash cilantro leaves and parsley leaves and dry with paper towel or spin dry in salad spinner. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, finely chop the cilantro, parsley, and garlic. Transfer mixture to a glass bowl.

Add lemon juice, wine vinegar, and seasonings. Whisk to combine. Slowly whisk in olive oil. Let sauce stand at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes for flavors to marry. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

Build a fire in the charcoal grill, heating grill to medium-high heat. Clean grate and wipe with a little oil to prevent steak from sticking.

Place Flat Iron Steak on the grill at an angle. After about 3-4 minutes, or when nice grill marks start to form, rotate steak 45 degrees using tongs and continue to grill for about 3-4 minutes more on first side.

Flip steak over, again at angle and repeat grilling on second side. Continue to grill until cooked to your liking. Flat Iron Steak should be cooked no more than medium rare, for about 12 minutes, depending upon thickness of the cut.

When steak is done to your liking, remove from grill, tend and let rest for 5 minutes to allow juices to settle. Slice steak thinly across the grain. Serve hot, with Chimichurri sauce drizzled down the center. Serve remaining sauce on the side to add as desired.

Season Flat Iron Steak and allow to rest for about 30 minutes prior to grilling. While steak is resting, gather ingredients for the Chimichurri Sauce. Having everything at the ready makes it a snap to whip up the sauce. Process parsley, cilantro, oregano and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped and well blended. Once finely chopped, transfer mixture to a small bowl. Add fresh lemon juice and wine vinegar. Add spices to the mixture and whip to blend well. Slowly add olive oil. Whisk to blend. Set sauce aside to allow flavors to marry and mature. After about 30 minutes, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Grill Flat Iron Steak over a bed of medium-hot coals until desired doneness is achieved. Flat Iron Steak is best cooked medium-rare. Remove steak from grill, tent and allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes to let juices settle. Slice thinly, drizzle with Chimichurri Sauce and serve. Flat Iron Steak goes well with warm tortillas and Mexican Rice for a quick, easy supper. Perfect for casual entertaining or spending time around the table with those we love.