As part of a larger strategy to help boost my basement-floor iron levels, my doctor asked me to eat a bit more red meat, and I’ve honestly been struggling with figuring out how to do that. I’ve never been much of a steak eater, and a girl can only eat so many hamburgers before dinnertime starts to become a snoozefest! So I set out to discover some more interesting ways to get my doctor-recommended fill of red meat— and this One Skillet Coffee-Rubbed Steak and Potatoes Dinner (with Brussels Sprouts) was born!
I have to be honest, the entire inspiration for this meal goes to a local company out of Fort Wayne, Indiana called Fresco Spice Blends. They are a small family-owned company that started off by selling their spice blends at the local farmers’ market. Their product became so popular that Meijer stores across the Midwest picked them up! I stumbled onto Fresco’s Coffee Steak Rub when I was browsing at my local Meijer store the other day, and immediately knew it was time for me to try my hand at steak again.
If a coffee-rubbed steak sounds like a strange combo to you, let me tell you, it’s a delicious marriage of flavors. When I seared the steak with the coffee rub, it got a beautiful smoky-sweet crust that really complemented the flavor of the grass-fed skirt steak I used.
If you’ve never worked with skirt steak before, it’s a bit of an odd-looking cut of meat—it’s long and thin and doesn’t look at all like a typical “steak” shape (think: not the steak emoji shape). Since skirt steak is so thin, it absorbs dry rubs and marinades quickly and cooks in a jiffy (meaning this whole meal is done in right around a half hour). And when you cut across the grain, the bites are tender and rich. Because of how long and skinny the cut of meat is, you’ll probably want to cut it into equal-size sections to be able to fit into your skillet and get a good sear.
Speaking of skillets, I really recommend going with your beloved cast iron skillet here. You can technically use any skillet you want, but this meal is just begggggging to be made in cast iron.
It’s going to give you the evenest heat, the best sear on the steak, and my gosh, doesn’t this meal just look all kinds of cozy when it’s packed into a heavy cast iron skillet? This is how you do cooler weather food. Bonus that my doctor is a fan of: cooking in cast iron has been shown to raise the iron levels of your food. I’ve been actively trying to cook in cast iron as much as possible to help increase the iron content of the food I eat.
The most common cast iron skillet size in the home is a 10″, and that’ll totally work for this recipe—but you will have to do some batch-cooking. A better bet would be to invest in a 12″ or even larger skillet for one-pot meals like these. You can pick up a nice 12″ cast iron skillet in the camping section at your local Meijer store. The extra two inches might not seem like it’ll make a big difference, but giving your veggies and steak a little bit of breathing room really helps to get good caramelization on the potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and a good, crusty sear on the coffee-rubbed steak.
I know cast iron skillets aren’t cheap, but as we explored in my Cast Iron 101 post, investing in a good piece of cast iron cookware is a lifetime (and more!) investment. We frequently use cast iron skillets in my family that are from three generations before me. And a larger cast iron skillet is perfect for cooking over the campfire or cooking big batches of food for guests.
That being said, the pictures you see here are the standard 10″ cast iron skillet—because I know that’s what most of you folks have in your home kitchen, and I wanted to make sure to test this recipe using what you already have. Trust me, it works just fine (and shoo-wee, is it delicious). Enjoy!