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Edible Finger Lakes

April 4, 2009

A Bean for the Barbecue

I’ve found a fantastic flavor-enhancing ingredient for grilling this summer and it just might replace my old marinades and barbecue sauces for good. The magic ingredient? Coffee. Specifically, the 100 percent Arabica coffee that is in each Java-Gourmet Java Rub made by Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters in Penn Yan. Inspired by a coffee-rubbed steak she once enjoyed, company founder Susan Atkisson started incorporating coffee into more of her own cooking and was impressed with effect. “You don’t taste coffee,” she says, “but it brings out the nutty and smoky characteristics of meats and adds more body into the final product.” Each of their 16 Java Rubs blends finely ground coffee with natural spices and dried herbs formulated for use on beef, fish, chicken, pork or veggies. The international flavors like Mocha Java Mole and Shanghai Six Spice are worth exploring. I had tasty results grilling pork chops with their new Cajun Bayou and French Countryside rubs, the coffee subtly caramelized on the meat and smoothed out the acrid flavors of charcoal smoke. The Greek Isle rub is perfect for mixing in lamb burgers or on grilled vegetables, and the Tuscan Seaside blend mixed into breadcrumbs made a sweetly herbal crust for fish and even cheese. Each $5.99 tin is good for 10-20 servings, depending on use. Look for Java Rubs in gourmet stores throughout the region, or order online at javarubs.com