Way back in the day, Hubby and I met an interesting family while traveling through Wyoming. Grandma and Grandpa came from the east, driving a mule team. When they reached Fort Casper, Wyoming, it was time to settle in. The family put down roots, laying claim to an entire mountain just outside Casper. A generation later, the family still made their livelihood along the Oregon Trail. During the summer, they provide tourists to the area with wagon ridges and horseback ridges. During the winter; the family sustains itself harvesting trees from their mountain, with the aid of horse-drawn wagons. The daughters, now third generation, continue to provide this same service.
The first time Hubby and I met the family it was for a two-hour wagon ride along the Oregon Trail. Their eldest daughter was our wagon-master. Her knowledge of the Trail and the wild life we encountered was impressive. Their wagons, while reproductions, are about as close to the real-deal as possible. The family used plans from the Smithsonian Institute; and found a man in South Dakota who built the wagons to spec using only hand-tools. Have you ever noticed in all those photographs of wagon trains that most of the people were on foot? After spending two-hours riding in a wagon, I can tell you first-hand that it is easier to walk than it is to ride.
A year or so later; we met up with them again – this time to do a little horseback riding along the trail. The morning of our scheduled ridge, we got a call telling us to meet them on the mountain rather than down at Fort Casper. A bear had come through their property, scattering the horses. The family was busy rounding up the herd, but felt confident that everything would be ready for our ride by the time we arrived. Besides, riding the mountain would be a better ride than the ruts of the trail.
The girls welcomed us to their mountain home with a breakfast of skillet biscuits, scrambled eggs and coffee so strong, you sat up in the saddle! Put Cowboy and Coffee in the same sentence and my mind immediately flashes back to that morning on the mountain.
Cowboy Steak with Coffee-Chili Rub
1 1/2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder, or other chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons fine ground espresso coffee
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 pound shoulder center steak (Ranch Steak), or top sirloin, about 1 1/4-inch thick
In a small bowl, combine Ancho chili powder, coffee grounds, brown sugar, mustard, coriander, salt and pepper. Rub steak well with Coffee-Chili Rub. Let rest on counter about 30-45 minutes, long enough for steak to reach room temperature and soak in all those wonderful flavors of the rub.
Rub a large skillet (a nicely seasoned cast iron) with olive oil until it has a nice shine. Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until almost to the smoking point.
Cook steak for 14 minutes, turning once, for medium to medium-rare.
Allow steak to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
Great with Fried Potatoes and Ranch-Style Beans.