This has been one of my go-to favorites since it was first published in 1998. I often use a teaspoon of dried minced garlic instead of fresh garlic just to save a little time. I don't think it makes much of a difference in the final product.
From EatingWell: July/August 1998
You might not think of coffee as a marinade ingredient but it adds depth and flavor that's not duplicatable. Richly flavored meats like beef and lamb work best with this marinade.
3 Reviews for Coffee-Balsamic Marinade
This is a great recipe and has quickly become my new favorite way to prepare a beef steak. It cooks up nice on a broiler pan in the oven at about 375 degrees. I'm eager to try other variations of this recipe. For example, adding a drop or two of liquid smoke flavoring or making this with other vinegars, such as seasoned rice vinegar or additional ingredients, such as onion, ginger or prepared mustard. I would also like to make a big batch of this recipe and use it on a rack of ribs. Also, though I have yet to try it, I believe this stuff would probably make a very tasty salad dressing, too.
A bit of experimentation has already revealed a few things to me, however:
1.) ALWAYS add the olive oil last, after all the other ingredients have been mixed. Otherwise, the pepper will just float on the surface instead of mixing with the rest of the ingredients.
2.) You can substitute the 3 cloves of minced garlic with three 1/8 teaspoon measures of garlic powder. I didn't notice a difference in the flavor and the powder combined with the other ingredients a lot easier than the minced garlic.
3.) If you don't have any brown sugar, 4 or so teaspoons of ordinary granulated sugar work pretty well. The flavor won't be as sweet, tending to be more savory, but it still tastes delicious and will still give the meat an excellent flavor.
4.) I've found that the most effective way to marinate the meat, is to seal it inside a ziploc bag with enough marinade to just cover it, then place the bag inside the refrigerator.
5.) This mixture works best if you soak the meat for at least 24 hours before cooking, so it's be sure to plan ahead a day or two.
In conclusion, I'd just like to say, my hat goes off to whoever created this recipe and I would highly recommend it to anybody. You won't be disappointed!
This recipe made a great marinade for steak, although I thought it was a bit sweet. Next time I will decrease the brown sugar to 2 T (I used a Splenda/brown sugar blend) and increase the balsamic vinegar to 4 T. I also used 1 tsp red pepper flakes and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper instead of 2 tsp of black pepper.