The online magazine
dedicated to the
discussion & revival
of British foodways.


Elisabeth Ayrton’s own recipe for grilled steak with black coffee.

These steaks actually are broiled. For reasons obscure, however, the British have abandoned their accurate old term for the ambiguous ‘grill.’ Proportions are for one steak per person.


-5 oz good strong coffee
-juice of ½ lemon
-1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper
-a good steak of your choice
-2 oz soft but not melted unsalted butter
-1 Tablespoon cornstarch
-about 1½ Tablespoons cold water


  1. Combine the coffee, lemon juice, salt and pepper, then marinate the steak(s) for at least an hour and for as long as four.
  2. Mix the cornstarch and cold water, bring the marinade to a boil and whisk the wet cornstarch into the pot. Keep the sauce warm.
  3. Spread the butter over the meat and broil the steaks; we insist on blood rare.
  4. Remove the steak(s) from the oven pan (obviously) and deglaze it with the coffee sauce, scraping up all of the debris from the beef.
  5. Pour a good spoonful of sauce over each steak and serve the rest in a sauceboat or pitcher.


-This is one of those rare instances where broiling a steak works better than frying or grilling over charcoal.

-For a slightly sweetened edge, substitute a Tablespoon of coffee syrup for the cornstarch and water. Both Dave’s and Autocrat are excellent products available online.

-Oddly enough, this is the prolific Mrs. Ayrton’s only original recipe for broiled, or grilled, steak. She has chosen, or invented, well. From The Cookery of England (London 1974)

-Mrs. Aytron bastes her steak with some of the marinade twice while under the broiler/grill. We do not see the point and anyway prefer a crispy crust.