Top-down view of smoked steak with BBQ sauce

How to Season Steak with Cocoa Powder for a Delicious Chocolate Twist

Chocolate and steak sound like two ingredients that shouldn’t be close together in a sentence. They appear more like bookends to a romantic evening that starts with a box of chocolate-covered strawberries and ends with a candlelit steak dinner. Yet, when combined, they actually make an incredible meal. For the best chocolate-covered steak, opt for some dry cocoa powder.

The richness of both chocolate and steak is what makes them work so well together. The combo is for people who prefer red wine over white or sip black coffee instead of a latte. It’s this intensity that makes natural cocoa powder the best choice for steak. It’s undiluted and devoid of the extra additions that other kinds of chocolate have. Sure, all chocolate is rich, but cocoa powder’s flavor is deep, almost earthy. It’s more bitter than dark chocolate, yet lacks a lot of the sweetness. 

Possessing a full-bodied flavor that almost tastes straight from the cocoa pod, it also infuses steak with a woodsy quality. Taste aside, cocoa powder can easily be added to steak thanks to its dry, fine texture. It also doesn’t need to be melted first, cutting down on overall cooking time. Sprinkle cocoa powder on as a finishing touch before cooking the steak, rub it on prior to grilling, or mix it into your batch of first-class steak seasoning for a deeper flavor.

What’s the best way to prepare steak and chocolate?

Top-down view of raw steaks with cocoa powder and aromatics

Although braising is typically a great way to imbue steak with a ton of flavor, it doesn’t work as well when cocoa powder is added to the mix. When baking, cocoa powder is often put through a process called “blooming,” in which it’s steeped in a hot liquid to draw out its flavor. When left too long, the cocoa powder can easily turn bitter, making the long, simmering process of braising a bad choice.

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If you still like the tenderness of steak when braised, make a chocolate sauce to spoon over it once it’s cooked. After searing your steak in a pan, remove it and add a solution of red wine, cocoa powder, flour, and broth in its stead. The velvety rich sauce is the perfect addition to braised coconut beef ribs or steak tenderloin.

Grilling is also a great option for chocolate-smothered steak. Rather than making a sauce, whip up a dry rub with cocoa powder and brown sugar. You can also include chili powder for some heat. On the grill, the sugars crystallize and the cocoa powder takes on a smoky, woodsy flavor. Serve the sweet and savory dish with a side of roasted curry carrots and mint vinaigrette for some cooling relief.

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