Flavorful Coffee Rub Recipe for Your Next BBQ

Good day, coffee lovers! As a coffee aficionado, it’s only natural that I experiment with my love for coffee to other aspects of my life – including my culinary flair. That’s why I bring to you an exciting new recipe that combines two of the world’s most beloved things – coffee and protein.

Coffee rub has taken the food world by storm in recent years, and with very good reason. The unique richness and smoky flavor notes that coffee brings to meats like beef, pork, and even poultry are unparalleled in taste. With its slightly spicy and brown sugary undertones, it creates irresistible flavor depth that can only be described as heavenly.

This homemade coffee rub recipe is easy to make and uses ingredients that you might already have in your pantry or spice cabinet. Finely ground dark roast coffee beans lend a smoky sweet flavor while ancho chile powder and black pepper provide a spicy kick, creating the perfect combination of bold yet balanced flavors. Whether you are grilling up a juicy steak, roasting beef brisket, or cooking your favorite chicken dish, this coffee rub is sure to impress your taste buds.

So what are you waiting for? Put on your apron, grab your ingredients, and let’s get started on making the perfect savory blend of coffee spice rub that you can use on any protein recipe that will make you feel like a master chef!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Coffee Rub for Any Protein
Coffee Rub for Any Protein

Have you ever tasted a perfectly seasoned and juicy steak that just melts in your mouth? If not, then you are missing out on one of the greatest pleasures of life. But worry no more, because I have just the recipe for you – coffee rub!

Now, you may be wondering why coffee would be a good seasoning for meat. But trust me, once you try this rub, you’ll never want to go back to plain old salt and pepper. The combination of spicy ancho chile powder, smoky paprika, and sweet brown sugar with the richness of coffee creates a flavor explosion that is sure to please your taste buds.

One of the reasons why you’ll love this recipe is because it’s incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients from your pantry – like ground ginger, dried oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder – and some finely ground dark roast coffee, you can whip up a batch of this homemade smoky and sweet coffee rub in no time.

Another great thing about this recipe is its versatility. Coffee rub works with any protein – whether it’s beef brisket, pork chops, chicken breasts, or even tofu. You can use it as a dry rub on the surface of your protein before cooking or marinate your meats for a few hours or overnight for maximum flavor.

And let’s talk about the health benefits of coffee rub. Not only does it add amazing flavor to your dishes, but it also comes with many health benefits. Coffee has been linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver disease and certain cancers. Plus, using coffee grounds is a sustainable way to reuse materials instead of throwing them away.

In conclusion, whether you’re looking for something new to grill up or wanting to impress your friends with your flavorful culinary skills, this coffee rub recipe is the perfect addition to all home cooks’ repertoire. Trust me when I say, once you try it, you’ll never go back to boring seasoning again!

Ingredient List

 This coffee rub is a game-changer for any protein dish!
This coffee rub is a game-changer for any protein dish!

Ingredient List

This recipe is all about the coffee rub, and there are a variety of ingredients that make it flavorful and aromatic. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this delicious coffee rub recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons finely ground dark roast coffee
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or erythritol
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

These ingredients will be used to create the homemade coffee rub for your chosen protein.

The Recipe How-To

 Elevate your BBQ game with this rich and flavorful coffee rub.
Elevate your BBQ game with this rich and flavorful coffee rub.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients for our coffee rub recipe, it’s time to bring everything together into a delicious mix. Here are the steps on how to make your own homemade coffee rub:

Step 1: Prep Your Ingredients

Before starting, measure out all the ingredients accurately and prepare them for mixing. Be sure to double-check your measurements, so as to obtain accurate and consistent results.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

In a medium-sized bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, and 2 tablespoons of dried ancho chile powder.

Add in 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of dry mustard, 1 tablespoon of garlic powder, and 2 teaspoons each of ground ginger, dried oregano, ground coriander, and onion powder.

Step 3: Add In the Coffee

Fold in ¼ cup of finely ground dark roast coffee beans into the spice mix. Ensure that your coffee grounds are as fresh as can be so as not to compromise the flavor.

Step 4: Mix Everything Together Well!

Thoroughly stir all ingredients together with a fork or small whisk until completely combined.

Step 5: Rub It On!

Generously sprinkle or rub the coffee spice mix over your desired meat cut evenly on both sides. Make sure to press firmly onto the meat to ensure maximum flavor absorption.

This easy-to-follow method lays out exactly what you need to do when creating a homemade coffee rub recipe. It offers 4 tablespoons of brown sugar and freshly brewed coffee grounds that meld together with smoky sweet paprika for a slightly spicy taste. Making your own rub steak has never been easier! Don’t let anyone tell you anything else!

Substitutions and Variations

 Who needs salt and pepper when you have coffee grounds?
Who needs salt and pepper when you have coffee grounds?

When it comes to making a coffee rub, the spice mixture is entirely up to your own preferences. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try:

– Spicier Rub: If you like your rubs hot, add more ancho chile powder or ground black pepper. You can also add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat.

– Smokier Rub: For a smokier flavor, replace some of the paprika with smoked paprika or add a teaspoon of liquid smoke.

– Sweeteners: Instead of dark brown sugar or regular sugar, you can use other sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup. Just keep in mind that liquid sweeteners may make the rub clump together, so use them sparingly.

– Coffee grounds: Depending on the roast, coffee grounds can be bitter or slightly sweet. Experiment with different types to find your preferred taste. You can also try replacing some of the coffee with cocoa powder for a mocha flavor.

– Salt: Kosher salt works best for dry rubs, but if you don’t have any on hand you can substitute with table salt or sea salt. Just be aware that table salt is more salty than kosher salt, so adjust accordingly.

– Herbs and spices: The suggested herbs and spices are just a starting point – feel free to experiment with different amounts or substitutions. For example, you could replace the oregano with thyme or rosemary, or add a pinch of ground cinnamon for warmth.

Remember, the beauty of a homemade coffee rub is that you can customize it to your heart’s content. If you discover a blend that you love, jot down the ingredients and their measurements so that you can recreate it exactly next time.

Serving and Pairing

 A delicious blend of spices and java to enhance the natural flavors of your meat.
A delicious blend of spices and java to enhance the natural flavors of your meat.

Once you’ve rubbed your protein with this flavorful coffee rub, it’s time to decide what to serve it with! The smoky-sweet flavor of the rub pairs well with a variety of sides and drinks.

If you’re making beef or pork, try pairing it with some roasted sweet potatoes or garlic mashed potatoes. The sweetness of the potatoes complements the slightly spicy coffee flavor in the rub.

For a lighter option, a crisp green salad dressed in a balsamic vinaigrette pairs well with any protein rubbed with this coffee spice.

As for drinks, a full-bodied red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec can stand up to the bold flavors in the rub. If wine isn’t your thing, try a dark beer or even an espresso to enhance the coffee notes in the dish.

Finally, don’t forget to garnish your dish with something fresh and colorful to brighten it up. A sprinkle of chopped parsley or cilantro can add a pop of green to the plate and balance out the richness of the meat.

No matter what you choose to pair it with, this homemade smoky and sweet coffee rub is sure to elevate any meal with its unique flavor profile.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty with this finger-licking good coffee rub.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty with this finger-licking good coffee rub.

If you are like me, you enjoy meal prep that saves you time and effort. Thankfully, this Coffee Rub for Any Protein Recipe is perfect to make ahead of time. You can prepare the rub and store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

To make the most out of your rub, it’s best to apply it on the meat a few hours before cooking or overnight. This will allow the flavor of the coffee spice rub to permeate into the protein, making every bite packed with that smoky and slightly spicy flavor coffee lovers are fond of.

If leftovers happen to be there, storing them correctly will ensure that you can still savor their flavors in your next meal. Once your meal is cooked, store any unused coffee rub in an airtight glass or plastic container in a dry place.

Reheating your prepared protein is also easy. You can rehear it in a skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium heat until heated through or reheat it in the oven at 350°F until warm. However, do note that once reheated, some of its flavors may diminish.

With this recipe’s make-ahead feature, you can enjoy coffee rubbed meats whenever you crave them without wasting any precious moments preparing them from scratch. So go ahead and make a big batch of this homemade smoky coffee dry rub without worry!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The coffee adds a subtle smoky note that'll make your taste buds sing!
The coffee adds a subtle smoky note that’ll make your taste buds sing!

Creating the perfect coffee rub for any protein takes some time and practice. To ensure you get the most flavor out of your homemade coffee rub, here are some tips to help you achieve perfect results every time.

1. Use Fresh Spices

For the best flavor, use fresh spices when making your coffee rub. Over time, spices can lose their potency and flavor, making your rub less tasty. It is recommended to buy whole spices that can be ground just before using.

2. Adjust Flavors to Your Liking

The recipe provided is a great starting point for your coffee rub, but feel free to adjust flavors according to your taste preferences. If you like a smoky and slightly spicy rub, add more smoked paprika and ancho chile powder.

3. Choose the Right Coffee

The type of coffee you choose will affect the final flavor of your rub. Opt for dark roast coffee grounds as they have a rich, bold flavor that stands up well with savory spices such as coriander and cumin.

4. Rub Generously

When using a coffee rub on your protein, make sure to apply it generously on all sides of the meat. This will ensure that every bite is packed with flavor.

5. Let Meat Rest After Rubbing

After rubbing the protein with the coffee spice mixture, let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight. This will allow the flavors of the rub to penetrate throughout the meat for maximum flavor.

6. Control Temperature

When cooking meat rubbed with coffee spice, it’s crucial to control the temperature so that it doesn’t burn due to the sugar content in the rub. Use indirect heat or lower your flame to avoid charring.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving perfect results every time with your homemade smoky and sweet coffee dry rub!


As with any recipe, there may be some questions or concerns that arise when making a coffee rub for any protein recipe. In this section, I’ll address FAQ’s that may come up, such as common substitutions, the level of spiciness, and tips for cooking different types of protein with this flavorful rub. So let’s dive in and answer some questions!

Can you use coffee grounds as seasoning?

Instead of throwing away used coffee, you can repurpose it as a spice rub for your meals. By combining coffee grounds, salt, and paprika, you can create a unique seasoning that will add a burst of flavor to your dishes. Try using it to coat and flavor pork or as a rub for grilled burgers that will make them taste like steak.

What is coffee rub made of?

To create a flavorful coffee rub, combine ground coffee, paprika, granulated garlic, minced onion, brown sugar, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Thoroughly mix the ingredients together until they are fully incorporated. Apply a layer of brown spicy mustard onto the meat before rubbing on the coffee mixture. For optimal results, press down firmly on the rub to ensure it sticks to the meat.

Is coffee a good meat tenderizer?

When it comes to coffee, the acidity in it can bring out the flavors similar to how tannins enhance wine. Moreover, using coffee as a rub on steak can make the meat juicier and tender since it helps lock in the flavor and moisture.

Does coffee rubbed steak taste like coffee?

When you use coffee as a rub for steak, it doesn’t actually make the steak taste like coffee. Instead, it adds a subtle hint of spiciness and earthiness that seeps into the meat.

Bottom Line

After reading through this article about the delicious coffee rub, I hope you can see why this recipe is so easy to enjoy. Not only does it add a new level of depth and flavor to your usual protein recipes, but also it can be personalized to fit your own taste preferences.

With the simple ingredients listed above, anyone can make their very own homemade coffee rub in under 5 minutes. You’ll never have to settle for bland or boring protein dishes again. Impress your friends and family with this unique spice rub that adds both sweet and spicy notes to your dish.

I highly encourage you to give this coffee rub recipe a try today. Once you’ve tried it out, don’t hesitate to experiment with different substitutions and variations to suit your own personal preferences. Trust me, you’ll love the rich flavor and aroma that this coffee rub brings to any dish.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and show off your skills as a master of making the perfect homemade coffee rub!

Coffee Rub for Any Protein

Coffee Rub for Any Protein Recipe

I use this recipe for nice general rub on fish, pork, chicken and steak. A little spice, but not over the top and the coffee gives it an interesting twist on normal rubs.
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Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Course Seasoning
Cuisine Multi-cuisine
Servings 1 cups approximately
Calories 8.3 kcal


  • 1/4 cup dried ancho chile powder
  • 1/4 cup finely ground espresso
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar or 2 tablespoons sugar, alcohol sweetner for a keto version
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili, de arbol powder


  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  • Store in an airtight jar for use on various meats and fish.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 4gCalories: 8.3kcalCarbohydrates: 1.6gProtein: 0.3gFat: 0.3gCholesterol: 0.1mgSodium: 189.7mgFiber: 0.6gSugar: 0.8g
Keyword < 15 Mins, Easy, For Large Groups
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