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Bold and flavorful, Coffee Rubbed Steak is sure to satisfy the most avid beef lover. Combine freshly ground dark roast coffee beans with a few savory spices to create a steak rub that elicits a pleasing smoky, earthy taste.

Not just for ribeyes, this coffee rub quickly gives any steak, pork, or even lamb, a unique flavor boost. The coffee tannins intermix with the juices in the meat, help to create a nice crust during grilling, and act as a meat tenderizer, too.

coffee rubbed steak sliced on a gray plate

Coffee Rubbed Steak

Several years ago, my hubby and I were enjoying a date night at Frankie Bones restaurant while on vacation in Hilton Head. John ordered the coffee marinated ribeye and never stopped talking about how much he enjoyed that steak.

Fast forward until last weekend, and we finally grilled a coffee rubbed steak that was equally delicious AND easy to prepare. Win, win!

Need inspiration for Valentine Day’s Dinner at home?

coffee rub in a bowl on a wooden table

Coffee, tannins, and steak

Like red wine and dark chocolate, coffee naturally contains tannins, a biomolecule that binds to protein and results in a bitter flavor. The tannins work to soften the fat in the steaks, like a tenderizer, and works to release more of the meat’s flavor.

Coffee rubbed steak doesn’t take on the flavor of coffee, but instead permeates the meat to create a slightly spicy, earthy taste.

My husband commented that eating a coffee rub steak reminded him of sitting around the campfire, which is one of his favorite things to do so this was a big compliment!

spices and dark roast coffee beans on a wooden table with 2 ribeye steaks, prepping for dry rub

Coffee rub ingredients

  • Dark-roast coffee beans — start with a good quality coffee bean and grind them yourself for the best flavor. In a pinch, you can also use espresso ground coffee, but never use instant coffee granules in this coffee rub recipe.
  • Ground cumin — or grind whole toasted cumin seeds
  • Ancho chili powder
  • Sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
step by step process shots for applying coffee rub to steak

How to prep coffee rubbed ribeyes

  1. Trim any fat on sides of the steaks to 1/4-inch to avoid flare ups during cooking. Lightly brush the steaks with olive oil on all sides.
  2. Use a coffee grinder to finely grind the coffee beans. Pour the ground coffee into a small bowl and stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Evenly apply the dry rub mixture to all sides of the meat, gently rubbing it into the meat.
  4. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Grilling steaks over indirect heat

  1. Preheat a gas grill to high heat, about 500 degrees. Turn off one burner and place the steaks on this section of the grill.
  2. Close the lid and cook the steaks for 2 minutes on each side.
  3. Transfer the steaks to the other side of the grill over direct heat. Continue cooking another 2 minutes per side for medium or adjust cooking times for desired temperature.
  4. Remove the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
coffee rubbed steak on a gray plate on a wooden table

Pro tips

  • Rubs can be applied just before grilling or up to 2 hours in advance.
  • Trim any visible fat on the sides of the steak to about 1/4-inch to help prevent flare-ups.
  • Apply rub evenly to ALL sides of the beef.
  • Allowing the steaks to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling means the interior of the steaks will cook more evenly and stay juicier.
  • If steaks are grilled over direct heat that is too high, the exterior will become charred and overcooked before the interior is cooked.
  • To test the doneness of the steak, use the touch test (see below) or insert an instant-read thermometer horizontally into the side so it penetrates the center of the steak, not touching bone or fat.
  • To ensure the delicious juices remain inside the steak, always let the steak rest after removing them from the grill for a few minutes before slicing.

Touch test guide

You can gently press tongs into the cooked steak to determine its doneness with this touch test guide. To be totally accurate, use a quick read digital thermometer.

  • RARE: 120°F – cool, bright red center and soft to the touch
  • MEDIUM RARE: 130°F – warm, red center and beginning to firm up with red juices
  • MEDIUM: 145-155°F – slightly pink center, completely firm with brown juices
  • WELL DONE: 155-160°F – very little or no pink, firm to the touch
sliced coffee rubbed steak on a gray plate on a wooden table with a cast iron bowl of mushrooms

Most of the time when we grill steaks, I opt for a petite filet mignon, but with this unique coffee dry rub, a ribeye seemed a good choice. That being said, if you think a ribeye steak is too fatty—umm… that’s where the flavor comes from though—these other cuts of beef work for this recipe just as well.

  • Ribeye steak — bone in or boneless — choose a steak with good marbling
  • T-Bone steak — also very flavorful
  • New York strip steak — a firmer steak
  • Tenderloin steak — commonly known as filet mignon, and the most tender cut
  • Flat iron steak — full of flavor, but be careful not to overcook it.

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coffee rubbed steak sliced on a gray plate

Coffee Rubbed Ribeye Steak

Combine freshly ground dark roast coffee beans with a few savory spices to create a steak rub that elicits a pleasing smoky, earthy taste.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Additional Time 30 mins
Total Time 48 mins
Course Beef
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 285 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 8-oz. ribeye steaks 1-inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Coffee Rub

  • 2 tablespoons coffee beans dark-roast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions
 

Prep the steaks

  • Trim any fat on sides of the steaks to 1/4-inch to avoid flare ups during cooking. Lightly brush the steaks with olive oil on all sides.
  • Use a coffee grinder to finely grind the coffee beans. Pour the ground coffee into a small bowl and stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper. Evenly apply the dry rub mixture to all sides of the meat, gently rubbing it into the meat. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Grill the steaks over indirect heat

  • Preheat a gas grill to high heat, about 500 degrees. Turn off one burner and place the steaks on this section of the grill.
  • Close the lid and cook the steaks for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Transfer the steaks to the other side of the grill over direct heat. Continue cooking another 2 minutes per side for medium or adjust cooking times for desired temperature.
  • Remove the steaks to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

Original rub recipe by Weber’s Way to Grill

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 18gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 1099mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5g
Keyword beef, coffee beans, dry rub, grilling, ribeye, steak
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.

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