Coffee Dry Rub Recipe [Steak, Pork, Ribs]

By Ben Isham-Smith


This all-purpose BBQ coffee dry rub is easy to make and goes with anything. Take your barbecue steak, grilled pork chops, or spare ribs to a new level with this flavor-packed seasoning rub!

Coffee Dry Rub Recipe Steak Pork Ribs
Table Of Contents

Unlike other BBQ dry rubs that blend spicy and sweet flavors, this recipe works in an unexpected ingredient to apply some deep and savory notes to the mix: Coffee.

This might seem like an unusual ingredient, but it just so happens that coffee has been used in dry rubs for decades. In fact, it’s even said that cowboys on the trail would rub their steaks with ground coffee for a bit of punch. I think they were on to something because this rub is a game-changer for barbecue meat.

bbq beef steak coffee dry rub seasoning recipe

The deep and earthy coffee flavors make this seasoning for beef, like New York strip steak or reverse-seared flank. Despite what you might think, the soft bitter notes in coffee aren’t too strong, and the robust flavors of beef stand up to it well.

Coffee has become my default seasoning when I’m cooking beef at the last minute. Best of all, it can be used for both grilling and smoking, thanks to the coffee granules’ robust nature.

grilled beef steak with coffee dry rub cooked on

Like with other dry rub seasonings, you can make this as and when you need it (it only takes a couple of minutes), or you can make a batch and store it away. If you go for the latter, you’ll need an airtight container to keep it in. These glass spice jars on Amazon are a great place to start (affiliate link).

coffee dry rub seasoning applied liberally to raw beef steak before grilling
Quick Tip

Use instant coffee granules instead of fresh grounds. They might not taste as nice in your cup of morning coffee, but instant coffee is made to better withstand high cooking temperatures. This means they won’t turn as bitter when cooked, and won’t burn as easily.

While a lot of dry rub recipes out there are made with a complicated mishmash of ingredients, I prefer to keep things simple. A good herb or spice seasoning should enhance – and not mask – your barbecued meat.

So whole coffee might seem like a bold ingredient to use, it’s simply to elevate the flavor of our beef or pork. And it does a mighty fine job of it too.

The flavor of most barbecue rubs will change after cooking, so if the blend of cinnamon and coffee seems pungent at first, don’t worry. The final result will be much more subtle, as the juices in the meat will mix with the ingredients and crystalize in the heat.

close-up of grilled beef steak seared with coffee dry rub seasoning applied before cooking
bbq beef steak coffee dry rub seasoning recipe

Coffee Dry Rub

4.64 from 11 votes
This all-purpose BBQ dry rub is easy to make and goes with anything. Take your barbecue steak, grilled pork chops, or spare ribs to a new level with this flavor-packed seasoning rub!
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Prep Time2 minutes
Total Time2 minutes
Course: Dry Rub, Seasoning
Cuisine: American, BBQ
Servings: 1 cup
Calories: 9kcal


  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp ground coffee
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp crushed black peppercorns


  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl
  • Use immediately or store in an airtight container
  • Apply liberally to meat, on all sides


Serving: 10g | Calories: 9kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.4g | Sodium: 1081mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 2.2g | Calcium: 5mg

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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