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posted October 16, 2023

Coffee Rubbed Steak

If choosing between juicy, savory steak or something a little more spicy is just too hard, this coffee rubbed steak is the answer. The coffee brings out the rich, earthy flavor of the beef while creating a nice crust. And a hint of cayenne adds just the right amount of heat.

Sliced and whole coffee rubbed steaks on black cutting board.

Homemade Coffee Rub

My homemade coffee rub showcases some of the best parts of beef without tasting like a cup of coffee. It’s going to give an overall richness to your steak, while bringing out the natural, earthiness. It will have a slight bitter flavor that will compliment your steak rather than overwhelm it.

Raw steaks on cutting board being sprinkled with coffee rub.

Is coffee rub good on steak?

Coffee rub isn’t good on steak, it’s amazing, and for a couple different reasons. First, the acidity of the coffee is going to help tenderize your steak throughout the cooking process. And it’s going  do so without overpowering the natural, beefy flavor. This is going to ensure you have a moist and tender inside with every bite.

Second, when searing your steaks at the end of this process, the coffee rub is going to caramelize and give you a nice, crusty bark on the outside. Using instant coffee rather than coffee grinds will help you avoid an overly bitter flavor when cooking this hot. And because the rub has no sugar, you don’t have to worry about over-caramelization.

Coffee rub in metal bowl next to raw steaks.

Does it have caffeine?

If you’re afraid you’re going to be up all night after eating a steak covered in coffee rub, you can literally rest assured that won’t happen. The caffeine is going to burn off during the cooking process, similar to cooking with alcohol. You can always use a decaf version if you’re too concerned about it. Personally, I can think of worse things than staying up to relive the moist, savory coffee rubbed steak all over again.

How to Make a Coffee Rubbed Steak

  1. Preheat. Turn on or light your preferred grill. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees F. You’re going to be using a two-zone cooking process. First using indirect heat to cook through, and then direct heat to give your steaks a perfect seared finish.
  2. Make the seasoning. Combine all ingredients for the coffee rub in a small bowl. You can use my easy-to-follow recipe for homemade coffee rub. You may find you want move your heat level up or down, and you can do so by adjusting the amount of cayenne. Feel free to get creative with your spices once you feel comfortable with the base recipe.
  3. Season. It’s time to get steaks out of the refrigerator for seasoning. Sprinkle a nice, even layer of your coffee rub onto your steak on both sides. Make sure to massage it in so it sticks to the steak. The salt will pull some moisture from the steak and that will combine with the dissolving instant coffee grounds so it all costs the steak evenly. The rub is going to help tenderize your steaks as they cook.
  4. Grill the steaks. Place the seasoned steaks on the indirect heat side of the grill.  The goal here is to allow your steaks to cook through. You don’t need to worry about the outside as much because I’ll be teaching you how to give them a final sear for a nice crust. Cooking through will take about 15 minutes for steaks roughly 1.5 inches thick.
  5. Check the temperature. You don’t want the internal temperature of your steaks to be completely done because we want to move them to direct heat for that final sear, and you want to allow some room for carryover cooking while you let them rest.  For this step, you’re looking to reach an internal temp of 115 degrees F for a rare steak, 125 degrees F for medium-rare, 135 degrees F for medium, 145 degrees F for medium-well, and 155 degrees F for well done.
  6. Sear. Once your steaks reaches your desired target temperature, move them immediately over to the high, direct heat side of the grill. You want to give this a minute or 2 to develop that beautiful outer crust, flip it over, and repeat on the other side. One of the benefits of using a coffee rub is that it will give you this delicious, caramelized crust on the outside while giving you a moist, tender cut inside.
  7. Rest then serve. This step is last, but certainly not least. The last thing you want to do is try to slice too early and ruin an otherwise gorgeous cut of beef. Allowing your steak to rest for  5 minutes will make it easier to cut into beautiful pieces, as well asl ensure doneness.

Coffee rubbed steak cooking on grill grates.

More Coffee Inspired Recipes

If you like this coffee rubbed steak, check out some more of my coffee-infused beef favorites here:

Coffee rubbed steaks cooking on grill grates.

Coffee Rubbed Steak Recipe

Follow the recipe and I’ll walk you step-by-step through making this mouthwatering steak at home right in your own backyard. To discover more amazing rubs and sauces, as well in-depth how to courses for all your favorite meats, head over to The Grill Squad.

Sliced and whole coffee rubbed steaks on black cutting board.

Coffee Rubbed Steak

Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)
If you just can’t choose between juicy, savory steak or something a little more spicy, this coffee rubbed steak is the answer.
Prep Time : 15 mins
Cook Time : 15 mins
Resting Time : 5 mins
Total Time : 35 mins
Servings : 4 people
Calories : 515kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 steaks (ribeye, NY strip, filet, about 1.5 inches thick)

Homemade Coffee Rub

  • 2 Tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2 Tablespoons instant coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne

Instructions

  • Preheat. Turn on or light your preferred grill. Preheat the grill to 450 degrees F for two-zone cooking.
  • Make the seasoning. Combine all ingredients for the coffee rub in a small bowl.
    2 Tablespoons coarse salt, 2 Tablespoons instant coffee, 2 Tablespoons garlic powder, 2 Tablespoons smoked paprika, 1 Tablespoon pepper, 1 Tablespoon crushed coriander, 1 Tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • Season. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and season on both sides with the coffee rub.
    4 steaks
  • Grill the steaks. Place the seasoned steaks on the indirect heat side of the grill, flipping after 15 minutes.
  • Check the temperature. You want your steaks to reach the internal temperature for your desired doneness before moving onto the next step, following the temperatures in the notes section below.
  • Sear. Once your steaks hit your desired target temperature, move them immediately over to the high, direct heat side of the grill. Sear over high heat, flipping after a nice crust has developed. Cook until your steaks reach your desired internal doneness, following the temperatures in the notes section below.
  • Rest then serve. Rest your steaks for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Notes

Initial Cook
  • Rare – 115 degrees F
  • Medium Rare – 125 degrees F
  • *Medium – 135 degrees F
  • Medium Well – 145 degrees F
  • Well Done – 155 degrees F
 
Final Sear
  • Rare – 125 degrees F
  • Medium Rare – 135 degrees F
  • *Medium – 145 degrees F
  • Medium Well – 155 degrees F
  • Well Done – 160 degrees F
  • * I do not recommend cooking most steaks above Medium. They’ll begin to get tougher past medium and they lose major juiciness.

Nutrition

Calories: 515kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 3622mg | Potassium: 897mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2048IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 6mg
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