This all-purpose homemade coffee spice rub recipe is our all-time favorite dry rub that we use on everything. It's earthy, flavorful, and great to use on grilled meat or vegetables. Easy to make and you can double, triple, or quadruple the recipe so that you only need to make it once and have plenty leftover.
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What does Coffee Dry Rub Tastes Like?
Coffee rub doesn't actually taste like coffee. It has a dark earthy flavor combined with a nice balance of garlic and onion notes with a background flavor of cumin. This coffee rub recipe is low in sugar and salt so that you don't get an overly salty or overly sweet result, which won't overpower your BBQ sauces. We added a bit of cayenne for a spicy kick but that is completely optional and can be omitted.
Coffee Rub Uses
This is a very versatile coffee rub seasoning. You can use this on ribs, chicken, beef, pork, lamb - pretty much anything!
It is also not limited to just grilling. I have used this rub on chicken and pork that I have roasted in the oven and it turned out just as fantastic.
- Beef - Whenever I make grilled ribeye steaks, I will always use this coffee rub as a quick way to flavor it easily without overpowering it. It also works well with beef ribs and brisket as well.
- Pork - It works beautifully on pork chops, any type of pork shoulder roasts for pulled pork, and any type of back or side pork ribs! I like to use it a lot whenever I make my sweet and sticky cola ribs!
- Chicken/Turkey - It's delicious on whole roasted chicken, chicken legs, thighs, and drums. Whenever I want to make a small batch of turkey during the holidays, I will use this rub to make my honey butter oven-roasted turkey thighs!
- Lamb - If you're thinking of grilling a whole leg of lamb or even lamb chops, this coffee rub will definitely add a lot of flavor to it.
- Vegetables - Any type of root vegetables that are roasted in the oven or on the grill is fantastic with this coffee rub.
Coffee Rub Ingredients
- Coffee - For this coffee spice blend, I like to use medium ground dark roast coffee for this spice rub. You can also use instant coffee. For more details about the types of coffee to use, read the section below.
- Garlic and Onion Powder - A lot of flavors come from these 2 spices. If you want a bit more texture, you can also use dehydrated onion flakes as well.
- Paprika - This gives the rub a bit of earthy flavor and color. You can also use smoked paprika for this as well.
- Ground Cumin - This is one of the major ingredients that give this rub a well-rounded flavor and balances out the coffee with the rest of the ingredients. If you are using whole cumin, toast it first and then grind it up into a powder.
- Salt and Brown Sugar - I don't use a lot of sugar and salt in this rub. I use just enough to balance out the sweet and savory flavor but not enough to overpower any bbq sauces to make it overly salty or sweet.
- Cayenne - This ingredient is optional for a bit of a spicy flavor
How Fine do you Ground Up the Coffee?
This one is a personal preference but I'll list off some of our findings.
FINE GROUND - We found that grinding it up too finely, made it stick to the meat *too* much and it doesn't give the other spices a chance to latch on to the meat since it falls right off because the fine coffee kind of just takes over.
MEDIUM GROUND - Just right. Has enough surface area to have a subtle coffee, and earthy flavor. It also matches the consistency of the other spices. This is our preference.
COARSE GROUND - Not enough surface area for flavor and doesn't stick to the meat as well since it sticks on last because of the size. Depending on how coarse you grind it up you may even start noticing that you are actually chewing on the grounds and having them stuck to your teeth.
You can use any type of coffee for this rub (light, medium, or dark roast) but the darker the roast, the stronger the flavor. I find the best coffee to make coffee rub out of is a medium ground dark roast.
Do not use any type of flavored coffee unless "Creme Brulee Toffee" chicken is totally your thing. 🙂
- To make this an even simpler and quicker rub, you can use pre-ground or instant coffee for this recipe.
- You can double, triple, or quadruple this recipe and make a big batch so that you can easily always have a spice rub available.
- Store this coffee rub away from direct sunlight in an airtight container. I like to use mason jars to store it. It can keep for up to 6 months.
How to Make a Coffee BBQ Rub
- Grind up the coffee (or use pre-ground coffee, or instant coffee)
- In a small bowl, mix the spices and the ground coffee together, and use a utensil to break up any lumps!
- If you make a large batch, keep it in a well-sealed container and store it in a cool dry spot away from sunlight.
Unfortunately, no. Once the coffee grinds have been brewed, it loses a lot of flavors so it will not add anything to a coffee spice rub.
Yes, you definitely can!
Keep it in a well-sealed container and store it in a cool dry spot away from sunlight. For the best flavor, it keeps for about 2-3 months.
Recipes that Use Coffee Rub
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Homemade Coffee Rub Recipe
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- Do not use pre-used coffee grounds, it doesn't have any flavor
- This recipe scales very well, create more to have it on hand to easily have it available
- Store this in an air-tight container for 2-3 months.
- If you don't want to grind fresh coffee beans, you can use pre-ground coffee or instant coffee.
- Combine together in a large bowl and mix.
- Store in a well sealed container away from direct sunlight. Sunlight damages spices and takes away the flavour with time.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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