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How to make steak dry rub with coffee

Looking for a good steak dry rub recipe? You’ve come to the right place. This simple steak rub is a flavor powerhouse that will transform more than just a good steak. For a spicier rub, try my Cajun seasoning.

Steak dry rub in glass jar with dried chilies in background.

Why use a rub? Granted, a good quality piece of meat requires little more than salt, pepper and a nice sear, but sometimes you want a little something extra. 

That’s where a good rub comes in. That extra boost of flavor can transform a good steak into possibly one of the BEST steaks you’ve ever had.

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The best steak dry rub

For this rub, I use dried chili peppers that I grind up in a coffee and spice grinder. It works well to grind the dried chili peppers and whole spices down into a fine, even consistency.

Steak dry rub with coffee and brown sugar spilling out of glass jar.

If you have a mini food processor, that also works well. Use whatever you have, even a mortar and pestle.

In lieu of using dried chilies, you can sub regular chili powder. If you can find dried ancho chili powder, that’s a great option.

Really LOVE this rub. Way better than anything you can buy at the store. Great combo of flavors. Reminds me of an expensive steak house!

– TK

How to apply dry rub to steak

It’s in the name – rub. It’s not called a sprinkle, it’s called a rub. You want to make sure that you get the seasoning onto the whole surface of the meat.

Apply liberally all over the steak and give it a good massage. The goal is to work it into the meat so that it stays put.

To avoid cross-contamination by dipping my fingers into a container, I like to use this shaker to apply the rub. Then, I use my other hand to rub it in. This two-handed method keeps one hand clean at all times.

How to make your own steak rub

Making your own homemade steak rub recipe not be easier. Plus, the stuff in the stores can’t even compare to this.

It is fresher and tastier than anything you’ll buy, it is less expensive and you can customize it to your specific tastes, which makes it perfect.

Ingredients for dry rub in white bowl.

Measure out all of your ingredients into a small bowl. Use fresh spices, that will make a big difference. If you have spices that have been in the back of your cabinet for years, it’s time to replace them.

Break up any lumps in the brown sugar, you don’t want big chunks of sugar in the seasoning.

Homemade steak rub recipe ingredients in shallow bowl with chilies in background.

I use a fine espresso powder for this steak rub recipe. You can see it in the front of the bowl. It is the only one I use. In my humble opinion, it’s the best one out there, and it is fine enough to become part of the seasoning. Big crystals of dried coffee would be unpleasant.

Mixing dry rub ingredients together with a whisk.

Once you’ve measured everything into the bowl, whisk the steak dry rub together and transfer into an airtight container for storing. I keep my dry rub in a glass jar for canning. It will keep for months if stored properly.

How to use steak rub

Learning how to use dry rubs is a great skill to learn for anyone who loves to BBQ. This rub is fantastic on a steak, but don’t stop there. You can use this on burgers, ribs, or in a meatloaf. I’ve even tossed chicken wings in this mixture and they were delicious.

This is a dry rub, not a dry brine. The purpose is to flavor the outside of the meat.

Tips for cooking the perfect steak

There are a few key elements to cooking the perfect steak. Keep in mind that what’s perfect for me, may not be perfect for you.

How to cook steak on the grill.

That being said, the following is important no matter what kind of steak you like or how well you like it done.

  • choosing the right cut of meat
  • cooking it properly
  • forming the crust
  • letting it rest.

Choosing your cut of steak

My favorite cut is either a ribeye or a strip steak. The ribeye is fattier, the strip is a bit leaner.

Before we proceed, a word about the steak. Fat is FLAVOR. Most people would agree that for this purpose, the ribeye rules. It is nicely marbled, meaning there are little lines of fat running throughout the meat. This will ensure a juicy steak, provided you don’t overcook it. 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get on with it. It is best to start with room temperature meat. It will cook more evenly, so take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to cook them.

Start with bone-in steaks, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 in. thick. Pat steaks dry with paper towel, rub on both sides with steak seasoning. Cook over medium-high heat until desired doneness.

Steak with cross hatch marks on grill.

For me, that is 7 – 8 minutes per side if the steak is 1 1/2 in. thick which is medium-rare. Do not stick it with a fork and please don’t slice into it while it’s on the flame.

Use a thermometer to be sure that your steak is cooked to perfection. This meat thermometer is the exact one that I own. It works like a charm and you don’t have to babysit the grill.

Once it is cooked, take the steak off of the heat and let steak rest for a few minutes before serving. This is so important, that I’ll say it again. Let the steak rest before cutting into it.

Reader Ann says “This steak rub is the BOMB! I’ll never use anything else.”


How long do you leave dry rub on steak?

You can apply dry rub right before grilling, or you can leave it on for a few hours. It’s up to you and what you prefer. I usually put it on my steaks as soon as I pull them out of the fridge as they are coming to room temp and let them sit for 30 minutes.

Should you pat steaks dry?

Yes. When you remove the steaks out of the package, you want to pat them dry before you apply the dry rub.

When should I dry rub a steak?

It is up to you when to dry rub steak. If you want to give your meat a bit more flavor, a dry rub is the perfect option.

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Yield: 3/4 cup

Steak Dry Rub

Steak Dry Rub

This simple steak dry rub is a flavor powerhouse that will transform more than just a good steak.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 3 tbsp. kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. pulverized dried chili pepper (or chile powder)
  • 2 tsp. ground coffee beans or espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard powder (Colman's)
  • 1 tsp. Spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. granulated onion


    1. In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for steak dry rub and whisk to combine thoroughly.
    2. Store in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for up to a year.


    Use fresh spices, older spices don't have much flavor and your blend will be "blah".

    If the brown sugar starts to cake up in your dry rub, break it up as best as you can. If it has become solid, it's time to make a fresh batch.

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    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:

    1 tbsp.

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 31Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1818mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

    Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

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    Originally published 9/16/12, most recent update 5/10/21.


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