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Rib-Eye Steaks Rubbed with Coffee and Cocoa


Serves 4

To match the steaks’ rich, beefy flavor, they're rubbed with a cocoa-espresso spice mix. It adds depth and a subtle bitter undertone that’s downright addictive.

  • 1 Tbs. finely ground espresso coffee beans
  • 1 Tbs. pure ancho or New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 tsp. natural cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. turbinado sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless rib-eye steaks, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches thick (about 2 lb. total)

In a small bowl, combine the espresso, chile powder, cocoa, garlic, cumin, sugar, fennel, allspice, 4 tsp. kosher salt, and 2 tsp. pepper. Rub 1-1/2 Tbs. of the mixture all over each steak. Cover and let rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Let the steaks rest before and after grilling—before so the steak isn’t refrigerator-cold when it hits the grill, and after so the juice redistributes for moist, tender steaks.

Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking over medium-high heat (400°F to 450°F).

Grill the steaks over direct heat until grill marks form on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and grill the other side for 2 minutes more. Move the steaks to indirect heat, cover, and continue to cook until the internal temperature registers 125°F degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium rare), 1 to 3 minutes more per side. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 10 minutes and then cut each steak in half and serve.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with a salad, Twice-Baked Potatoes with Crème Fraîche & Chives, and a Peach & Blueberry Crisp with Spiced-Pecan Topping for dessert.


The spice rub recipe here makes enough for 8 steaks; keep the leftover rub in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months. It's also good on pork and chicken.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 360, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 8, Protein (g): 43, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 8, Carbohydrates (mg): 2, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): .5, Sodium (g): 630, Cholesterol (g): 100, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Love this recipe! This is now my go to BBQ'd steak recipe. I make the rub up in advance so it is on hand to put on the steaks quickly. Always get rave reviews from my guests.

Love love this rub my go to rub for steaks, everyone that has had it asked for the recipe!!

Great taste. I rarely use salt with much of what I cook and I can honestly share that I don't get what the too salty reviews were about. This rub produces a great tasting steak. I'll definitely do it again. Next time, I will add a hint more cocoa and coffee. The pepper produced such a great complex flavor.

Great rub! Must be a American taste preference not to like salt but sugar. We omit the sugar in Canada. Beef requires salt to compliment it.

Great rub! Must be a American taste preference not to like salt but sugar. We omit the sugar in Canada. Beef requires salt to compliment it.

This recipe was a real disappointment - where's the flavor? Good thing that the Steak was awesome or this would have been a bit of a flop...

Way Too Salty, Cut Salt in half, and you will need to add more espresso 50%. otherwise very nice rubb!!

This is fabulous. I did cut the salt.

Far too salty. Ridiculously salty. Cut the salt in half and you might have something here, because the cocoa and espresso does indeed give a great depth to the flavor of the beef.

I thought this rub overpowered the taste of the beef when used in the amount prescribed. I may try it again but at only a fraction of the amount (maybe a third). I would only advise this as a light rub in any event.


Made this tonight; it was easy and tasty. Definitely worth making for company.

This rub makes the steak taste incredible! It is a flavor circus. Make sure you choose a great quality steak, and my only recommendation, other than "make this now", is that the salt quantity may be a little high for some tastes. Use less-you can always add later. Make sure you let that baby sit for 1 hour before cooking!

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