It's widely accepted by now that the reverse sear method of cooking steak is one of the best ways to achieve a perfectly cooked, juicy steak with a crusty exterior. It works especially well for thick cuts of meat like ribeye steaks, and those with dry rub seasonings. This Coffee Rubbed Steak Recipe gives you the perfect opportunity to utilize the reverse sear method for a fool-proof, delicious ribeye every time.
Many people are hesitant to rub coffee grounds all over a beautiful, sometimes expensive, ribeye steak. But I can assure you that this coffee rub does not overpower the natural flavor of the steak. In fact, it enhances it. The subtle taste of coffee on a steak actually makes it taste more "steaky."
Plus, once you combine the ground coffee with the other spices in the dry rub, it'll taste perfectly-balanced and well-rounded, without any one spice overpowering the others. Serve your Coffee Rubbed Ribeye with a light crunchy salad such as this Spicy Cucumber Salad to really counteract all the richness in the steak.
How to make Reverse-Seared Coffee Rubbed Steak
I think people can get a little overwhelmed by the idea of making their own dry rubs, and maybe even by the term "reverse sear." But both are so simple.
Reverse Sear simply means to cook a steak slowly in the oven until it reaches the desired temperature. Then sear it quickly on the stovetop just until crusty all over. It's the best way to achieve an evenly cooked interior and crusty exterior.
Food expert J. Kenji Lopez Alt coined this method, which has since become widely accepted as an excellent method for cooking thick cuts of meat. You can learn more about the method here.
For the Reverse-Seared Steak
- 1 Ribeye Steak 1-2 lbs
- Kosher Salt (1 teaspoon per pound of steak)
For the Coffee Spice Rub
- Coffee grounds. Freshly ground whole beans are always ideal, but pre-ground or instant coffee granules / instant espresso also work
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chili powder
- Cinnamon (trust me on this one!)
- Dry Oregano
See recipe card for quantities
Step 1: Dry brine the steak. Assuming you'll want to eat your steak for dinner, I recommend dry brining it as soon as you get up in the morning. To dry brine a steak means to coat it in salt so as to draw out some of its water content.
Leave the steak uncovered on a wire rack in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but up to 24. The water that comes out of the steak evaporates into your fridge, and the steak's surface becomes nicely seasoned and dry. A dry exterior is always ideal for developing crust around the meat.
Step 2: Make the coffee spice rub. Simply combine coffee grinds, pepper, chili powder, paprika, cinnamon and dry oregano in a small bowl and set it aside.
Step 3: Cook the steak. After a minimum of 4 hours in the fridge, remove the steak from the refrigerator, coat it in the coffee spice rub, and place it in a 275 degree Fahrenheit oven. You can cook the steak on the same wire rack set above a foil-lined baking sheet until the internal temperature reaches ~120-125 degrees fahrenheit for a perfect medium rare. USE A THERMOMETER
Step 4: Sear the steak. Transfer the cooked ribeye to a cutting board until you're ready to sear it. I recommend completing this final step of searing the steak right before you're ready to eat it. To a smoking hot cast iron skillet, add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter and sear the steak for a minute on each side. Try to get the edges too.
Remove the finished coffee rubbed ribeye from the skillet, slice, and enjoy!
- I should note that you can make a reverse seared coffee rubbed steak recipe with other cuts too. Use the same instructions and ingredients to make a coffee rubbed New York strip or Tomahawk steak.
- You can even use the recipe to make pork chops, lamb, or any other thick cut of meat. The thicker the cut of meat, the longer it will take, so make sure to use a meat thermometer.
- If using this rub to make smaller cuts of meat like flank or skirt steak, the reverse sear method is NOT necessary. Instead, just sear these cuts in a cast iron skillet until cooked to your desired temperature. Thinner steaks only cook for a few minutes son each side. You can read more about searing a flank steak here.
Spicy: Though this coffee rub has a lot of spices, it's not a spicy rub. It has more warm notes than spicy ones. If you want to kick it up a notch, add a pinch, ¼ teaspoon of cayenne to the spice rub. That should add a little spicy flavor without overpowering the rest of the flavors.
Grilled Coffee Rubbed Steak: To reverse sear a steak on the grill, make sure you have a grill that can hold a low temperature, 275 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. On a gas grill, this is best achieved using just 1 zone and cooking the steak over a different, un-lit zone.
Cook until the steak reaches 115F for medium rare. You'll notice this temperature is lower than in the oven because the next step, grill-searing, takes a little longer than pan searing (1 minute more per side) and will heat the steak through more than it would on the stove. Remove the steak, turn the flame way up, and sear the steak for about 2 minutes per side.
What to Serve it with
As with any thick cut of meat, this rich coffee rubbed steak steak recipe benefits from light crunchy side dishes that will cut through the meatiness. Any of the following will do.
- Arugula Pasta Salad
- Arugula Citrus Salad
- Italian Tomato Salad
- Bell Pepper Salad
- Spicy Cucumber Salad
- Cabbage Apple Salad
Does Coffee Rubbed Steak taste like coffee?
The short answer is no, not quite. Coffee brings out the natural umami, meatiness and of steak. It's similar to how salt makes food taste more like itself.
Plus, this coffee chili rubbed steak has more spices than just coffee, so the spice rub really blends together to create a well rounded taste.
- One Ribeye steak, at least 1 pound (½ pound per person as a main entree)
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of steak
- 1 Tablespoon of coffee grinds
- 1 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of chili powder
- ½ teaspoon of dry oregano
- ½ teaspoon of paprika
- ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Coat the steak in the kosher salt, then place it on a wire rack set over a plate or baking sheet and place it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, but up to 24.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the coffee grinds, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, paprika, and cinnamon.
- When you're ready to start cooking the steak, preheat the oven to 275, remove the steak from the refrigerator, and coat the steak in the coffee spice rub. (Note 1)
- Keep the steak on the wire rack and cook it in the oven for about 1 hour, or until the steak reaches an internal temperature of 120-125 degreesss Fahrenheit. You'll need a meat thermometer to know for sure!
- Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet until it's very hot. Sear the steak all over until a crust forms. This shouldn't take longer than 1 minute per side. I like to turn the steak on its fat cap and sear that too.
- Slice and serve.
Note 1: For a 1-pound steak, you'll be left with a little excess spice rub. This recipe makes enough rub for up to a 2-pound steak.
Keywords: coffee rubbed steak recipe, coffee rubbed steak, coffee rubbed ribeye, coffee chili rubbed steak