Flavor your steaks or other meats like cowboys on the trail with this delicious Cowboy Coffee Rub based on what they might have in the chuckwagon—a surprisingly delightful rub for a change of pace steak, pork chop, or other grilled meat.
When I first saw this recipe, I thought how strange and was thinking about coffee grounds.
I read Bobby Fray, Ellie Krieger, Emeril, Food Network, Epicurious, and many blogs. They were not even close to each other; each was the best thing since sliced bread, and most had many ingredients that would not be on a chuckwagon.
The idea grew on me. I combined all my research and limited the ingredients to the few that could be had on the trail. You will taste some coffee, some garlic, and sugar. Give it a try—for a wonderful surprise.
Check out these other grilled steak recipes where you might use this rub, like Marinated Sirloin Steak, Grilled Strip Steak, Grilled Filet Mignon, and Grilled T-bone or Porterhouse Steak. And don't miss trying it on pork, like Grilled Pork Chops or Grilled Pork Tenderloin.
Ingredients for Cowboy Coffee Rub
- Coffee rub
- finely ground coffee
- brown sugar
- garlic powder
- kosher salt, and black pepper
- Sirloin steaks—for example only, try any steak, pork, or other grilled meat recipe.
👨🍳 How to Make Cowboy Coffee Rub with Grilled Sirloin Steak
- Mix cowboy rub of freshly finely ground coffee, brown sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper.
- Pat dry trimmed steak and rub on a moderate coat of the coffee rub. Let set while preheat the grill on high heat.
- Grill over high heat, flipping every 4-5 minutes until internal temp of 140°-145°—about 9-12 minutes.
☕ What is Cowboy Coffee Rub
Coffee-rubbed steak is a classic American food. The Cowboys didn't have lots of ingredients. That's why they used coffee for flavor.
I wanted a very simple version of a coffee rub. The simplest versions were coffee with salt and pepper and maybe one or two other ingredients. They would have sugar, coffee, salt, and pepper. Garlic was not uncommon, and my wife insisted.
This rub can be used on any steak but also pork chops and other pork. I chose sirloin steak as an example for this recipe.
⏰🌡️ Time and temperature for grilled sirloin steak
Sirloin steak is usually about ¾ to 1 inch thick and, on a very hot grill, will usually take 9-12 minutes to get in the 140°-145° range.
Times are approximations for planning only. Cook to a final internal temperature and never by Time.
- Rare—cold red center(125°-130°) about 6-7 minutes total grill time. But check early.
- Medium-Rare—warm red center(130°-135°) about 7-9 minutes total grill time.
- Medium—pink and firm (140°-145°) about 9-12 minutes total grill time.
- Medium-Well—minimal pink(150°-155°) about 12-14 minutes total grill time. Not suggested.
- Well-Done—firm and brown(160°+ ) about 14 or more minutes total grill time. Not suggested.
A sirloin is from a well-used muscle area of the cow, so it tends to be tougher. It is also leaner than many other cuts, so it is best cooked on the rarer side. You should pick a different steak cut if you like your beef well done.
Yes, but only for a few days since the coffee flavor will be lost. So best to make what you need for that day.
Use a very finely ground standard coffee. Use the coffee you love and not a flavored coffee. If you have a rougher ground coffee, crush it into a fine powder—you don't want the grit.
🐄About Sirloin Steak
The sirloin is located between the short loin, which is where most of what we usually call "steak" comes from, and the round. It is further divided into top and bottom sirloin. The bottom sirloin is where most sirloin steaks come from (what I'm cooking here). Also, the tri-tip roast comes from the bottom sirloin. Under that will be the sirloin tip roast.
In other parts of the world, what we call the loin area is called the sirloin, and what we call the sirloin is called the rump.
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Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Mix ingredients for dry rub: 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and black pepper. My coffee was the whole bean, so I needed to grind it first. A very fine grind is best.
Pat dry the steak. Trim well.
Coat the steak with a moderate coat and rub it in well. Let meat rest at room temp for 15 minutes while grill preheats.
Clean and oil the grill grates. Preheat on high.
Place meat over high heat and flip every 4-5 minutes until internal temp of about 140°-145°—about 9-12 minutes, depending on the grill, and thicken of the steak.
Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Cowboy Coffee Rub Recipe
Coffee Rub Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
Sirloin steak as an example of use
- 2 sirloin steaks - 8-10 oz each well timed
- Mix ingredients for dry rub: 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and black pepper. My coffee was the whole bean, so I needed to grind it first. A very fine grind is best.
- Pat dry the steak. Trim well.
- Coat the steak with a moderate coat and rub it in well. Let meat rest at room temp for 15 minutes while grill preheats.
- Clean and oil the grill grates. Preheat on high.
- Place meat over high heat and flip every 4-5 minutes until internal temp of about 140°-145°—about 9-12 minutes, depending on the grill, and thicken of the steak.
- Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- The coffee needs to be finely ground and fresh
- This rub will not store well—make it fresh as needed.
- Use a coffee that you love.
- Cooking time will vary a lot due to the thickness of the steak but more due to grill variations.
- This is relatively high in sodium. The rub is assumed to be ⅔ used. If you are concerned by the sodium, cut the salt in half.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Originally Published August 25, 2011. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.