Aromatic Spiced Coffee Rub for Meat

Aromatic Spiced Coffee Rub for Meat

Like a marriage of two fiery and hot-headed people, the pairing of spiced coffee with a strongly-flavored meat (such as venison) might seem odd; yet this versatile rub both tames and accentuates the meat sumptuously the sharpness of the coffee and the aromatic notes from the star anise and clove will balance the gaminess of the venison.  No further preparation is needed other than a slow roast to marry these powerful and strangely complementary lovers.

Makes about 1 cup of rub


8 whole star anise
6 cloves
4 tablespoons whole coffee beans
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 tablespoons gray salt
1 tablespoon muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder


Grind the spices together in a spice grinder, careful to let the contents settle before removing the lid. Mix well in a bowl with salt, sugar, and garlic powder.  Rub on beef roast or venison and let sit for at least 2 hours.  Roast the meat as directed by your recipe.

[Chef’s Note: This rub can also be used for grilling meats such as beef, chicken, duck and pork, although the coffee flavor will be quite strong if the meat is not slow-roasted. For grilling, we suggest using only 2 tablespoons of coffee beans, and using the rub as a seasoning, rather than completely covering the meat.]

Recipe by Mark Tafoya
Photo by Kelly Cline