Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak

I made up this quick Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak for some guest at my last cook out. I’m glad I wrote down the recipe because I’m making it a signature dish for all my cook outs. This rub is comprised of finely ground coffee, brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, hot paprika, and cayenne. YOU WANT THIS.

Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak
Flank Steak

To be honest, I was half drunk when I pulled this rub together. I had some friends over for a small feast and had forgotten about the flank steak I picked up from Haltemans. I was a couple crowlers of Love City Unity IPA in when I wondered what happened to the steak. I had planned on a ‘tex-mex’ sort of rub or marinade but I was in the mood to take a risk. Let’s add coffee grounds! And thus, as with all great epiphanies, Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak was born and all was good in the world.

Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak
Step one is to liberally coat your steak with coarse sea salt before applying the rub.
Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak
That’s right. Do not put the salt in the rub. You want salt in direct contact with the meat to properly season it. Check the recipe box below for the rub.

Rub recipes can seem overwhelmingly strong but you have to account for some coming off while you’re grilling. This rub has a sweet element with the brown sugar and lots of spice with the paprika and cayenne. The coffee adds this deep richness to the meat without tasting like coffee at all. Cumin brings everything together with a nice warm earthiness. I’m seriously in love with this and plan on doing much more with it – wings, ribs, etc.

The first time I made this I let it sit for about 2 hours prior to grilling. We all thought it was incredible. This time I let it sit for about 4 hours and it was even better. When I grill flank steak I like to flip it pretty often. Each time I flip it I drizzle some olive oil on each side. My coals were dying down so this flank took nearly 10 minutes to cook. With a medium high flame / 300°F, you probably want a max cook time of 6 minutes or until the internal temp registers 128-134°F.

Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak
Grill steak for a couple minutes per side flipping often until it reaches your desired temp. This was pulled at 134°F at the thickest part.

Whenever possible I like to serve grilled meats right on a cutting board and ask my guest to dig in. Once you get over the initial curiosity and awkwardness you find this primal way to eat just feels natural. People eating fire grilled meat within arms length of one another. It’s warm, and communal, and fun. Invite your friends over to eat this Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak with their hands! Send me your dirty hand photos.

Here’s some recipe suggestions. Serve your Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak with Quickles and Carrot Top Chimichurri!

Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak
While you’re at the grill, make a killer salad to go with your killer steak!! Romain Lettuce and par cooked potatoes are great on the grill.

Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak

Recipe by Anthony
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: Mains


Prep time


Cooking time


Hands-Off Time

3 – 10


This rub for this quick ‘Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rubbed Flank Steak’ is comprised of finely ground coffee, brown sugar, cumin, black pepper, hot paprika, and cayenne. Great for grilling and sharing with friends!

Cook Mode

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  • Flank Steak

  • Coarse Sea Salt

  • Vegetable Oil

  • Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rub

  • Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rub
  • 2 Tbs finely ground Coffee

  • 1 1/2 Tbs Brown Sugar

  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper

  • 1 1/2 tsp Cumin

  • 1 1/2 tsp Cayenne

  • 1/2 tsp Hot Paprika


  • Whisk together all ingredients for Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rub in a small bowl.
  • Liberally coat a flank steak with sea salt on both sides. Then apply Sweet n Spicy Coffee Rub.
  • Wrap steak in butcher’s paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8.
  • Remove steak from fridge one hour prior to grilling.
  • Preheat grill to ‘a three count’. A three count is how long you can hold your hand just over the grate before you have to take it away. Oil grates to prevent sticking.
  • Apply a light amount of oil to each side of the steak and grill for 1-2 minutes per side. Flip often until the internal temp reaches 128-134°F.
  • Allow to rest at least 5 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with Carrot Top Chimichurri.


  • This isn’t a sexy grill mark kind of steak. The coffee, brown sugar and oil should char the entire exterior of the steak pretty well. Flip every 60 seconds or so.

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