Coffee Crusted Ribeye: Reverse Seared Steak Perfection

A beautiful thick ribeye, coated with our house-made coffee rub, smoked and reverse-seared to ensure a crispy crust.

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The ultimate steak has got to be a big thick ribeye. When prepared right there is nothing better than a ribeye with great marbling and a good rub that has been smoked and seared to perfection.

In this recipe, I’m going show you how to grill a coffee rubbed ribeye that is an absolute flavor bomb. The coffee rub really enhances the beefy flavor of the steak and takes it to another level. 

I’ll give you suggestions on how to go about choosing a great piece of ribeye, how to make a coffee rub, and how to cook a ribeye that will have your guests singing your praises. 

Coffee and beef? 

Most people don’t know that you can use coffee to tenderize meat. So by having coffee in the rub and letting it sit for a few moments or even up to an hour, you are tenderizing and adding flavor at the same time. 

Coffee contains more than 800 aromatic and flavor compounds and when paired with beef something amazing happens. 

I’m using our own coffee rub recipe which you can find here.

a hand sprinkling rub on a ribeye steak on a black plate
Don’t worry, your steak won’t taste like your morning cup of coffee. 

I don’t find it overpowering and combined as a rub with other spices like salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika, it’s a great flavor enhancer and elevates the beefy flavor of a ribeye even more.

Freshly ground or pre-ground?

I used coffee beans from Mango Tree Coffee. They’re a roaster out of Englewood, Colorado and they donate their profits to help food and education projects to alleviate extreme poverty for children all around the world.

I like to grind mine from fresh beans this way I can get the size that I want and I think you get a better taste from a fresh grind. If you have pre-ground coffee that will work just fine.

coffee grinder on a wooden board
It’s a good idea to have two coffee grinders, one for coffee beans and one for spices.

To grind my coffee I use a simple coffee grinder that you can purchase just about anywhere. Just place the beans in, put the lid on and push the grind button until the beans are to your desired texture. 

What to look for when choosing a steak

There are a few things to look for when picking out a good ribeye. The first thing I look at is the marbling. You want to pick out a steak that has good intramuscular fat running through it. 

Don’t just purchase a steak based on the grade or price. Really take the time to look at a few and compare them. Sometimes you can find a hidden gem and get a steak that really stands out above the rest.

There have been a few times where I’ve found a Choice-grade steak that could have easily passed for prime. 

a raw ribeye steak on a black plate
If you choose a steak that is too thin, chances are you will overcook it and won’t have enough time to allow that smoke flavor to really penetrate.

Another thing to look for is the thickness of the steak. For me the thicker the better. I love to cook steaks that are around 2 inches because it allows me more time for my reverse sear process.

I’m using a thick ribeye steak from Snake River Farms.

How to reverse sear a steak

Reverse searing is my favorite technique when it comes to cooking a steak. 

The reverse sear method begins by cooking the steak over low heat and then finishing with a sear over extremely high heat for that perfect crust.

During the low and slow period, I like to add smoke to the meat which helps to develop some extra flavors. I smoked this steak on my Pit Boss 1600 Pro with hickory pellets

ribeye on the grill with smoke around it

Just before the steak is ready I sear hot on my Char-Broil gas grill but a cast iron pan or charcoal grill will all work to get a nice crust on the steak and help lock in the flavors. 

With this technique, it is important to have a thicker steak to allow more time to cook or smoke. 

How long does a cooked steak need to rest?

Letting steak rest is a crucial part of the entire cooking process that is often overlooked. You spent all this time making a nice rub, preparing the steak and grilling it and it can all go to waste if you do not let your steak rest. 

When a protein is cooking, the heat expels the juice from the inside out. If you cut into a steak while it’s still very hot inside it will pour those juices out leaving you with a dryer steak than you should have had.

By letting your steak rest for 10-15 minutes after you pull it off the heat, you are allowing the steak to properly cool down and letting the juices redistribute properly back into the meat. 

The rule of thumb is the thicker the cut of meat the longer your rest time will be. For big cuts of meat like prime rib, you can allow up to 30 minutes of rest and for something like a brisket at least an hour. 

How to make reverse-seared coffee crusted ribeye

I used our coffee rub recipe which includes; salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, cumin, and cayenne pepper. 

white bowl with coffee rub and a teaspoon in it on a wooden board

After I seasoned the steak, and let it come up to room temperature I preheat my smoker to 225°F and smoked the steak for about an hour until it hit an internal temperature of 120°F.

seasoned ribeye on the grill
Since the heat source from my pellet smoker is on the bottom, I flipped the steak halfway through the cooking process to ensure both sides cooked evenly. 

While the steak is smoking, monitor your temps every so often and make sure you remove the steak from your smoker about 15-20°F from where you want to finish.

Since I like my steaks medium rare I pull my steaks off at 120°F and then sear until the internal temp reaches 135°F.  

You will notice that the steak will have a nice dark color from the rub which I really love.

ribeye on grill at end of cooking
The final searing gives the steak not only a nice crust but great texture.

Make sure the steak rests for at least 10 minutes and feel free to add a pad of butter on top if you’d like. Then slice the steak against the grain and finish with a little salt and enjoy. 

The steak should have a little bit of heat from the cayenne, a little bitterness and savory notes from the coffee, and a nice brightness from the salt.

It is a unique and delicious experience and a recipe you should try if you want to break away from the norm. I like to serve my steaks with roasted baby potatoes and onions.

Give these great steak recipes a go next

Coffee Crusted Ribeye

Ribeye steak coated with our coffee rub, with hints of cayenne, cumin and brown sugar, smoked and reverse seared to create a crispy crust.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Resting Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 319kcal
Author: Jordan Hanger

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Season your ribeye steak with the coffee rub.
  • Preheat your smoker to 225°F.
  • Smoke steak for around an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F.
  • Transfer steak to a hot grill or cast iron pan and sear on both sides until the steak reaches 135°F and remove.
  • Allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes, slice against the grain, and finish with a little salt if needed.

Nutrition

Sodium: 79mg | Calcium: 24mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 58IU | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 414mg | Cholesterol: 92mg | Calories: 319kcal | Saturated Fat: 10g | Fat: 21g | Protein: 31g | Carbohydrates: 1g | Iron: 3mg
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