Espresso Ancho Steak Rub

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Culinary // Food, Culture & Lifestyle

Espresso Ancho Steak Rub

By Alicia Ghio

In most instances, I admittedly prefer a big beautiful steak grilled to medium-rare seasoned with simply salt and black pepper. However, when I want added flavor, that’s when I turn to dry rubs. The key to a good dry rub is bold flavors. You can’t be afraid to go big.

Fresh ground espresso and ancho chili powder create a robust depth of flavor that can stand up to strong red meats like grass-fed beef. The espresso offers a rich, earthy base and the ancho adds not only earthiness but also undertones of smokiness, heat, and even a touch of sweetness when it browns. If you prefer less spicy heat, you can by all means, reduce the amount of ancho.

For this recipe, we took the smoky flavor a step further by grilling over hickory wood chips. While not necessary for a delicious result, the hickory chips add a traditional BBQ flavor profile that works incredibly well with the rub.

Espresso Ancho Steak Rub

Serves 3-4


  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground espresso
  • 1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Applewood smoked salt
  • 1, 24 oz., 3″ NY strip steak
  • 1 disposable Hickory Wood Chips smoker box


  1. Unwrap the disposable smoker box; soak in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix together the espresso, ancho, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper in the small bowl.
  3. Coat the all sides of the steak with the rub.
  4. Heat the grill to 350-400 degrees.
  5. Drain the smoker box and place on the grill and cover until you see smoke.
  6. Place the steak on the grill next to the smoker box and cover.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes and check. If there’s a nice sear (looks crusty with clearly defined grill marks) then flip and continue cooking until desired doneness. For rare, the internal temp should be between 125-130 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Remove from grill and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.


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September 30, 2017

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