Roast beef with Coffee Rub and Bordelaise Sauce

Coffee rubbed beefI had a really nice piece of beef sitting in the fridge and wanted to do something a little different with it. Nothing really jumped out at me from the cookbooks I was looking in but I did see a sauce idea for a rather simple version of Bordelaise sauce. So I thought ok, that’ll work but it still doesn’t help me with the beef. Rummaging through the pantry I moved a bag of coffee…and well…there’s where the idea for a coffee rub came from. Sometimes it just hits you.

When you hear ‘seasoning rub’ I feel we all automatically think grilling or slow cooked BBQ. We tend not to think of a rub when roasting or baking meats. At least I don’t. I generally default to seasoning with salt and pepper, maybe some herbs and garlic and focus on making a good sauce. My thoughts are if it’s a good piece of beef why muck it up? Alas, we’re not eating dry aged prime rib every week so I’m trying new (to me) things.

Ok, so I had a sauce and an idea for a coffee seasoned rub. I knew rubbing the entire roast with coffee wasn’t the way to go but hadn’t a clue as to what else I could mix in. You know what my next stop was: The Flavor Bible. Turns out there are a more than few savory ideas and the list wasn’t as small as I thought it would be. And as usual, when you look at the list for flavor pairings you end up having one of those ‘yes, of course that makes sense’ moments.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this little homemade rub worked. It made a really nice crust when seared on the beef and I even added a few pinches to the Bordelaise sauce. I think the orange zest was a good touch on my part an you can catch just a little bit of it. Maybe it needs a little more?

Just goes to show you, every now and then all it takes to turn a semi-boring weeknight roast dinner into something special is moving a bag of coffee!

Pretty good looking roast beef, huh? Nice coffee rub crust on the outside. Tasty!
Pretty good looking roast beef, huh? Nice coffee rub crust on the outside. Tasty!

Roast Beef with Coffee Rub and Bordelaise Sauce

Coffee Rub Roast Beef

  • 2 Tbs ground coffee
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Orange zest from 2 oranges
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 lb beef roast
  • Cooking oil

Combine coffee, brown sugar, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and orange zest in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Rub onto and into the beef.

Per-heat the oven to 375°F.

In a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat on the stove, heat 2 Tbs of oil. Sear all sides of the coffee rubbed beef. When finished searing place pan in oven and roast until internal temperature reads 125°F for medium-rare.

Remove from oven. Take beef out of pan, set aside, and cover with aluminum foil to rest for at least 10 minutes. Drain off the fat and clean out any burnt seasonings from the pan. Make the Bordelaise sauce in the roasting pan.

Bordelaise Sauce

  • 2 C red wine (ahem, preferably Bordeaux)
  • 3-4 shallots, minced
  • 5 Tbs cold butter
  • 3 oz demi-glace
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coffee rub, pinch or two

Place the minced shallots in a medium sized sauce pan. Add the wine. Over medium heat on the stove simmer the wine and shallot mixture until reduced by 50%.

Stir in the demi-glace and simmer for 2 minutes.

Whisk in the cold butter 1 Tbs at a time. Season with salt and pepper and a few pinches of the coffee rub. Serve with the roast beef.




  1. I’ve heard about coffee rubs. It looks amazing. Do you notice the grounds or as you say it turns into a nice crust. I have always wanted to try but have a thing about coffee grounds in my mouth,, it’s a mouth feel thing with me. I bet the flavor is out of this world though.

    1. I was a little worried about that too, so I used espresso because it is so finely ground. Sear it good and you’ll have no problem. Couldn’t feel any coffee grounds in the pinches I put in the sauce either. The amount of the rub in the recipe is more than enough to do a 2-3 lb roast with a bunch left over.

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