Chili Cocoa Dry Rub Recipe

chili cocoa dry rub recipe on crusted loin
A tenderloin crusted with this perfect chili cocoa dry rub. Try the recipe!

This Dry Rub Recipe NEEDS to be in your arsenal of recipes. It is a real keeper and I’ll tell you why.  Not only does it have the perfect flavor profile, coffee and cocoa are both naturally acidic. It’s perfect for breaking down the connective tissue and muscle fiber in tougher cuts of meat. I use it with tender meats for the amazing flavor that cocoa and coffee give.

Coffee and cocoa give you the bitter earthy flavor. By adding the brown sugar and chili, you get a bitter, sweet heat that completes this perfect flavor profile.  It is quite spectacular.

I especially enjoy this dry rub recipe with the “heavier” meats like beef, venison, and lamb. You would pair this dry rub with the same meats you would drink red wine with.

If you are preparing this dry rub for an already tender piece of meat, place dry rub mixture in a plate, then add a little oil to the meat and roll it into the dry rub completely covering the meat. Allow it to rest for about 15 minutes at room temperature and begin cooking.

For the more tough cuts of meat, like a beef skirt steak, or the hindquarter of a deer, cover the meat with a little oil then generously and aggressively massage the ingredients into the meat and place in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours before cooking. This gives the rub a chance to break those fibers down for flavorful, succulent, tender meat.

For more about dry rubs and marinades, check out this post. This recipe is in my latest book. Get your  copy here.

I like to make a quadruple batch of this dry rub and store in a mason jar. I use two lids, one of which I poke holes in for easier sprinkling over the meat. The other lid I place on top of the one with the holes and place in a cool dark space until later use.

chili cocoa crusted venison loin - perfect for Valentine's Day dinner

Chili Cocoa Dry Rub Recipe

This dry rub recipe has the perfect flavor profile, as coffee and cocoa are both naturally acidic. It helps tenderize tougher cuts of meat.
Cuisine American


  • 1/3 cup coffee grounds (instant coffee or freshly ground are both fine)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Store any remaining dry rub in a cool, dark space.
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