How to turn spent coffee grounds into a rub – recipe | Waste not

Spent coffee grounds can be transformed into a meat rub, ready to deliver intense flavour for slow-cooked meats and even tofu

Spent coffee is one of the most potent and aromatic spices a cook could wish for, adding an energetic, flavourful kick to sweet and savoury dishes alike, from cakes and cookies (check out my spent espresso brownies) to rubs and marinades.

Save spent coffee grounds in the fridge and use them up within a week; failing that, freeze them, or dry them out in the oven (ideally when it’s in use for something else) and store in a sealed jar.

Coffee marinades make wonderful meat rubs, imparting intense flavours into the flesh. If you’re slow-roasting a hunk of meat (or chicken thighs, vegetables or tofu, for that matter), give it a thrifty edge and intensify its umaminess with today’s spent coffee rub.

I also use spent coffee in American-style shakes, especially when I need a kickstart in the morning: just blitz a scoop of vanilla ice-cream with a heaped teaspoon of spent coffee grounds and a splash of milk (plant-based or dairy), ideally using an immersion blender.

Spent coffee rub

Spent-coffee is a secret ingredient that adds serious depth of flavour, which is why these days it takes pride of place on my spice rack. It works particularly well with chilli, smoky foods, barbecued meat and chocolate.

Oven cooking is energy-intensive, so don’t cook this dish to save carbon emissions; instead, cook it when you’re hungry for meat and are already planning a slow roast. Spent coffee grounds will step up your game and deliver an intensive flavour that works oh so well with short rib, brisket, pork ribs, chicken thighs and even vegetables and tofu steaks (if you go for any of those last three, bear in mind they’ll need only an hour or so of cooking).

4 tbsp spent coffee grounds
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
, or other chilli (optional)
5 tbsp barbecue sauce or tomato ketchup
1kg pork rib, beef short rib, brisket, chicken etc

300g stock vegetables (ie, shallots, carrots, celery, garlic)

Make a rub by mixing the spent coffee with the pepper, salt, paprika and chilli flakes, if using. Rub the meat all over with the barbecue sauce or ketchup, then pat on a thick, even crust of the rub.

Put the stock vegetables in a large casserole pot, lay the meat on top and add 125ml cold water. Put the casserole uncovered on the middle shelf of an oven heated to 240C (220C)/475F/gas 9. After 15 minutes, pop on the lid, turn down the heat to 140C (120C fan)/275F/gas 1, and cook for three and a half to four hours, until the meat is tender. Turn off the oven, resist the temptation to open the door and leave the meat to rest, still covered, for another hour, by which time it will be falling off the bone.

Contributor

Tom Hunt

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
How to turn Christmas Day leftovers into a stunning pie – recipe | Waste not
Turn the remains of the festive table into a barnstorming pie that’s as satisfying to make as it is to eat

Tom Hunt

27, Nov, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
How to turn leftover roast lamb into a Palestinian classic | Waste not
A traditional one-pot, upside-down rice cake with layers of spicy flavour that uses up meat and veg from your Sunday roast

Tom Hunt

16, Apr, 2022 @5:00 AM

Article image
Ribs and dogs: Gary Lee’s recipes for the Super Bowl
Recipes for Superbowl 56 next weekend from the kitchen of Joe Allen in Covent Garden: slow-braised smoked baby back ribs and vegetarian hot dogs with quinoa chilli. Touchdown!

Gary Lee

05, Feb, 2022 @11:00 AM

Article image
How to turn excess tofu into a spicy lunch – recipe | Waste not
A vegan take on the super-brunch, huevos rancheros, using scrambled tofu

Tom Hunt

22, Jan, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
How to turn leftover veg into a nourishing soup – recipe | Waste not
The ingredients are so flexible, and it keeps for so long, that borsch is the thrifty cook’s dream dish, being both filling and packed with nutrients

Tom Hunt

02, Apr, 2022 @5:00 AM

Article image
How to turn mushroom trimmings into a fabulous Thai stir-fry – recipe | Waste not
Minced offcut stalks and skins bring body and flavour to many dishes, such as this pad kra pao

Tom Hunt

06, Nov, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
How to make use of the whole chicken, with virtually zero waste | Waste not
With chicken, almost the entire bird is edible, but much of it scandalously goes to waste. Here’s what to do with the unloved bits

Tom Hunt

13, Nov, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Use up old apples in this sustainable wild game casserole
As apples start to lose their lustre, use up the last of the season’s crop to finish this classic French game casserole

Tom Hunt

29, Jan, 2022 @6:00 AM

Article image
Spent espresso brownie recipe | Tom Hunt
Instead of throwing away your coffee grounds, use them in these brownies with a caffeine kick

Tom Hunt

23, Feb, 2019 @6:00 AM

Article image
How to make the perfect pad kra pao, or Thai stir-fry – recipe | Felicity Cloake's How to make the perfect …
Our resident perfectionist puts the Thai street food stir-fry through its paces

Felicity Cloake

13, Oct, 2021 @11:00 AM