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Recently I went on a coffee bender. No, I didn’t camp out a Starbuck’s for a weekend, mainlining java. I actually don’t drink coffee all that often despite loving the taste of good coffee. I included coffee in a variety or rubs (Coffee/Chocolate Ribs, Coffee Steak) and even a brine (Coffee Brined Ribs). This coffee rub adds a wonderful rich/earthy flavor to BBQ that I just love, so much so that I plan on doing a coffee BBQ sauce soon.

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Coffee Rubbed Grilled Salmon Ingredients:

  • 4 salmon filets
  • Salt to coat the filets
  • 1/2 cup finely ground coffee (I used a decaf hazelnut blend. Decaf is not a necessity.)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper

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One note on the coffee for this. You need to grind it yourself and grind it extra, extra fine. I bought the coffee at the local grocery store, set it to the finest setting, ground it and ran the coffee back through the grinder on the same setting to make it uber fine. Think coffee powder rather than coffee grounds for the coffee rub.

Coat the salmon filets with coarse salt:

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Then mix the rest of the ingredients together to make the coffee rub. I thought the coffee cup was an appropriate vessel to do the mixing:

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Then sprinkle the coffee rub over the salmon. Go as light or as heavy as you like. Don’t be afraid to go heavy because this rub is outstanding:

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Don’t forget the sides and don’t waste that coffee rub on the plate:

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Prepare the grill for high heat grilling. In this case, my gas grill. A charcoal grill would work too. Use whatever you prefer. 

Place the coffee rubbed salmon skin side down on the grill:

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 I almost forgot, you want to forget the tongs and make sure you have a good meat turner like this one:


Regular tongs are only going to mangle the grilled salmon which could wreck your presentation.

I made two different salmon filets for this post/photo shoot. One I flipped over at five minutes:

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Don’t sweat the blackened skin. That skin was delicious! The other salmon filet, I left skin side down the entire time. I removed both coffee rubbed grilled salmon filets after a total of 10 minutes. Here is the second one that I didn’t flip:

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After I removed it from the grill, I plated and served the grilled salmon:

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The coffee adds a wonderful richness and earthy flavor that melds well with the smokiness picked up from the grill and is countered nicely by the sweet of the brown sugar.

As for flipping or not flipping, I preferred it unflipped, but they were very similar. The flipped salmon filet was a little more done than I like than the unflipped, but it also had a better char on the top. I would suggest if you flip it to remove from the grill at about 8 minutes of grilling rather than 10.

If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.

If you liked the coffee rubbed grilled salmon and are interested in similar grilling recipes, click here.

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Coffee Rubbed Grilled Salmon

Salmon rubbed with coffee and grilled
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: BBQ
Servings: 4


  • 4 salmon filets
  • salt to coat the filets
  • ½ cup finely ground coffee (I used a decaf hazelnut blend that I ground myself at my local grocery store. Decaf is not a necessity.)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper


  • Coat the salmon filets with coarse salt
  • Combine the rest of the ingredients other than the salt and salmon and sprinkle on the salmon (make sure to get the sides)
  • Set the grill to high heat grilling
  • Place the salmon on the grill skin side down and close the lid
  • Remove from the heat after 10 minutes
  • Plate and serve


Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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