Fette Sau Dry Rub

This Fette Sau dry rub, from the eponymous restaurant, is made with brown sugar, espresso, cayenne, cinnamon, cumin, and black pepper. Perfect for barbecuing.

An enormous bin of fette sau dry rub with a scoop in it.

At Fette Sau, they use this dry rub recipe on “just about everything that we smoke,” according to guys at the restaurant. Which explains why this dry rub recipe yields such an ample amount. We’re talking lotsa dry rub. As in enough dry rub to see you through the rest of the summer and well into tailgating season. Okay, maybe not quite that long, seeing as you’re going to want to slather this rub all over everything you smoke or grill, whether pork shoulder (aka pork butt), chicken, steak, salmon, oh heck, we’re just going to stop listing items because this will literally go with everything. Go on. Give it a try. And you needn’t follow the recipe exactly. Feel free to improvise on the ingredients and amounts, reducing the sugar for a less-sweet or increasing the cayenne for a spicier one or so on.–Renee Schettler

☞ Contents

Fette Sau Dry Rub

An enormous bin of fette sau dry rub with a scoop in it.
This Fette Sau dry rub makes a huge amount of spice mix–which is perfect for rubbing into everything. At the restaurant, we honestly use it on everything. We hope you will, too.

Prep 5 minutes
Total 5 minutes
22 servings (makes about 2 3/4 cups)
35 kcal
5 / 5 votes
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  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup ground espresso beans
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper


  • Combine the sugar, salt, espresso beans, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne in a resealable container, cover tightly, and shake well to combine. Store in a cool, dry place. The rub will keep for up to 2 months, at which point the coffee will began to taste stale.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 35kcal (2%)Carbohydrates: 9g (3%)Protein: 0.3g (1%)Fat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 2575mg (112%)Potassium: 37mg (1%)Fiber: 0.5g (2%)Sugar: 7g (8%)Vitamin A: 102IU (2%)Vitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 17mg (2%)Iron: 0.4mg (2%)

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Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I love a good dry rub, especially a good coffee dry rub, and this one certainly fits the bill. This dry rub takes just a few minutes to make, and it makes quite a bit. If you smoke poultry and pork often, go ahead and mix the entire batch. You’ll be glad you did. I used a medium Guatemalan Antigua bean with a fine expresso grind. When I used this on a whole chicken, I was thrilled with the results. This rub imbues a rich, sweet, and salty flavor and has added depth from the nuttiness of the coffee beans. I was so enamored with this rub that just a couple of days later, I cut a few 2-inch pork loin chops and brined them with a cup of rub in a quart of cold water in a gallon-size resealable plastic baggie for 2 hours.

This dry rub is definitely a keeper. I used it as a brine on chicken and also as a rub on pork chops. I actually liked it more as a pork chop rub than a chicken brine, but the brine was really flavorful. Smoking slowly over low heat ensures that the cinnamon and coffee don’t take on an acrid flavor.

My husband prepared this rub to use with the smoked chicken recipe and then the following week for grilled bone-in pork chops. I had a hard time deciding which of the two I enjoyed more. He’s prepared other grilled dishes using store-bought coffee-based rubs and nothing, may I repeat, nothing comes close to the savory flavor of this rub. Named after the Brooklyn restaurant, Fette Sau, the German phrase literally translates into English to “Fat Pig,” a perfect title because I could not stop devouring it, and yes, I may have even licked a finger or two.

If you’re smart, double the recipe so you can try with different dishes. Salmon is next up on our list. Enjoy.

Originally published July 15, 2015


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. 5 stars
    Brown sugar, espresso, cinnamon, straight from the smoker—what’s not to like? I brined a chicken and rubbed a small roast, prepped the Kettle Smokenator accessory parts (Kingsford charcoal to start and pecan chunks for smoke), loaded the meat on the rotisserie, and stood back. Grey smoke leaked from the black dome, full of promise. Would I get succulent, subtly flavored meat or merely a mash-up of competing flavors and tough, stringy meat?

    The envelope, please. Top billing goes to . . . the roast beef! And not straight from the Weber to the plate, either. The lurker here is the roast beef cooled, although not cold, in a salad with arugula, tomatoes, two drops un-pedigreed olive oil and one drop Trader Joe’s balsamic vinegar. The chicken was also good in a salad. The answer lies in the balance of flavors and the end use of the smoked meat.

    Would I do this again? Yes, and I’d like to try it on a pork roast.

    1. Wow, MD, that sounds amazing. My mouth is watering just reading this! Do let us know how it turns out with a pork roast.

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