Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast: Dinner for Six

"Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast," from Make It Like a Man!

COFFEE-CRUSTED PORK ROAST with caramelized Brussels sprouts, chestnut purée, crumbled chorizo, red-wine-braised red cabbage, and orange cardamom jus

My fiancé’s best friend is married to a chef. We spent a lazy weekend together at their beach house last summer … three days filled with late nights, slow mornings, day-drinking, Scrabble, and incessant laughter. No plans, no schedule … we just meandered as the spirits moved us, from the living room, to the deck, to the beach, and back to the living room. At one point, we decided we were hungry, and the Chef – whom we’d never put upon to cook on his vacation – volunteered, “Well, let me see what we’ve got in the kitchen.” A couple of hands of cards later, he calls us to the table for coffee-crusted pork roast and an array of beautifully grilled vegetables.

I’d never heard of using coffee in this way. Let me tell you, it’s stunning to see and amazing to eat. The coffee doesn’t taste like coffee. It’s tastes earthy and meaty. If you really know coffee, you can hunt for and find the flavor of the bean. But “coffee” is not the impression you’ll have when you taste this pork. The flavor of the juicy pork is front and center; the coffee seems to amp up the umami. My contribution to this creation is the jus and purée; the cardamom provides a bit of depth, while the orange adds high hits of sweetness that balance out the dark, black crust. The purée is all about texture, adding a lusciousness to the light pork, and the chorizo ties the coffee and cardamom together into a consonant triad.

You can pull this together, start to finish, in about 3½ unrushed hours. Or cook all the veggies ahead of time, and you can do it in about 2 hours – most of that time spent sitting around while the roast is in the oven.

Start with the cabbage. Once it’s done, let it cool. You can reheat it while the pork is resting. In fact, you could make it at least a day in advance.

"Red Cabbage," from Make It Like a Man! Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast


This recipe comes from Epicurious. The given timings and temperatures didn’t seem to agree, at least in my test, so I’ve adjusted them.

Serves 8

¼ cup (½-stick) butter
1 two-pound head of red cabbage, quartered, cored, very thinly sliced (about 14 cups)
½ tsp (or more) salt
3 Tbs dry red wine, such as (Karen Birmingham 2013) Merlot
1 Tbs red wine vinegar

  1. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Add cabbage and salt; stir and toss constantly until cabbage begins to wilt, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add wine and sauté until liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add vinegar and turn heat to low; stir frequently until cabbage is tender and turns bright fuchsia, about 13 minutes longer.
  5. Season to taste with pepper and more salt, if desired.

Continue with the Brussels sprouts. Like the cabbage, the sprouts can be rewarmed and/or made at least a day in advance.


This recipe is a modification of one from Kevin Is Cooking.

Serves 8

6 Tbs olive oil
2 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered if large – halved if small
¼ tsp Kosher salt
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs minced fresh ginger
2 medium limes

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add sprouts and salt. Toss well to coat.
  3. Cover pan with lid or foil ajar by about 1 inch. Turn heat down to medium low, and cook, stirring occasionally. Sprouts should start to brown in 8-12 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat to low; cook until sprouts are well browned, about 15 minutes.
  5. Nuke butter and ginger on high for 30 seconds. Grate limes to garner 2 tsp of zest; set aside. Squeeze limes for 2 Tbs of juice; add to butter-ginger mixture.
  6. Off heat. Pour ginger-butter mixture over vegetables and toss well. Season to taste and top with zest.

While you’re finishing the sprouts, start in on the roast.

"Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast," from Make It Like a Man!

COFFEE-CRUSTED PORK TENDERLOIN with orange cardamom jus

Serves 6

3 Tbs coffee, med-coarse grind
1 Tbs brown or Demerara sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 to 4 lbs boneless pork loin roast
1 to 2 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fine-grind coffee
¾ cup orange juice
1 cup chicken broth or water
10.5 oz. Chestnut Purée
2 Tbs milk
1 small chorizo sausage, casing removed, crumbled
¼ tsp (somewhat mounded) cardamom

  1. Preheat to 350°F. Prep a roasting pan with a rack.
  2. Thoroughly mix together med-coarse coffee, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Score the roast’s fat side.
  4. Spread rub all over roast. Refrigerate, or place in pan, fat side up.
  5. Drizzle roast with olive oil. Sprinkle fine-grind coffee over top and sides of roast and pat down. Pour orange juice and ¾-cup broth into pan to prevent burning.
  6. Bake until internal temperature reaches 145°F (or up to 160°F, depending on your preferences). IMPORTANT: check every 20 minutes to make sure pan liquid hasn’t evaporated; add stock as necessary.
  7. In the meantime, place chestnut purée in a small saucepan. Add milk. Heat and stir until consistency of loose mashed potatoes. Off heat; set aside.
  8. Sauté chorizo until nicely browned. Set aside.
  9. Rest the roast for 15 minutes. In the meantime, deglaze pan with stock. Once the pan is clean, transfer liquid to a small saucepan. Add cardamom and reduce to a syrupy consistency. Correct seasoning. Gently reheat purée and chorizo.
  10. Garnish pork servings with purée, chorizo, and jus.
  11. Serve the pork with the wine you opened for the cabbage.

"Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast," from Make It Like a Man!

Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast

Credit for images on this page: Make It Like a Man! Clicking on images will enlarge them. This content was not solicited, nor written in exchange for anything. In doing research for this recipe, I came upon a recipe by Leith Devine on Food 52 as well as a video by Dear Martini on Vimeo, both of which I found to be helpful.

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33 thoughts on “Coffee-Crusted Pork Roast: Dinner for Six

  1. Holy smokes this is not only a scrumptious sounding dish, but I would have loved to have partaken at the table! This really sound homey, yet exotic in flavors. The chestnut purée and cardamom addition sound lovely. I had coffee crusted steak once and you’re right, the flavor is only there if you look for it, it transforms and is wonderful. Thanks for the shout out too buddy! Cheers!
    Kevin | Keviniscooking recently posted…Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

  2. How nice to have a chef cook! Probably more fun than being at a restaurant! Love the whole meal. I’ve only used coffee on beef, so I’ll definitely have to try it with pork. Chestnut purée must be pure chestnuts? Not chestnut cream which is sweet? Never seen this product but it sounds smarter than jarred chestnuts, which are always dry and shriveled.
    Mimi recently posted…Bacon Egg Salad

    • Yes, it’s mashed chestnuts with milk and a little salt, but without sugar or vanilla. The texture reminds of one of my favorite Thanksgiving leftover traditions: putting mashed potatoes and gravy right on top of slices of turkey.

    • Thanks, Angie! I was really good pork – I was very pleased with how it came out.

  3. Remind me to bring along a chef next time I go on vacation! Also, 3.5 hours…how many hands of cards did you guys manage to get in there? Haha! But seriously, I’m loving the rub here on this pork roast. I’ve used coffee as a rub on steak before, but never on pork. I need to get on board with that. And the bit of cardamom in there? Perfection! Love me some good roasted veggies, too. Looks like you’re eating like kings over there, Jeff!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Muffin Tin Garlic Knots

    • Well, you know, one or two hands, and then someone’s got to mix up a batch of cocktails, which takes forever, because the juice has to be hand-squeezed, and then a few more hands, and someone’s got to find some chips or something, by then the angle of the sun calls for the umbrella over the table to be adjusted, which means everyone takes a break, then it starts up all over again, until someone notices that we need another round of cocktails, and next thing you know, voila. (It didn’t take him that long. It took me that long.)

  4. I’ve had coffee in a rub before, in a restaurant. Have never tried it myself for some reason. Really like coffee, so I should. Love the sides that you’ve made with this, too. I haven’t braised red cabbage in quite some time, and I do like it, so thanks for reminding me about it. 🙂
    John/Kitchen Riffs recently posted…The Hanky Panky Cocktail

  5. My kind of weekend and my kind of food. I’ve experimented with coffee “rubs” on beef before, but I think I was afraid of that “coffee” taste so I probably relied too heavily on other flavors (chili powder, paprika, mustard, oregano, etc, etc, etc). Next time I’ll be braver with America’s favorite bean. GREG

    • I understand. When I looked at recipes for coffee rub, I saw only rubs with lots of spices. That wasn’t what my friend had done. It’s surprising, but even though I only used coffee, it did not taste much like coffee at all. You really had to search for the coffee taste. Instead, it had an earthy meaty taste

  6. Really excited to give this coffee rub a try. I have been meaning to do that with steak, pork, or something.. but have not gotten around to it yet. I think this will give me the kick start to try it this weekend.

    The cabbage and Brussels sprouts sound like great sides too…
    Kevin recently posted…Asian Dijon Turkey Burgers

  7. Jeff, I so wish that my wife, Lynne, liked Pork. I love it, but she doesn’t unfortunately. When she’s away travelling for her job, or when we’re out to dinner I’ll have it if it’s on the menu. And this Pork dish is exactly what I would order if I saw it on the menu. It’s amazing and I just want to dive right into this plate right now!

    That lazy weekend at the beach house of your fiancé’s best friend sounds just like the sort of break Lynne and I enjoy too. Just nice and relaxing! recently posted…Cherry Bakewell Loaf Cake

    • I’m lucky to have a fiancée with a wide palate and an adventurous attitude toward food, because I’m able to experiment with all sorts of things … except coffee and shredded coconut! So, no mocha German chocolate cake for me!

    • Thanks! I can’t say I honestly agree with you, but I do feel that I inched a bit closer, and I was very happy with it.

  8. This looks fantastic! We do coffee crusted venison chops which I love, but I need to try it on pork since it’s so much easier to get a hold of!

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