Use Cocoa in Your Sweet and Spicy Rubs for a Taste Explosion

We have talked a bit about using chocolate with peppers before.  Using Chocolate mixed with chipotle or cayenne in your favorite rub is an amazing addition that will make a big difference in the flavor enhancement of the meat.

People that have added some regular cocoa (not candy or hot cocoa mix as that has sugar in it) have been singing the praises because of the additional depth of flavor.  Ribs, both beef and pork, are coming off the grill with awesome flavor. Use it on your chicken and you will be loving it.  Many people are using it on roasts, chops and even adding it to stews for extra favor.

So what is the big secret?  It is the mixture of the garlic; hot pepper and cocoa powder that combined just make a killer taste sensation.  Some recipes have lots of salt added too which helps add even more flavor.

Here is a recipe you can mix up quickly and store it for a few weeks in a tightly sealed container. You can also use your favorite rub that you currently enjoy and start experimenting with the cocoa levels and pepper levels to find your perfect blend.  Also try some of your favorite BBQ sauce on top too!


  • 3 tablespoons ground sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened baking cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne or chipotle
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika


  1. Stir all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Store in an airtight container or shaker.  Adjust the seasonings to your taste level
  2. Rub the spice mixture on to the meat coating it well. Let it stand at least 10 minutes and up to 1 hour before cooking.


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One Response to “Use Cocoa in Your Sweet and Spicy Rubs for a Taste Explosion”

  1. Chele said:

    Jan 31, 13 at 1:18 pm

    Spicy cocoa rubs are really good on sweet potatoes too. You can add it as a topping with butter to a baked sweet potato. Or you can cut up the sweet potato into fries, coat with a bit of olive oil and the cocoa rub, then bake in oven.

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