Baby Back Ribs with Coffee Spice Rub

BBQ Ribs


4 to 6 pounds baby back ribs (or 6 to 8 pounds spare ribs)
1/2 cup Coffee Spice Rub
2 cups wood chips (preferably hickory), soaked in cold water 1 hour, then drained, divided if using charcoal
Canola oil for grill
Optional: Coffee Mop Sauce


Place the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet or in a hotel pan to contain any mess.

Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs by pulling it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a kitchen towel to gain a secure grip, or with pliers.

If desired, slather the ribs on both sides with your favorite mustard (many people use common yellow mustard; I prefer Dijon). Then apply the Coffee Spice Rub.

Rub two-thirds of the Coffee Spice Rub over the ribs on both sides, then transfer the ribs to a roasting pan. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Ready to grill?  Set up the grill for indirect grilling, placing a large drip pan in the center.

  • If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium.
  • If using a gas grill, place the wood chips in the smoker box and preheat to high. When smoke appears, reduce heat to medium.

When ready to cook, if using charcoal, toss half the wood chips on the coals. Oil the grill grate. Arrange the ribs on the hot grate over the drip pan. Cover the grill and smoke-cook ribs 1 hour.

Good ribs don’t need sauce, but this Coffee Mop Sauce gives that extra zing of flavor. While grilling, you brush the sauce onto the ribs with a mop or basting brush. When cooking ribs,

Optional: If you like your ribs sauced, apply Coffee Mop Sauce every 30 minutes. Watch carefully so the sugars in the sauce don’t scorch. Also, apply the sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. You can, of course, also offer sauce at the table.

If using a charcoal grill, toss the remaining half of the wood chips on the fire. Continue cooking the ribs until tender and almost done, ½ to 1 hour longer for baby back ribs, somewhat longer for spareribs. If using charcoal, after 1 hour add 10 to 12 fresh coals per side to the grill. The ribs are done when the meat is very tender and it has shrunk back from the ends of the bones.

Fifteen minutes before the end, season the ribs with the remaining Coffee Spice Rub, sprinkling it on.

Coffee Spice Rub


6 servings

Preparation Time

30 Minutes

Total Time

180 Minutes

Reader Comments

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Can decaf coffee be used as the ground coffee in the rub recipe, and as the cup O' Joe in the Coffee Mop Sauce recipe, respectivly?

Decaf Coffee

The Editors's picture

Yes, decaf will work just fine. It’s the coffee flavor we’re after, not the caffeine!

Coffee Mop Sauce:1/3 c

Coffee Mop Sauce:1/3 c coffee,1/3 c beef/chick stock,1/4 cvege oil,1/4 c Worcestershire,2 tbs hot sauce,2 tsp coarse salt.