This Baby Back Ribs With Coffee Spice Rub are made with a unique coffee rub mixture that features a hint of cocoa.
If you’re a sauce fan, we’ve also included an option for a “mop” sauce. Good ribs don’t need sauce, but this Coffee Mop Sauce gives that extra zing of flavor. While the ribs are cooking on the grill, you brush the sauce onto the ribs with a mop or basting brush every 30 minutes—and also right before you remove the ribs. You can also serve extra sauce at the table.
If possible, buy ribs from heritage breeds, preferably from local farms that raise their animals humanely. Where your meat comes from is as important as how you cook it. Buy racks that have 8 or more ribs.
This recipe is adapted from Steven Raichlen’s Barbecue Bible.
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
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and break up any lumps with your fingers or a whisk.
- If you are camping, combine ingredientsin a jar, twist the lid on airtight, and shake to mix.
Store in a tightly covered container away from heat or light. Store for up to 6 months. Use on lamb, pork, or beef.
Store away from heat and light up to 6 months.
Total time to make rub is about 10 minutes. Yield is ½ cup.
You can always double recipe if you’d like more rub.