How to Barbeque Ribs With Coffee

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Use coffee when barbecuing your next rack of ribs.
Use coffee when barbecuing your next rack of ribs. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Barbecue ribs are a crowd-pleasing favorite that brings back memories of summer cook-outs with friends and family. Using coffee to season your beef or pork ribs gives the entree a strong, savory flavor while helping to tenderize the meat. The acidic quality of coffee helps to tenderize the ribs while complementing the rich flavors of the meat. Although you can cook ribs only over a hot grill, the most common way to prepare ribs is by combining oven cooking with grilling, making ribs a great main course virtually year-round.

Things You'll Need

  • Large roasting pan
  • Rack of ribs
  • Aluminum foil
  • Dry rub spice mix
  • Finely-ground coffee grounds
  • 3 cups brewed coffee
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Basting brush

Create a spice rub using a combination of your favorite spices and finely-ground coffee grounds. For best results, grind your own coffee beans using an at-home coffee grinder. Include spices such as salt and pepper, chili powder, garlic powder or cayenne pepper in your spice rub.

Rub the ribs on all surfaces with the dry rub and place in a large roasting pan. Allow the ribs to rest of one hour at room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pour freshly-brewed coffee over the ribs and cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Place the roasting pan in the oven and cook for up to two hours or until the meat is tender. Remove from the oven. You can let the ribs rest for a few minutes before placing them on the grill if you need time to prepare side dishes, so long as they keep an internal temperature of over 140 degrees. Always refrigerate the ribs if you are cooking them several hours before you plan to put them on the grill.

When ready to grill the ribs, heat the grill to medium heat, around 250 degrees.

Place ribs on the medium heat grill. Turn the ribs over every five minutes, for 20 minutes total. Using a basting brush, coat all surfaces of the ribs with barbecue sauce at each turn.

Remove from heat once a thick coating of darkened barbecue sauce has accumulated on the meat’s surface. Serve immediately.

Tips & Warnings

  • Freshly-ground coffee is best for your spice rub. The flavors in freshly-ground coffee are more intense than instant or pre-ground coffee beans.
  • For a stronger flavor, use dark roast coffee in your spice rub. Lighter roasts will give you a subtlety which may be suitable for diners who prefer a mild coffee flavor.
  • Substitute beer or water for the brewed coffee when cooking in the oven if you want a milder flavor.
  • Always wash your hands and sanitize work surfaces after handling raw meat. Improper handling can cause the spread of germs that lead to food-borne illnesses.
  • Use a solid reusable roasting pan for your ribs. The pan will be heavy when the ribs are combined with three cups of liquid. A foil roasting pan poses a burn threat as it may collapse from the weight.
  • Cooking does not diminish the amount of caffeine in coffee. Take this into consideration if cooking for diners who avoid caffeine.

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