Cocoa & Coffee Spare Ribs

coffee-cocoa-ribs

Coffee & Cocoa are the prime ingredients to make these tasty ribs!

I realize that neither of the ingredients listed are normally associated with ribs. Would it help if I mentioned that chili powder was involved too?  It probably won’t help that I actually used fresh ground coffee and not liquid coffee.  I know it sounds odd, but it turned out to be a really well rounded rub with many layers of flavor.

Ingredients

Ingredients for rub

bowl-ingredients

Combine all ingredients except for the ribs, salt and pepper in a bowl and then mix together well.

The ribs were brined overnight in apple juice, garlic, black pepper and salt.  The ratio is one gallon of fluid per cup of salt. Add in a dozen turns of black pepper, a quarter cup of garlic and refrigerate overnight.  The Grillin’ Fools are big proponents of brining but this step is definitely optional.

The next day, remove the ribs from the brine, rinse under cold water and pat dry.

The recipe calls for three slabs of ribs and I only have two slabs (four half slabs) here. The recipe makes enough rub to cover three slabs, but you don’t have to do three slabs. Keep the rub sealed and dry and it will be good for weeks.

ribs-with-rub

Lay the ribs out bone side up (very important), hit them with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper and then apply the rub as liberally as you like (we chose very liberally).

rib-rub-patting

After the rub is applied, kneed the rub into the meat and let it set for a few minutes so it will adhere better to the meat.

Here’s why you always do the bone side first.  If you do the meat side first and then flip, wherever the rubbed meat touched the cutting board, the rub will stick to the board rather than the meat when you pick the slabs up to put them on the grill.  This way, the natural concave of the bones keeps the meat and the rub elevated off the cutting board, and saves you from having to reapply rub to the meat side when you put them on the grill.

flip-ribs-rub

Flip the ribs over and repeat the process. See how the bones elevate the ribs off the board?

rubbed-ribs

The ribs are rubbed!

This 940X is the newest addition to our favorite charcoal cookers - joining a 20+ year 940X

940-x-indirect

The Char-Broil 940X is prepped for two zone or indirect grilling (coals and smoke wood on one side, meat on the other). Target temperature for the cooking chamber is 300°F and cooking time is two hours. Vary cooking time based on how hot the grill runs during the cooking process. The smoke wood I used was hickory.

The ribs are darkening fast. That’s not because the grill is too hot, it’s because the rub has three very dark ingredients in it – coffee, chocolate and chili powder. At least that’s what I was telling myself when I opened the grill at the 30 minute mark…

30-minutes

After 30 minutes, the ribs look like this.

1-hour-ribs

After an hour, they're getting even darker.

90-minutes-ribs

At 90 minutes, I was starting to get a little nervous about how black they were getting.

At the two hour mark, I was certain that there was no way these were going to be any good, but I pulled them anyway to let them rest.

2-hour-ribs

At the two hour mark, I was certain that there was no way these were going to be any good

After resting, to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, I sliced the ribs and despite the black exterior, the interior looked about perfect – nice smoke ring and still juicy:

I was really impressed with the flavor when I sampled them. This rub combines the savory, earthy flavor of the coffee, with the sweet of the chocolate and the heat of the chili. The coriander, paprika, ginger, mustard, and oregano help to balance out this well layered rub.  The only draw back is how black they get, but don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe next time you make ribs.  ~ Grilling Fools

Cocoa & Coffee Spare Rib RUB

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

This rub combines the savory, earthy flavor of the coffee, with the sweet of the chocolate and the heat of the chili. The coriander, paprika, ginger, mustard, and oregano help to balance out this well layered rub. The only draw back is how black they get, but don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe next time you make ribs. Rub Recipe by Grillin' Fools

Ingredients

  • 3 slabs of ribs 1/4 cup coffee, finely ground (I used a decaf hazelnut blend, although decaf nor hazelnut are required)
  • 1/4 ground chocolate with cocoa
  • 2 tbsp ancho chili powder (you can use regular chili powder, but I would cut it by 25-50% or they may be too spicy)
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then mix together well.

Notes

The recipe makes enough rub to cover three slabs, but you don’t have to do three slabs. Keep the rub sealed and dry and it will be good for weeks.

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4 Comments
  1. The list of ingredients needs updates.
    Cocoa & Coffee Spare Rib RUB

    Ingredients

    •1/4 ground chocolate with cocoa

    1/4 what?

    Thanks, I’m planning to do this Saturday.

  2. Hi, I have one of the grills with two open gas burners and two of the infrared plates. Is there a way I could perform the cooking operations described above with this set up.

    Thanx
    Stu

    • Stu,

      Here’s how to do this on that type of grill. Get yourself some wood chips, and put a couple dry handfuls of them onto a sheet of foil and make it into a foil ball. Poke holes in the foil with a sharp knife. Do not use soaked chips or this will not work. On the grill, crank up the heat on just one side and take the grill grates off that side. Put the foil balls right onto the flames (I said balls as you probably want to do 2-3 at a time) and keep playing with the flames on that side until you get the internal temp of the grill to around 300 on the side with no heat. Put your ribs on that side. You will probably have to replace the foil balls every hour. With Baby Backs’ this process should take about 2-2.5 hours and 2.5-3 hours for spares. Good luck…

      …….Scott Thomas
      The Original Grillin’ Fool

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