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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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