Why Coffee is our Secret Ingredient to Making Amazing Baby Back or Spare Ribs by Cleo Coyle

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Coffee? Yes! A quick bath in a few simple cups of coffee is our secret for making the most amazingly juicy, tender, and flavorful ribs. The reason? Most marinades contain some sort of acid—vinegar, lemon or other fruit juice, even alcohol. But too much acid makes meat mushy. (Likewise, boiling ribs robs them of flavor and destroys good texture.) But coffee contains just enough acidity to help the tenderizing process, yet preserve the meat’s texture. 




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There are two additional ingredients that will help you create spectacular ribs. One is salt. It’s not only a flavor enhancer, it also breaks down the connective tissues, which creates tenderness. Sugar is the final ingredient that helps to evenly brown and caramelize the surface without drying it. Putting it all together, here is our quick and easy, one pan marinade for making heavenly pork ribs...


This recipe will work with baby back ribs (pictured above)
or spare ribs, shown in my photo below...


To download a free PDF
of this recipe that you can
print, save, or share,
click here

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
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A Note from Cleo...

My husband and I love the advantages of doing our ribs this way. A simple bath for one quick hour in a few cups of coffee not only provides a fast, foolproof marinade, it also allows us to have fun experimenting with new barbecue sauces every time we make the recipe. 

We might have a tangy sauce one week, a spicy sauce another week, or try a mustard-based sauce. We enjoy experimenting with new sauces and brands on the market and this recipe allows us to do just that. So have fun and eat with joy! ~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Ribs

Ingredients:

2 - 4 pounds pork ribs (baby back or spareribs)

2 - 3 teaspoons coarsely ground sea salt or Kosher salt  


1 teaspoon white pepper


2 - 3 cups (or so) brewed coffee, cooled

1 cup (or so) barbecue sauce* with at least one key ingredient (*see below)

*Key Ingredient: Your barbeque sauce will provide the third secret to great ribs—some form of sugar, which promotes the caramelization of the meat’s surface. So look for a BBQ sauce that contains one of the following: sugar, brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, or honey.


(1) Right out of the refrigerator, the cold ribs should be placed into a large pan and sprinkled with half of the salt and pepper on all sides. Separate ¼ cup of your BBQ sauce and rub all over the ribs. 


(2) Add the cooled brewed coffee to the pan (as shown below, enough for the rib rack’s bottom to be soaking in it), cover with cling wrap and marinate at room temperature for one hour. At the thirty minute mark, flip the ribs to coat evenly. Do not marinate for longer than 1 hour.




(3) Preheat your oven to 350° F. Place a grilling rack over a roasting pan (as shown in my photo below). Coat your grilling rack with nonstick spray. Remove ribs from marinade, and discard the liquid. Do not rinse the ribs. Once again, you salt and pepper both sides, then place ribs on the grilling rack, fat side up. 

This recipe will work for baby back ribs or spare ribs.
The photo above shows spare ribs ready for the oven...

Cooking process (total time 90 to 100 minutes):

1 - Cook for 20 minutes, fat side up, and flip.

2 - Cook for 20 more minutes, fat side down

3 - Flip ribs over (fat side up again), paint with BBQ sauce, and cook for a third 20 minute period.

4 - Flip the ribs again, paint with sauce, and continue cooking for a fourth 20 minute period.

5 - Flip one more time (fat side up) and apply the rest of your sauce. Kick up the oven to 375° F. and cook 10 to 20 minutes more. 

Coffee Spare Ribs
resting before cutting...

Coffee Baby Back Ribs
resting before cutting... 





WHEN IS IT DONE?

Many pitmasters advise that correctly cooked pork ribs should not have meat falling off the bone (don’t shoot the messenger, but this means they’re over-cooked). When you take a bite, the meat should come off with a slight tug, leaving a clean bone (as shown below)...


The meat should be tender and juicy with a gentle chew (like a good steak). After the ribs are done, let them rest for 15 minutes before cutting to allow juices inside the meat to re-collect, and...

Click here for the
free recipe PDF.




Eat (and read) with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle


New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Yes, this is me, Cleo (aka Alice). 
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