On National Coffee Day Try Espresso BBQ Sauce

Coffee and meat? It actually makes sense because the roasted coffee beans have the effect of making the ribs taste meatier. Coffee makes a triple play here: It infuses the brine, it flavors the rub and it scents the fabulous, smoky sauce.


2 tablespoons finely ground dark-roast coffee beans
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder


2 cups cold strong coffee
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vodka, lager beer or nonalcoholic beer
1/4 cup Espresso Rub (see recipe above)
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
4 lb. baby back pork ribs or St. Louis-style spare ribs


1/2 cup cold strong coffee
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 to 2 tablespoons chipotle hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1. Combine Espresso Rub ingredients in small bowl. (Rub can be made 1 week ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

2. Whisk all of the brine ingredients, except ribs, in medium bowl until salt is dissolved. Cut ribs in half (between the 6th and 7th rib). Place ribs in large resealable plastic bag; pour in brine. Place in shallow baking pan. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

3. Whisk sauce ingredients in medium saucepan until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium-low to low. Simmer 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. (Sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month.)[ Ruth: Food safety okay to store for 1 month? Or safer to say 1 week or even 2 weeks??]

4. Remove ribs from brine; pat dry. Discard brine. Sprinkle remaining Espresso Rub over ribs; let stand 15 minutes. (Ribs can be prepared to this point 12 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

5. When ready to grill, set up grill as follows: For charcoal grill: Heat coals in center of grill to medium heat. Divide coals, placing half on each side of grill, leaving center open. Place drip pan between coals. For gas grill: Light two outside sections, leaving middle section unlit (three-burner grill). Or light one side and leave other side unlit (two-burner grill). Place drip pan on unlit side. Heat on high until hot; reduce heat to medium.

6. Place ribs bone-side down over drip pan. Grill, covered, 45 to 60 minutes or until internal temperature in thickest part of ribs registers 180°F. Generously brush top of ribs with half of the sauce (about 2/3 cup). Cover; grill an additional 4 minutes or until sauce is set.

7. Cut ribs between bones; serve with remaining sauce for dipping.

6 servings

PER SERVING: 650 calories, 45 g total fat (16.5 g saturated fat), 43.5 g protein, 17.5 g carbohydrate, 175 mg cholesterol, 1995 mg sodium, 1.5 g fiber

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