Coffee-Rubbed Beef Back Ribs

Great beef ribs in just 30 to 40 minutes time. Done right, they will have the texture of a nice ribeye steak — we’re not looking for "fall-off-the-bone tender" ribs but something meatier. A barbecue rub with ground coffee gives the ribs an earthy barbecue flavor.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 4 to 6
Image of Coffee-Rubbed Beef Back Ribs

  • 1/4 cup Not-So-Basic Barbecue Rub
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely-ground dark roast coffee (I used Melitta Vienna Roast, Extra-Fine Grind)
  • 2 racks of beef back ribs, 7 to 8 bones each
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Combine the first 3 ingredients to create the coffee barbecue rub.

Prepare a grill for direct grilling at 375°F to 400°F. A charcoal fire is preferred. You’ll know the fire is at the right temp when you hold your hand, palm-down, a couple of inches above the grill grate for a 7-second count before needing to pull it away from the heat.

If the butcher hasn’t already done it for you, remove the membrane from the bone-side of the ribs. You may also want to cut each rack into 2 parts for easier handling on the grill. Dry the ribs with paper towels and then lightly brush on both sides with olive oil.

Sprinkle the bone sides of the ribs with a moderate amount of coffee barbecue rub and work it in with your fingers. Spread a generous amount of the rub onto the meat side and massage that in as well. Let the seasoned ribs rest for about 20 minutes.

Place the seasoned ribs on the grill directly above the fire with the bone side down. Close the grill hood and cook for 20 minutes, rotating the ribs as needed for even cooking.

Turn the ribs over to put the meat side down. Close the hood and continue cooking for 10 to 20 minutes more. Again, rotate the ribs occasionally for even cooking.

Keep an eye out for burning rub. The surface of the ribs should remain a rich, mahogany color and should not turn black. With a charcoal fire, the dying heat is good for this stage of the cooking. For a gas fire, you may wish to turn the heat down slightly during the second half of the cooking.

When done, the ribs should be bubbling as the fat is rendered away, and the rub should have turned into a nice crust. If you get it just right, there will be a tree bark-like texture to the outside of the meat.

Remove the ribs from the grill and let them rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Slice the ribs apart and serve separated. When slicing, start at the rib end where only a single bone tip is visible for each rib.

Cut toward the other end where you will eventually encounter the chine bone. At this point, jog left or right to continue separating the ribs and work around the chine bone.

Try this recipe with sides of Tequila Baked Beans