Oven-Baked Espresso, Cocoa, and Chili-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Sunday Supper

Cooking projects for people who'd like nothing more than to spend a sunday afternoon surrounded by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen.

Oven-Baked Espresso, Cocoa, and Chili-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
  • Yield:Serves 4
  • Active time:10 minutes
  • Total time:3 1/2 hours
  • Rated: 2.5
This recipe appears in:
Sunday Supper: Oven-Baked Espresso, Cocoa, and Chili-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Slowly cooked, oven-baked ribs are cloaked in a smoky rub that includes Spanish paprika, espresso, chile and cocoa. [Photograph: Jennifer Olvera]

About the author: Jennifer Olvera is a veteran food and travel writer and author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Chicago." Follow her on Twitter @olverajennifer.

Every recipe we publish is tested, tasted, and Serious Eats-approved by our staff. Never miss a recipe again by following @SeriousRecipes on Twitter!


  • 1/4 cup finely ground espresso beans
  • 1/4 cup ground chili powder, such as ancho
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 racks of baby back ribs
  • 12-ounce can of beer
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar


  1. 1.

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275°F.

  2. 2.

    Prepare rub by adding espresso, chile powder, cocoa, paprika, salt, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper to a small bowl. Stir to combine.

  3. 3.

    Place ribs on a large, foil-lined baking sheet and coat with half of the rub. Place in the oven and cook until meat has rendered its fat and starts to get tender, about 2 hours.

  4. 4.

    Remove ribs from the oven and set them on top of two large overlapping pieces of foil that have been crimped together along their long edge. Pour beer on top of the ribs, fold up foil, and seal tightly. Return meat to oven and continue cooking until fall-off-the-bone tender, about 1 hour longer.

  5. 5.

    While the ribs are cooking, add brown sugar to remaining rub and combine. Remove ribs from oven and raise oven temperature to oven to 375°F. Discard liquid, return ribs to baking sheet and generously rub with brown sugar mixture. Return to oven. Remove ribs when brown sugar rub caramelizes and almost looks burned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately

Serious Eats Newsletters

Keep up with our latest recipes, tips, techniques and where to eat!


Add a rating with your comment:

Comments can take up to a minute to appear - please be patient!

Previewing your comment: