Coffee-Rubbed Ribs Recipe

Joshua Bousel

At the start of my barbecue career I fumbled through a few rubs before finding Mike Mill's Magic Dust recipe. There's now a mason jar full of it in my cupboard at all times. Keeping a steady rub constant allowed me to focus on how to slow-smoke a piece of meat to perfection, and after seven years, I'm now feeling pretty comfortable with that.

But I'm back to playing around with rubs, and finally tried one I've always found intriguing: a coffee rub.

Not a coffee drinker myself, I wasn't sure how this would go over, but I ended up loving it—the way the coffee plays with the other spices, smoke, and meat. And the coffee-ness didn't dominate. Rather, the ground beans added an earthy quality to an already complex mix of flavors. The ribs eaten dry were fantastic, but even better with a coating of stout barbecue sauce.

Recipe Details

Coffee-Rubbed Ribs Recipe

Active 60 mins
Total 7 hrs
Serves 4 to 6 servings


For the Rub:

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander

  • 2 racks spare ribs, preferably St. Louis cut

  • Stout barbecue sauce (optional)


  1. Mix together the coffee, salt, paprika, chile powder, dark brown sugar, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, coco powder, and coriander in a small bowl to make the rub.

  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the rack, and trim the ribs. Rub each rack liberally with the rub. Wrap ribs in foil or place in a large container and store in the refrigerator over night (optional).

  3. Remove the ribs from the fridge while preparing the smoker. Fire up the smoker to 225°F, adding a few chunks of smoking wood chunks when at temperature. When the wood is producing smoke, place the ribs in the smoker, meat side up, and smoke until the ribs have a slight bend when lifted from one end, about 5-6 hours. If using sauce, brush on the sauce and continue to cook until sauce has caramelized, about 15-20 minutes longer. Remove from the smoker, slice, and serve.

Special equipment


Nutrition Facts (per serving)
412 Calories
29g Fat
17g Carbs
22g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 412
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 29g 38%
Saturated Fat 9g 43%
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 1635mg 71%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 483mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)