sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub

sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub

I made these sticky BBQ ribs for a recent Crush Magazine feature about recipes with coffee. I tweaked my previous version of it to make these. This recipe takes time but there is minimal effort involved. The coffee and pepper rub adds such an amazing depth of flavour, you will want to put it on all your meat in the future. The slow roasting leaves the meat falling off the bone, and the barbecue sauce will have you licking your lips. If you cant get hold of chipotle chillies, substitute with finely chopped pickled jalapeno chillies. I cook the chipotle barbecue sauce for around an hour until it becomes sticky, thick and delicious.

sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub

sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub.

Print Recipe
sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub


  • 1.5 kg pork ribs
  • coffee rub
  • 2 T Sea Salt or smoked salt
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 t sumac
  • 3 t ground coffee
  • 1/2 t garlic powder optional
  • 1 t cocoa powder
  • barbecue sauce
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T + 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of tomato sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3/4 cup of honey
  • 1 – 2 T chopped chipotle chilli in adobo sauce 2 = quite hot
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika


  • Place all the ingredients in a spice grinder and pulse until it turns into a fine powder. Be careful not to inhale this when you open the lid. Rub both sides of your pork belly ribs with the rub, place in a ziploc bag and store in the fridge to marinade over night.Remove your ribs from the fridge about an hour before you cook them, bringing them back to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Place the ribs in a metal oven dish, cover tightly with foil and cook for 2.5 hours.
  • While the ribs are cooking, make the barbecue sauce. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and allow the liquid to almost cook off. Add all the other ingredients and cook on a low simmer until the sauce thickens – about an hour. If you find it is too thick, thin it down with a bit more water. Allow it to cool and then process this to a smooth consistency using a hand-held blender. Or, you can leave it a little chunky.
  • After 2.5 hours, remove the foil and baste both sides of the ribs with the sauce, and continue to cook. Turn after 15 minutes and cook the other side.
  • You should have a little extra sauce to serve these ribs with, along with wet wipes and loads of napkins.
  • Potato wedges, sweet potato chips and slaw are excellent accompaniments for these ribs.

sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee and pepper rub

I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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  1. DROOL

  2. Oh wow those look amazing!

  3. I’ve never cooked ribs before. And I’ve been steadily working myself up to the task, because from never having been remotely interested, I somehow now fantasize about perfect, succulent ribs… I think your recipe is the one Sam.

  4. Robyn the best part about ribs is they literally cook themselves 🙂 #winning

  5. These look incredibly good! I love using coffee in savory dishes. I remember a risotto dish sprinkled with capers and ground coffee. Sounds crazy, but was so good. Definitely need to make that again. And these ribs? Bookmarked as well!

  6. I rarely make any recipe more than once because there are so many to try. These, however, I have made three times, and am going for a fourth this weekend. I’m vegetarian, so I haven’t tried them myself, but the most frequent comment from family and guests? – “These are the best ribs I have ever eaten!” Thanks for a wonderful dish that I can make and serve with confidence. Also, the barbecue sauce, when made with veggie Worcestershire, is fabulous on tofu.

  7. Hi Vivian, oh wow this comment really made my day AND you are a vegetarian. Im so glad you enjoy these ribs. Got to say they are the best for me (and a friend that ate them) too.

  8. Mike in Canada (and sometimes L.A.) says:

    Sam, 3 of my most favorite things: coffee, ribs, and photography. Stunning and inspiring work! Thank you for a great coffee recipe to add to my collection (lamb, duck, steak, mmmm!), and the beautiful image as well! Cheers from Mike in Canada 🙂

  9. Thanks so much for the convey comment Mike in Canada 🙂

  10. Oh wow! Love BBQ, Love coffee, never thought about combining them! Incredible.

  11. Thanks, Javier, it adds a lovely depth but you don’t particularly taste it

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