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sticky bbq spare rubs

Sticky BBQ spare ribs with a coffee & pepper rub


The coffee and pepper rub adds such an amazing depth of flavour to the ribs that you will want to put it on all your meat!

  • Serves: 2 |
    2 servings
  • Rating:

  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 10 mins |
  • Cook Time : 2:30 hours
Categories: Mains, Pork
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1.5 kg pork ribs

Coffee Rub

2 Tbsp (30 ml) sea salt or smoked salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) black peppercorns
1 tsp (5 ml) ground sumac
3 tsp (15 ml) ground coffee
½ tsp (2.5 ml) garlic powder (optional)
1 tsp (5 ml) cocoa powder

Barbecue Sauce

1 onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
¼ C (60 ml) red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tomato paste
2 Tbsp (30ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp (20 ml) Dijon mustard
½ C (125 ml) water
¼ C (60 ml) tomato sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
¾ C (185 ml) honey
1–2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) chopped chipotle chilli in adobo sauce or chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (2 Tbsp will make it quite hot)
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground cumin
½ tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika

Place all the rub 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 as it can be quite unpleasant. Rub both sides of the pork ribs with the rub, place in a Ziploc® bag and store in the refrigerator to marinade overnight.

When you are ready to cook the ribs, remove them from the refrigerator about an hour before you want to cook them and bring them to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Place the ribs in a metal ovenproof dish, cover tightly with foil and cook for 2½ hours.

While the ribs are cooking, make the barbecue sauce. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until soft, for 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 – this should take 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 if you prefer.

After 2½ 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 for another 10 – 15 minutes.

You should have a little extra sauce left to serve with these ribs, along with loads of napkins! Potato wedges, sweet potato chips and coleslaw are excellent accompaniments.


• Chipotles are small peppers that have been dried by a smoking process that gives them a dark colour and a distinctive smoky flavor. The adobo sauce is a hot Mexican red sauce that also has a smoky flavour.

• If you can’t get hold of chipotle chillies, substitute with finely chopped pickled jalapeño chillies.

• Sumac is a ground spice from the Middle East. It has a sour, lemony flavour that works well with meat, rice and pulses.