Chipotle-Coffee BBQ Ribs

Mmmmmmm, ribs!

There’s not much else to say. They’re so messy, tasty, and fun.

This is the final piece from our Tahoe weekend menu. It’s easy really to adjust this recipe for whatever size crowd you’re feeding. We made 3 large slabs using these quantities for the sauce, but if you’re making fewer racks, you’ll just have more extra sauce to serve on the side, and that is definitely not a bad thing. The sauce allows for a lot of flexibility, so feel free to put your own spin on the seasoning.

Check out Greg’s Cheddar and Green Onion Smashed Potatoes and my Roasted Corn and Tomato Salad to complete the menu.

Chipotle-Coffee BBQ Ribs


Up to 3 racks of St. Louis-style spareribs (approximately 2 to 2.5 pounds each, baby back should work equally well), cleaned and trimmed of any silver skin
4-6 garlic cloves, finely minced, divided
1.5-2 oranges, juiced, plus 1-2 Tbsp of the grated zest
½ cup finely diced onion
¼ - ½ cup canned chipotle with sauce
¼ - ⅓ cup of coffee
1 cup ketchup
1-2 Tbsp honey


1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Sprinkle the ribs liberally with salt, pepper, ½ of the minced garlic, and a liberal pinch of the orange zest. Rub the mixture well into the rib meat. Place the ribs in a greased baking dish(es). Pour 2-3 tablespoons of orange juice over each slab of ribs. Cover loosely with foil and place in the oven and cook for 2.5 hours, or until very tender. (Check on the ribs after 2 hours, as you’ll be able to get away with less time in the oven if you’re making a smaller quantity. However, since they’re cooking low and slow, the extra time shouldn’t hurt them either.)

3. Prepare the sauce while the ribs are in the oven. Cook onions in a sauce hot with a little oil over medium to medium-high heat until soft and lightly browned. Add the remaining garlic and cook for another minute or two. Deglaze the pan with the coffee, then add ketchup, remaining orange juice, and honey. Season with salt, pepper and remaining orange zest to taste. Stir and simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce. Adjust seasoning and keep sauce warm until the ribs come out of the oven.

Note: Sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. If it gets too thick, adjust consistency with a little extra orange juice, coffee, or water. If it’s too thin, simmer over medium-high heat for a while longer until the desired consistency is reached.

4. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Make sure to scrape down residue from grates once the grill is warm, and oil the grates when you're ready to cook.

5. Ribs are ready to come out of the oven when the meat is fork tender.  Remove from the oven and transfer to a large rack or platter. Once cool enough to handle, brush the ribs racks with sauce. Set aside any extra sauce. Transfer ribs to the grill and sear on each side until well marked.  Transfer ribs to a platter and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Note: We used a gas grill, you certainly use a charcoal grill, just plan accordingly.  If you don’t have access to a grill, you can also broil in the oven for a couple of minutes on each side.

6. Optional: Add some of the rib drippings to any remaining sauce, then simmer to reduce the sauce back to desired consistency.

7. Once the ribs have rested, cut into portions then serve with extra sauce on the side.

For another take on ribs, check out my Sesame BBQ Ribs.

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