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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.


  • For the rub
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground coffee
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili 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)
  • Type of fire: Indirect
  • Grill heat: Low


  1. Mix together the grounded coffee (yes, you'd need a grinder for that), 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.


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I will try this recipe; it sounds very tasty! I've never seen recipes for meat using coffee before, but I think it tastes amazing. The quality of the products I use is now a priority in cooking. Firstly, there is nothing "harmful" in my house, and there is always a huge amount of vegetables and fruits. I also try to find different interesting recipes for myself to diversify my every meal. Most of all, I like to take recipes on the website My wife loves when I cook sweets according to recipes from there, since everything is prepared without sugar, and it turns out incredibly delicious

Last edited by Tarnished

Even if I don't prefer ribs, I suppose they should taste delicious following your recipe. I'm curious if I replace ribs with chicken wings would the final result be the same? I search for new instant pot chicken wings recipes that I can serve in my restaurant. At the moment, coffee-rubbed meat inspires me the most from many other options I found. However, many don't prefer the smell and taste of the coffee spread all over the place.
I have to sleep on your recipe and decide whether to try it or not.

Last edited by Gapapo

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