I am hoping that by the time this recipe is published, we may be just a little close to summer. It sure has been a long time coming and I could do with a barbecue around now.
It is not often that one thinks of using coffee and chocolate with meat, but it is certainly not new.
I do like the great umami flavour that espresso gives to meat. It works well with pork, but equally well with beef. It is best to use a cut of meat that has some fat on it, as it helps to release the oils and flavours of the coffee.
This rub is a blend of spices and herbs, with the addition of a bit of cocoa and finely ground, dark-roasted coffee beans.
The darkly roasted coffee adds a smoky flavour and, with the final addition of brown sugar, a dark caramelized crust to the surface of the ribs.
Enjoy your ribs with a robust red wine or Guinness.
Espresso Baby Back Ribs
60 ml (1/4 cup) finely ground espresso beans
60 ml (1/4 cup) ground chili powder
10 ml (2 tsp) unsweetened cocoa powder
10 ml (2 tsp) smoked Spanish paprika
15 ml (1 tbsp) kosher salt
15 ml (1 tbsp) dried oregano
7.5 ml (11/2 tsp) onion powder
7.5 ml (11/2 tsp) garlic powder
10 ml (2 tsp) freshly ground black pepper
2 racks of baby back ribs
354 ml can (12-oz can) of beer
60 ml (1/4 cup) packed brown sugar
1. Place oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 135 C (275 F)
2. Prepare rub by combining the espresso, chili powder, cocoa, paprika, salt, oregano, onion and garlic powder and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir together.
3. Line a large baking sheet with foil and place the ribs on top.
4. Rub the ribs with half the espresso mixture and place in the oven.
5. Cook until meat has rendered its fat and starts to get tender, about 2 hours.
6. Remove the ribs from the oven and set them on top of two large overlapping pieces of foil that have been sealed by crimping together along their long edge.
7. Pour beer on top of the ribs, fold up and seal the foil tightly.
8. Return meat to oven and cook until 'fall-off-the-bone' tender, about 1 hour.
9. While that is happening, add brown sugar to the remaining rub and combine.
10. Remove the ribs from the oven and raise oven temperature to 190 C (375 F).
11. Discard the liquid, return ribs to baking sheet and generously rub with brown sugar mixture.
12. Return to the oven. Remove ribs when brown sugar rub caramelizes and almost looks burned, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.