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Coffee-Roasted Pork Ribs with Mexican Chocolate Dry Rub

A few weeks ago I had quite the kitchen adventure.  I love to be inspired by recipes but I rarely follow them exactly–I’m a recipe rebel.  This was the inspiration:   I was tuned on a winter Sunday afternoon to NPR’s Splendid Table for a recipe involving slow cooking carrots on coffee beans.  And my immediate thought was, I want to do this with slow-cooked meat.  I want ribs. 

When the coffee beans heat up, the oil from them sweats out, infusing whatever is touching them with those said oils.  And what else goes well with coffee but a little chocolate and spice?

Here is my recipe:

Heat oven to 225 degrees F

1 rack St. Louis-style pork ribs, with bones, of course (mine was about 2 1/5 pounds)

about 1/2 cup whole bean coffee

Line the bottom of your broiler pan, or other heavy shallow baking pan, with parchment paper.   Arrange the coffee beans in a single layer on the parchment paper.  Place meaty side of rib rack on top of beans.

Dry Rub Recipe:

2 T cocoa powder

2 T Red or green chili powder (hot spicy)

1 T cumin

1 T cinnamon

1 T salt

1 T black pepper

1 T red chili flakes

With a rack of St. Louis ribs, one side will be more meaty than the other.  I placed the meaty side down on the coffee beans, so it would absorb more coffee bean oil and flavor.  The dry rub I just dusted over the top, exposed side of the ribs.  The dry rub recipe could be altered for your taste.  I like spicy, flavorful food, so bring on the chili spice!  Or leave it out, or reduce it.  This makes more than enough to coat the ribs, and you’ll have some left over.  I was a little disappointed because the heat wasn’t as prominent as I thought it would be.  I finished it with more cracked black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.

Cook for 4 hours at 225F.  That’s it.

What I’ll try next time:  coffee beans on the bottom and the top of the ribs so that the oil absorbs into the top layer of ribs–trickle down effect?

We served these with pickled onions, to help cut the fat and refresh the palate, and spiced rice. I was craving guacamole & chips with this.  Make a classic slaw, kale salad or ceasar salad for side dishes.    This is in permanent dinner time rotation!

We drank it with 2009 Alain Graillot Crozes Hermitage.  (Northern Rhone French Syrah!)  Big red wine for big flavors!

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