June 13, 2010

Honoring Dad

Coffee Brushed BBQ Ribs...

Looking back on my childhood, there are certain things about my dad that stand in the forefront of my mind. Good things.

The funny little nicknames he would call us.

The father-daughter camp-outs.

Sitting with him in a velvet chair, reading mail-order bedtime stories.

Dad's ability to weave a memory into a colorful tale of years past. He could make some of the horrors of his own childhood sound like classic fairytales!

His "workshop", which was the corner of our garage, where he made wooden things. Mostly little cars, name plates and Christmas ornaments.

Dad's love of history and antiques.

Dad's obsession for coffee, at least 2 pots a day. And of course, his extensive coffee cup collection to keep up with the addiction.

Dad's love for grilling and smoking meat.  He had an enormous smoking cabinet that was the envy of every man in our suburban neighborhood.

Along with fond memories and associations, my dad has taught me many important lessons over the years, both directly and indirectly. He taught me to say what I mean, and mean what I say. He taught me to work hard...without whining about it. He taught me that respect must be earned, not demanded. He taught me that life doesn't always dish out what you want, but you can still move forward with a positive attitude! He taught me that Faith, Integrity, and Extending Grace To Others, are the highest virtues one can hold. THANKFUL doesn't quite cover how I feel about him.

Three aromas I ALWAYS identify with my father are sawdust, coffee, and hickory-smoke. Every time I smell one of these, I draw in a deep, placid breath and I'm immediately overcome with warm thoughts of him.  It's no wonder, that when I think of making a meal for dad, I feel the urge to combine large slabs of MEAT and coffee!

Introducing coffee-infused BBQ sauce! A sauce with all that's pure and holy about traditional (mid-western) BBQ sauces, plus a dark bitter undertone that is strikingly distinct. Slather this on tender, juicy baby back ribs and grill to produce a crusty bark like no other. The succulent shreds of pork and smoky, caramelized crust are a carnivorous monument, able to birth a sense of one's proper place in the food chain. I dare say, it's enough to make a vegetarian stray! (Maybe I'm getting carried away, but these are awfully good ribs!)

Love you dad!


I don't have a smoking cabinet like dad's, so I improvise by steaming the ribs in the oven with a little liquid smoke to mimic the flavor. Then I grill them to crisp up the fat and develop that famous "bark" required of GOOD ribs. It works best on the grill, but you could also do this under the broiler--just be careful! BBQ sauce burns FAST under the broiler!

Coffee-Infused BBQ Baby Back Ribs

4 tsp. chile powder
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. cayenne
2 rack baby back ribs
1 tsp. liquid smoke

1 Tb. oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup cider vinegar
½ cup soy sauce
1- 28 oz. can tomato puree
3 Tb. molasses
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. instant coffee granules
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tb. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. cayenne

Preheat the oven to *350. Mix the first seven ingredients in a small bowl.

Cut each rack in several pieces and rub the spices over all the rib sections. You can leave the ribs whole if you like the way they look better--I just think they are easier to handle on the grill in smaller pieces! Pour 4 cups of water and 1 tsp. of liquid smoke in a roasting pan.

Place the ribs in the pan, top up. Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and rest until ready to grill. Meanwhile, add 1 Tb. oil to a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Then add the rest of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce to the sauce pan. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Heat a grill over medium-low heat. Brush the ribs completely with BBQ sauce. Place them on the grill and cook for 20 minutes, turning and brushing every 5 minutes until the desired “bark” has developed.

*It's fun to make your own BBQ sauce. But in a pinch, buy a bottled variety you like and simmer for a few minutes with the coffee granules!

Coffee-Infused BBQ Baby Back Ribs on Foodista


  1. Beautiful job with the ribs. A fabulous recipe indeed.


  2. Mmmmmmm! I guess we are eating at your house for Father's day. You fix the ribs and I'll bring the beer.

  3. I think your dad and I would have gotten along very well Sommer :) And , when I saw the post title and the photo, you know what I thought? "Damn! This is just the kind of thing that stops me being vegan!!" No kidding! LOL

    I love the recipe and the photos are just incredible, but then, that's nothing new!

  4. Thanks for the great recipe, Sommer. I have some buffalo ribs in the freezer. I know my Dad would have loved to eat your ribs. He used to smoke pipes and the smell reminds me of him. It is said that smells are much more intens for our memory than anything else.

  5. The men in my life would love this recipe too! Your photos are great, love the ribs with the corn and beer, you've thought of everything! A perfect post to celebrate Father's Day.

  6. beautiful posts, i love my dad and have great childhood memeories with him, 2 pots of coffee wow your dad should get together and drink coffee with my hubby, he drinks coffee all day, and I'm the one with the coffee cup addiction..great recipe love how you added coffee..i'm sure he loved that part..


  7. Wow these look great. Gotta love some well cooked ribs.

  8. Any dad would be happy with a meal like this one.

  9. I've never tried making ribs before - maybe I will now! Sounds like you have a great dad - he must be proud of you too!

  10. Your dad sounds wonderful, and the ribs looks so tasty.

  11. If you don't have instant coffee in the house and don't want to buy a whole jar just for cooking, try the Starbucks Via. It's ground superfine so a little bit goes a long way. I've found usually you need 1 tsp for every 2 that the recipe calls for. Because it's ground so fine, it blends with other spices easily and dissolves in liquid instantly.

    I thought maybe the SN Pale Ale in the background was part of the recipe ... works just as well on the side as it does in the sauce, though!!

  12. The ribs looks amazing. Great post about the good memories of your dad.

  13. They are making me hungry. How can you go wrong with pork and coffee?

  14. I clicked on your blog...and I almost die !!! For a carnivorous Argentinian, to see those ribs....You almost killed me !! =D
    Very interesting recipe, new to me!!
    I loved your memories about your dad !
    Congrats on the blog!

  15. The coffee-infused BBQ sauce sounds fantastic and just perfect on the baby back ribs!

  16. Dear Sommer! I am still recovering from wiping the drool off my keyboard. These are some HARDCORE ribs and now I know where to come when I want to make these.

    You are going to make DAD SO PROUD!!!! You could not have done a better job.

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. I forgot to mention how lovely your heartfelt sentiments are....didn't want to leave without letting you know :)

    Ciao, Devaki

  18. Oh those look incredible, I am so intrigued about the coffee...I think you just mastered the art of cooking ribs, and I'm sure your dad must be so proud of you. He definitely taught life's essential things and it shows :o) - gorgeous job!

  19. Wonderful post, amazing how we identify so much with our scenes through memory...A Happy Fathers Day to your Dad! Great and original recipe:)Love this!

  20. I like you dad
    he sounds like the very best kind
    I also like your ribs
    they sound like the best kind too!

  21. what a beautiful dedication. Our dads inspire us so much ;-)

  22. I love the way you've honored your dad here (who sounds like a wonderful man) but also these baby back ribs with your innovative sauce. What a concept: coffee BBQ! Fabulous!

  23. The ribs look wonderful and finger licking good. Your Dad is going to love your tribute to him. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  24. Oh my sweet Lord this is amazing.

  25. Beautiful, your dad must be proud of you!

  26. I love the idea of adding coffee into the bbq sauce, Sommer! Very creative. I rarely tackle large pieces of meat - you are inpiring. ( :

  27. Excellent idea of adding coffee for your bbq sauce. The ribs looks gorgeous.
    Thank you for sharing a story about your Dad. He sounds like a wonderful Dad.

  28. Wow, what a beautiful meal, looks stunning, I'm drooling here. LOL The corn also looks yummy.

  29. Beautiful ribs! I just made some a couple of days ago and wondered why I don't do it more often. Nice tribute to your dad. :-)

  30. Love my dad, and he loves to grill! This post definitely made me think of him... And longing for summers grilling out on the deck in the sun.

    And by the way, I left you an award over on my blog! :)

  31. I think you have a COOl dad!! A lovely post this surely is!

    You treat your dad very well with these special ribs recipe!! waw!! I Personally I don't like ribs but it sure looks so tasty!!!

  32. What great memories you have of your father. Thank you for sharing such a lovely tribute and a great recipe. Those ribs look fabulous! The corn in the top picture also looks yummy!!!

  33. This is so nice...those ribs look wonderful.

  34. Wow, those ribs look amazing! What a special way to honor Dad :)

  35. these look so delicious! I'm making ribs for fathers day this weekend myself. Something about good hearty meat just screams proper fathers day supper.

  36. I really like the addition of coffee here! Definitely going to have to try this one :)

  37. Baby back ribs with coffee-infused BBQ sauce sounds perfect!


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