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!