Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Why Coffee is Our Secret Ingredient to Making Amazing Ribs + #Giveaway News from Cleo Coyle

Marc and I are working hard under a deadline to finish our next Coffeehouse Mystery, but we didn't want to miss the opportunity to share a tasty recipe with you!

A few readers asked us to re-share our "Coffee Ribs" recipe, and with summer grilling season almost here, we're pleased to do just that. We hope you enjoy our recipe today, as well as the tender and juicy sweet ribs it produces...

Coffee? Yes! A quick bath in a few simple cups of coffee is our secret for making the most amazing ribs. The reason? 
Most marinades contain some sort of acid—vinegar, lemon or other fruit juice, even alcohol. But too much acid makes meat mushy. (Likewise, boiling ribs robs them of flavor and destroys good texture.) But coffee contains just enough acidity to help the tenderizing process, yet preserve the meat’s texture. 

There are two additional ingredients that will help you create spectacular ribs. One is salt. It’s not only a flavor enhancer, it also breaks down the connective tissues, which creates tenderness. Sugar is the final ingredient that helps to evenly brown and caramelize the surface without drying it. Putting it all together, here is our quick and easy, one pan marinade for making heavenly pork ribs.

This recipe will work with baby back ribs (pictured above)
or spare ribs, shown in my photo below.

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.
A Note from Cleo

My husband and I like the advantages of doing our ribs this way. A simple bath for one quick hour in a few cups of coffee not only provides a fast, foolproof marinade, it also allows us to have fun experimenting with new barbecue sauces every time we make the recipe. 

We might have a tangy sauce one week, a spicy sauce another week, or try a mustard-based sauce. We enjoy experimenting with new sauces and brands on the market and this recipe allows us to do just that. So have fun and eat with joy! ~ Cleo

To download a free PDF
of this recipe that you can
print, save, or share, click here.

Click for Cleo's free recipe PDF.

Cleo Coyle's
Coffee Ribs


2 - 4 pounds pork ribs (baby back or spareribs)

2 - 3 teaspoons coarsely ground sea salt or Kosher salt  

1 teaspoon white pepper

2 - 3 cups (or so) brewed coffee, cooled

1 cup (or so) barbecue sauce* with at least one key ingredient (*see below)

*Key Ingredient: Your barbeque sauce will provide the third secret to great ribs—some form of sugar, which promotes the caramelization of the meat’s surface. So look for a BBQ sauce that contains one of the following: sugar,
brown sugar, molasses, corn syrup, or honey.

(1) Right out of the refrigerator, the cold ribs should be placed into a large pan and sprinkled with half of the salt and pepper on all sides. Separate ¼ cup of your BBQ sauce and brush all over the ribs. 

(2) Add the cooled brewed coffee to the pan (as shown below, enough for the rib rack’s bottom to be soaking in it), cover with cling wrap and marinate at room temperature for one hour. At the thirty minute mark, flip the ribs to coat evenly. Do not marinate for longer than 1 hour.

(3) Preheat your oven to 350° F. Place a grilling rack over a roasting pan (as shown in my photo below). Coat your grilling rack with nonstick spray. Remove ribs from marinade, and discard the liquid. Do not rinse the ribs. Once again, you salt and pepper both sides, then place ribs on the grilling rack, fat side up. 

This recipe will work for baby back ribs or spare ribs.
The photo above shows spare ribs ready for the oven...

Cooking process (total time 90 to 100 minutes):

1 - Cook for 20 minutes, fat side up, and flip.

2 - Cook for 20 more minutes, fat side down

3 - Flip ribs over (fat side up again), paint with BBQ sauce, and cook for a third 20 minute period.

4 - Flip the ribs again, paint with sauce, and continue cooking for a fourth 20 minute period.

5 - Flip one more time (fat side up) and apply the rest of your sauce. Kick up the oven to 375° F. and cook 10 to 20 minutes more. 

Coffee Spare Ribs
resting before cutting...

Coffee Baby Back Ribs
resting before cutting... 


Many pitmasters advise that correctly cooked pork ribs should not have meat falling off the bone (don’t shoot the messenger, but this means they’re over-cooked). When you take a bite, the meat should come off with a slight tug, leaving a clean bone (as shown below)...

The meat should be tender and juicy with a gentle chew (like a good steak). After the ribs are done, be sure to let them rest at least 15 minutes before cutting to allow juices inside the meat to re-collect, and...

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is us -- Alice and Marc.
Together we write as Cleo Coyle. 

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  1. Sorry that I'm not so much into cooking (as an older/single/widow/with tiny kitchen) as I once upon a time was ~ though all this looks delicious and tempting. Have just popped in here with a huge THANK YOU for the "how to fix one's header sizing" info FINALLY found ... also a long, long time blogger thrown into a really tizzy by this so totally appreciated your guidance. Happy Cooking!

    1. Hello and welcome to Mystery Lovers' Kitchen! I am so glad to know that my Blogger "workaround" HTML worked for you on fixing the Header sizing issues that have arisen via some kind of bug (or intentional re-programming) of Blogger's Header Widget. I spent three hours in the wee hours in my own tizzy until I puzzled out the solution. Suffice it to say, I certainly know how my amateur sleuths feel when presented with a confounding mystery! Cheers and the best of luck in your blogging!

      ~ Cleo

  2. I can personally attest to this recipe's excellence!
    And the new book is equally tasty!!!

    PS Cleo, I used your Carnitas recipe again last week. Another delicious success!

    1. Very kind of you, Libby, thank you! And cheers for the reminder on the carnitas. Marc and I haven't made them lately. Time to eat some "little meats." ~ For anyone wondering where to find our carnitas recipe, we published it in the back of our 11th Coffeehouse Mystery: A BREW TO A KILL.

      Thanks so much for stopping by today, Libby. Marc and I wish you a delicious week and Memorial Day weekend!

      ~ Cleo

  3. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy do these look amazing! Can you say summertime grilling? :)

    1. Thank you, Leslie, and we are absolutely with you! So ready for summer and all the tasty foods it brings. Cheers for stopping by today. Marc and I wish you a wonderful week and tasty Memorial Day weekend!

      ~ Cleo

  4. I like to eat good ribs and these sound really good. Maybe I can talk my DIL into making some. She is the cook around here mostly.
    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

    1. Hey, Linda - Thanks for stopping by. Marc and I always enjoy these ribs. Hope you get a chance to try them. In the meantime, have a great Memorial Day weekend.

      ~ Cleo
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