Hello and welcome to this edition of the smoking meat newsletter! Over the years, I have had a lot of questions concerning the use of a brine on pork ribs and while I have brined ribs, the results were inconclusive and I wanted to take another stab at it.

I decided to use a coffee brine to give the ribs some added dimension and I even went so far as to introduce some coffee grounds into my original rub (purchase recipes here) to bring some cohesiveness to the flavors.

If you haven't tried it, coffee is an excellent flavor to add to meats and the coffee flavor definitely came through in these smoked baby back ribs.

Important Information
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Brine Time: 4-6 hours
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F
  • Meat Finish Temp: 195-200°F
  • Recommended Wood: Apple
What You'll Need

Get the Recipes for Jeff’s Rub and Sauce


recipe-ad-rub

My rub recipe and sauce recipe was designed for pork ribs and when you see how easy they are to make and how amazing they taste, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

promise you’ll love my dry rub/seasoning recipe and my barbecue sauce recipe or you don’t pay!

Reasons to buy: Support the newsletter and the website | Own “the recipes” | Get the email newsletter 100% AD FREE from now on | Includes the Texas style rub recipe

Order the Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

Brining the Ribs

Make the coffee brine using:

However you make your coffee in the morning will work. I used a Keurig coffee maker and just made several cups and poured them in until I had enough. (quick and easy)

Pour the coffee into a tall pitcher then mix in the salt, sugar and rub and stir real well until everything is dissolved. Some of the ingredients in my rub recipe will not dissolve but they will leach great flavors into the brine.

Once the brine is made, add a few cubes of ice to cool it down and set it aside.

2013-IMG_1148

Remove the ribs from the packaging and give them a good rinse under cold water.

Lay them on the cutting board.

2013-IMG_1150

Remove that thick plastic-like skin on the back called the membrane

Note: Here's a new and better way to remove the membrane on ribs:

Pry up the skin in the middle of the rack of ribs and pull straight up once you have a good firm grip on it.

Use your other hand to hold down on the rack of ribs.

Tears less and comes off a lot easier.

Note: You can also use catfish pliers to pull the membrane from the ribs.

2013-IMG_1152 2013-IMG_1154

Once the membrane is off, they are ready to go into the brine.

I like to cut the ribs in half when I am brining them to make them fit into gallon-sized bags.

This also makes them easy to work with.

2013-IMG_1159 2013-IMG_1160

Once the ribs are in the bags, pour enough brine into each one to cover the ribs.

Seal them up pressing out as much air as possible.

Lay them in a pan in case you get a leaker.

Note: I am only brining (2) of these racks of ribs. The 3rd rack of ribs will remain un-brined and will be used as a taste comparison once they are all done cooking.

2013-IMG_1161

Place the pan of ribs in the fridge for 4-6 hours with 6 hours being better if you can do it.

Once the ribs are finished brining, remove them from the brine.

Discard the brine.

Rinse the ribs under cold water and lay them bone side up on Bradley racks, Weber grill pans or cooling racks set on paper towels to drain.

The racks/pans make it real easy to prepare the ribs and then carry them out to the smoker without having to handle them too much.

2013-IMG_1168 2013-IMG_1170

Preparing the Ribs for Smoking

If you have plenty of time, you can apply my rub directly to the wet ribs. If you are in a hurry, apply a light coat of mustard first to help the rub to stick.

I had plenty of time 😉

Be generous with my rub (purchase recipe here) and you'll be very, very happy later.

Bone side first then wait until it starts looking wet (so it won't fall off) then flip them over meaty side up.

Apply rub generously to the meaty side and once again leave them alone until they start getting that “wet” look.

2013-IMG_1172 2013-IMG_1180

Want to go a little further with the coffee theme?

Mix it together real well and ta-da!

I think you WILL like it!

Upper bag is my regular rub recipe, the lower one has coffee added to it. You can see the difference

Folks have been adding coffee grounds to meat rubs for a very long time but I just tried this recently with my very own rib rub recipe and it really works well with the coffee brined ribs.

2013-IMG_1162

Once the ribs are rubbed down real well, they are ready to go on the smoker and get the royal treatment!

Smoking the Ribs

Ribs are pretty versatile and they can be made to turn out really good regardless of whether you have a really expensive rig, an old junker that you found at a yard sale or anywhere in between.

Maintain about 225-240°F indirect heat and apply smoke and you are good to go.

Heres the plan, you can just put the ribs on the grate, smoke them for about 5 hours and they will be very good but I do have  a lot of folks who ask me how to get that really, tender rib where the meat easily pulls free from the bone.

Just remember 2-2-1 when you want a slab of super tender baby back ribs

And I'll walk you through this easy process.

Step 1 – Place the Bradley racks or Weber grill pans with the ribs on the smoker grate and let them cook for 2 hours with plenty of smoke (apple is recommended). You can also just place the ribs directly on the smoker grate.

Step 2 – Wrap the ribs in foil (or place them in a foil pan and cover tightly with foil) Add ¼ inch of liquid to the pan to create a little steam. (apple juice, water, chicken broth, coffee, almost anything) Place back in the smoker at 225-240°F for 2 hours. No smoke is needed since they are wrapped up.

Step 3 – Remove from pan or foil and place them back in the smoker on the Bradley racks and let them cook for an additional hour to firm them up a little and form a little bark (that delicious brown stuff on the outside of meat that's been cooked or grilled.). Smoke is optional.

Alternative for Step 3 – Throw them on a very hot grill and let the high heat give them a good char. Paint on some barbecue sauce if you like sticky ribs. I usually do a rack of sticky ribs and a rack of just dry rubbed ribs to suit everyone's taste.

2013-IMG_1206

Finishing up

When the ribs are finished, you should see some good pullback of the meat from around the bones and they should be as tender as you like them.

Cut them up into individual pieces and call dinner.

2013-IMG_1251 2013-IMG_1269

Serving the Ribs

These ribs never even made it to the table. The folks at my house grabbed meaty ribs and threw down bones like a bunch of barbarians. I have to admit, I had a few or 9 myself!

2013-IMG_1284

Final Comments

The brined ribs were better textured and more moist than the non-brined ones which is what one would expect.

I could taste the coffee but it was subtle and while it did not overpower the taste of the ribs, it did give them some extra depth which I enjoyed.

I think you could probably brine these overnight if you wanted to with no problem

The brining process did not make them salty in the least.

If you try this, I'd like to hear about it if you get a chance.

Get the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce
**Instant Download!**
jeffs-rub-recipe jeffs-sauce-recipe

***Note: you get the Texas style rub recipe free with your order!

If I could give these recipes away, I would do that. I really want you to have them! But, then, this is how I support the newsletter, the website and all of the other stuff that we do here to promote the art of smoking meat.

Read these recent testimonies:

"Love the sauce and rub recipes. So far I have used them on beef ribs, pork ribs, and different chicken parts. Can't wait to do a beef brisket. Texas rub is great as well!" ~Peter S.
"I tried the rub on a beef brisket and some beef ribs the other day and our entire family enjoyed it tremendously. I also made a batch of the barbeque sauce that we used on the brisket as well as some chicken. We all agreed it was the best sauce we have had in a while." ~Darwyn B.
"Love the original rib rub and sauce! We have an annual rib fest competition at the lake every 4th of July. I will say we have won a great percent of the time over the past 15 years so we are not novices by any means. However, we didn't win last year and had to step up our game! We used Jeff's rub and sauce (sauce on the side) and it was a landslide win for us this year! Thanks Jeff for the great recipes. I'm looking forward to trying the Texas style rub in the near future!" ~Michelle M.

You see the raving testimonies and you wonder, "Can the recipes really be that good?"

No worries! Make up a batch and if it's not as good as you've heard.. simply ask for a refund. Now that's a bargain and you know it. Let's review:

  • You decide you don't like the recipes.. you don't pay!
  • The recipes are absolutely amazing!
  • Once you order, there'll be no more recipe ads in the email version of the newsletter

Well.. what are you waiting for.. click on the big orange button below to order the recipes now.

Order the Digital Recipes for Jeff's Rub and Sauce

I really, really appreciate the support from my newsletter friends and be sure to let me know if you have any questions about this.

Jeff's Smoking Meat Book

smoking-meat-book-cover-275x289The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that "no smoker should be without this book"!

With more than 800 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended.

It is a Bestseller in Barbecueing & Grilling books on Amazon.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | German Edition

Digital versions available via Nook | iTunes | Kindle

Get Almost Anything at Amazon

If you enjoy the newsletter and would like to do something helpful, then..

The next time you decide to order something at Amazon.com, use THIS LINK to get there and we'll get a small commission off of what you purchase.

Thank you in advance for using our special link: http://www.smoking-meat.com/amazon

About the Author

Long time Industrial Engineer turned self-proclaimed fire poker, pitmaster and smoke whisperer and loving every minute of it!

16 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Oz April 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Looks great, I actually have tweaked your rub a bit and actually always add a bit coffee and a bit of cocoa powder.

  2. Banks Clark April 7, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

    What would the approximate cooking times be for spare ribs rather than baby back?

    • Jeff Phillips April 8, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Spare ribs usually take about an hour longer than baby backs. If you are using the 2-2-1 method, increase the first step by one hour making it the 3-2-1 method for spare ribs.

  3. John July 24, 2015 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I have no choice but to use the “moist and tender” ribs from my grocery. I want to try this brine but I’m concerned about ending up with salty meat since the ribs already have a 15% solution on them. If I skip the salt, will this work or does it need the salt in the brine to pull the flavor into the meat?

    • Don Butterbaugh August 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm - Reply

      I followed your recipe from last time and it came out ok. Not as good as the normally way but that is just my opinion.

  4. Remi Slabbinck July 5, 2015 at 8:09 am - Reply

    I tried your coffee brined smoked rib recipe for a family 4th of July party. I had one slab of coffee ribs and 3 with just your rub recipe, just incase the coffee ones didnt turn out. Also I wanted people to compare the 2 recipes. The only thing I didnt do was rinse the brine off the ribs. I didnt think that they would be salty and they were not. The one thing that I did wrong was smoked them for 3 hours instead of 2. People said that they were not two smoky but I know better. They were very moist and tender, everyone seemed to like them the only thing some people said was that the coffee ribs had a gritty feel to them. I assume it was due to I didn’t grind the coffee any more then what it was. Someone even said I should try this as a bacon brine? A very good recipe thanks for sharing. I might try this with beef ribs next. Thanks

  5. steve June 14, 2015 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Coffee ribs the best fall off the bone I cooked It dry for the first 3 hrs then added BBQ sauce last hour.

    Brine 24 hrs no problems

    • Don Butterbaugh June 16, 2015 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Last weekend I smoked four racks of pork ribs. I soaked them in Brine and brown sugar 20 hours before. Used rub on them and smoked them for 2 and 1/2 hours, then sprayed them with grape fruit juice and covered them in foil and returned them to the smoker for 1 and 1/2 hour at 230 degrees, removed them and coated them with Brown sugar and BBQ sauce then re-wrapped them and cooked them for another 30 min. I took them out and left them in Foil for another 20 minutes. Wow they were great. I used an electric smoke with Apple chips for smoke. I like a electric smoker because you can regulate the temperature better.
      Brine and brown sugar is always the best way, in my opinion

      Don Butterbaugh.

  6. Brittany June 24, 2014 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Made these for father’s day and what a hit! Coffee brine taste was perfect. Enough to taste but not enough to over power. I put an espresso rub on half of the ribs and my Father and the rest of our friends and family are still talking about them! Thanks for this idea!

  7. Richard W. June 22, 2014 at 6:13 am - Reply

    Jeff, I smoked spareribs with this recipe several days after you published it (Oct. 2013), putting 2 racks of ribs into Foodsaver packs for “later”. I just opened the last freezer-packet of ribs on 6/21/14 and the flavor/taste is still amazing. Love your fantastic book and your web-thread is my favorite for fresh ideas…Thanks!

  8. Donald Butterbaugh April 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    If you are a novice like I was, I strongly recommend Jeff’s book. I have tried most of his recipes and have been very happy with the results. His rub is out of this world, and he is very good about helping novices when you have questions. I cannot praise him enough, I never thought I could obtain the results I have had with my smoker. You have to be very careful though. Once you start you become addicted for life. Thank you Jeff for all the help you have given me, your email receipts are outstanding.
    Donald Butterbaugh

  9. cesar November 7, 2013 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Hi Jeff:

     

    I enjoye greatly your site.

    We are having a turduken for thanksgiving.  Do you have a receipe and advise for this?

     

    thanks 

  10. Greg October 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    I brined them overnight. Used Cajun injector electric smoker. 221 method but they took 8 hrs at 225. Best ribs I’ve done so far!  

  11. Tom Soehlke October 14, 2013 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Followed the recipe to the tee and they were off the chart.  Just a subtle coffee flavor.

  12. Jann Webster October 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    I love my Bradley Smoker and I love this recipe!  The convenience of the Bradley is amazing.  I think our other 2 smokers are going to go to smoker-heaven.  Regarding this recipe, we brined overnight (worked fine) and then put them on the Bradley at 240 degres for 3 1/2 hours (pecan wood).  Then 1 1/2 hrs in a 300 degree oven, wrapped in foil with 1 C. apple juice added to the packet.  A total of 5 hours cook time.  We removed them from the oven at a meat temperature of 195.  There was about 3/4″ of bone exposed when we peeled back the foil.  The meat held onto the bone (barely) and was amazingly tender.  We barely discerned any coffee flavor, even though I had added 2 T. ground espresso to the rub.  But in any event, there was great depth of flavor and we had a mound of clean bones 1/2 hour later!  Thanks Jeff, for a great recipe and even more valuable instructions and photos.  Your detail is why we follow your site and buy your products – you are a great tester!

  13. donald butterbaugh October 10, 2013 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Tomorrow I will try them, if this one turns out like the ones in your book then WOW. THank you Jeff for all the help you have given me. I am purely a novice. I could almost kick myself for not buying a smoker thirty years ago.

     

    Don

Leave A Response