A sweet cola barbecue sauce balances out the earthy, peppery dry rub on these deliciously rich ribs. Serve with a tangy side dish, like a vinegar-based coleslaw or potato salad.
2 (3 1/2-lb.) racks beef back ribs
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup finely ground medium-roast coffee beans
3 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 handfulls wood chunks for smoking (oak, hickory, or mesquite)
Cola-Coffee BBQ Sauce
1 cup cola soft drink or other dark cola soft drink
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
How to Make It
Pat both sides of slabs dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, remove thin membrane from back of each by slicing into it and pulling it off with a paper towel. (It can be difficult to remove the membrane off beef ribs so you might want to have the butcher do it for you.)
Combine salt, coffee, pepper, paprika, and chili powder in a bowl; rub evenly over both sides of each rack, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the Cola-Coffee BBQ Sauce: Combine all the ingredients for in a medium saucepan over medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and flavors meld, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Prepare a charcoal fire in smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions, bringing internal temperature to 250°F to 275°F. Maintain temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Place wood chunks on coals.
Place ribs, meaty side up, on smoker; cover with lid. Smoke ribs, maintaining inside temperature between 250°F and 275°F, until meat begins to pull away from bones but is not yet tender, about 3 hours. Brush about 1/2 cup Cola-Coffee BBQ Sauce over both sides of ribs. Cover and smoke until a meat thermometer inserted in between the rib bones registers 205°F and rib meat is very tender, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, brushing with about 1/4 cup barbecue sauce every 30 minutes. Remove ribs from the smoker; brush with 1/4 cup barbecue sauce. Serve with remaining barbecue sauce. (Extra sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.)