St. Louis Ribs With Coffee Rub

No one will ever guess the secret ingredient in these succulent ribs is instant coffee granules. Cooked low-and-slow in the oven and finished on the grill or in the broiler, you'll love the earthy-sweet flavor of these St. Louis ribs.

St. Louis Ribs With Coffee Rub
Photo: Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox
Hands On Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs

St. Louis-style ribs are cut from a pig's belly, underneath the breastbone. Fattier and meatier than baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs are trimmed by the butcher so they are square and uniform, which makes them cook evenly and lie nicely flat on a pan or the grill.


  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso granules, such as Café Bustelo

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 slab St. Louis Style Ribs (about 3 pounds)

  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes


  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, espresso granules, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. If the butcher did not cut away the slippery membrane covering the meat, trim it away by sliding a boning knife just under the membrane and peeling and cutting it away. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over both sides of the ribs, and rub or press it in to ensure it adheres. Place the ribs in a gallon-sized resealable bag or another airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator. Place the ribs on a large piece of aluminum foil, meaty side up. Dot the cubed butter evenly over the ribs, and wrap the aluminum foil over the ribs, crimping to seal it closed. Transfer the foil packet onto a baking sheet. Bake at 300˚F for about 2 ½ hours, or until the meat is very tender.

  3. When the ribs are almost finished cooking in the oven, prepare the grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grill grate with vegetable. Place the ribs meaty side down on the grill and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. The ribs should be slightly caramelized. Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, let cool for 5 minutes, and then cut ribs into individual pieces between each bone.

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