Java Bones

These spareribs jump with a double jolt of java, provided by a combination of a coffee marinade and a rub of ground coffee beans and spices. The mix juices up baby backs too, cooked according to the instructions in the previous recipes, or you can convert any of those baby-back preparations to spareribs following the approach described here.


Classic Kansas City Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow ballpark mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pure liquid hickory smoke, optional


  • 1 cup brewed coffee
  • 4 slabs pork spareribs, "St. Louis cut" (trimmed of the chine bone and brisket flap), each 3 pounds or less
  • 1 recipe Java Rub (recipe follows)
  • 1 recipe Classic Kansas City Sauce or other tomato-based barbecue sauce (recipe follows)

Java Rub

  • 6 tablespoons ground coffee beans
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt or other coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons dried ginger


  1. Classic Kansas City Sauce: In a nonreactive saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Mix in the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to low, and cook the mixture until it thickens, approximately 30 minutes. Stir frequently. If the consistency is thicker than you prefer, add a little water. Use the sauce warm or chilled. It keeps, covered and refrigerated, for several weeks.
  2. Ribs: At least 8 hours and up to 24 hours before you plan to grill, bake the ribs.
  3. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  4. Java Rub: Drizzle the coffee over the ribs and rub it in thoroughly. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and coat the ribs liberally with the spice mixture. Wrap the ribs tightly in two layers of foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool the ribs, opening the foil to speed the process. Re-wrap the ribs in the foil and refrigerate them for at least 6 hours.
  5. Fire up the grill, bringing the temperature to medium (4 to 5 seconds with the hand test). Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Grill the ribs uncovered over medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes, turning every 8 to 10 minutes. Brush the ribs with sauce in the last 5 minutes of cooking. The ribs are done when very tender with a surface that's crisp in some spots and gooey with glaze in others.

Serves 4.

Per serving: 1,492 calories; 110.1 g fat (42.6 g saturated fat; 66 percent calories from fat); 11.3 g carbohydrates; 438 mg cholesterol; 344 mg sodium; 106.6 g protein; 0 g fiber

Source: Born to Grill by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison

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