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St. Louis Style Pork Spare Ribs

St. Louis BBQ Spare Ribs with Coffee & Cocoa Rub

Wonderfully rich and aged flavor. No need for sauce!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings


  • 7 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground coffee
  • tsp unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¾ tsp ancho chile pepper
  • tsp coriander
  • tsp turmeric
  • 2 racks Smithfield St. Louis Style Pork Spareribs


  • Remove membrane from rack of ribs. Chris Lilly, "If you don't remove the membrane, it takes on a waxed paper consistency and is not a great chew." With a paper towel, grab the end of the membrane on the back of the ribs and pull.

Prepare Grill

  • Build a charcoal fire for indirect cooking using the 2-zone fire. Situate the coals on only one side of the charcoal grill, leaving the other side void. Add a small aluminum pan to the void side of the grill and fill it halfway with water. (Leave burners off on one side or the front of a barbecue or electric grill.) For more info on the 2-zone method, see How to Grill Like a Pitmaster: BBQ Tips from Chris Lilly

Prepare Rub

  • In small bowl, combine salt, brown sugar, chili powder, coffee, cocoa, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ancho chile pepper, coriander and turmeric.
  • Generously apply the dry rub onto the front and back sides of ribs. Gently pat to ensure that the rub will adhere. (Even though it's called a 'rub', there's no need to rub it in.) Let them sit for 15-20 minutes.

BBQ Ribs

  • When the grill reaches 250°F, place ribs meat-side up on grill grate above the void area, close lid and cook until ribs are tender, about 3 1/2 hours. (If you're going to use wood chips or briquets for smoking, add them to the charcoal just before placing ribs on grill.)
  • Remove ribs from grill and let rest, uncovered, 5  – 10 minutes to reabsorb its juices. Your meat will not get cold, it actually continues to cook while resting. Slice ribs between bones and serve.
Keyword BBQ