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Recipe: Smokin’ Hot Red Eye Ribs

Smokin' Hot Red Eye Ribs

Now I loved that bacon jam. And it opened my eyes to using coffee in a marinade. Why not? It worked so well there it was bound to be a winner. Then a friend told me about red eye gravy, a coffee gravy served over ham in the American deep South. Coffee and pork are two of my favourite things in this world. The die was cast.

Pork ribs are a much under valued and underused cut of meat. So cheap, so full of flavour, I expect it must be because people don’t know what to do with them. (fyi – in response to a comment below – I am of course referring to the UK & Ireland here. I know they eat lots of them elsewhere). Marinaded ribs are wonderful on the BBQ but also great cooked low and slow in the oven until the meat teases slowly from the bone. Then, and only then, are they are ready to eat.

Smokin' Hot Red Eye Ribs

The secret to all marinaded meat recipes is time, so make sure you marinade them for long enough. Aim for a minimum 2 hours, overnight is best. I used chipotle in adobo again in these, it is one of my favourite things to use at the moment. So versatile with a rich smoky heat. You can get it online quite easily if you are not an urbanite like myself. Otherwise substitute with your favourite chilli, or chipotle chilles (dried or fresh).

Now when choosing pork ribs you have two options: baby back ribs or spare ribs. I love both and on this occasion had some pork spare ribs to try from the London Fine Meat Company, an online butchers based in London. The ribs were big and meaty and delivered at £4.70 a pack (approx 12 big ribs in each). I will use them again, time is such a precious commodity these days.

I made these for friends and they loved them, hope you enjoy them too. These ribs were big so 3 per person was perfect. You may choose to make more, and why not when you are roasting them for so long. You might as well make the most of the oven. Shredded leftovers would make a great sandwich filling or Asian noodle salad.

Recipe: Smokin’ Hot Red Eye Ribs

Serves 2

6 pork spare ribs


500ml fresh brewed coffee
3 chipotles & 3 teaspoons of the adobo sauce (or substitute with chilli), finely chopped
80 ml cider vinegar
4 tbsp rich brown sugar like molasses sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
generous pinch of sea salt

Combine all ingredients for the marinade and massage ito the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for minimmum 2 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat the oven to 150 deg C.
Put the ribs and marinade in a high sided tin and cover with foil.
Roast gently for 2.5 – 3 hours until the meat pulls off the bone, basting with the juices every half an hour.
Rest the ribs for 5 minutes under foil before serving. If the marinade hasn’t reduced to a sticky sauce (it should haev), reduce gebntly over a medium heat in a saucepan and serve poured on top of the ribs.
Eat with your fingers! It’s wrong not to.




  1. Pingback: Recipe Blog on: Recipe: Smokin’ Hot Red Eye Ribs | MiloRiano: Foods, cooking, gadgets, beverage...

  2. oh, these look dangerously good. Had a twirl on the flavour thesaurus a while ago and put some espresso in with pork braised in milk. Was pretty interesting. The Hungry One was a fan. But then, he’s pretty much a fan of coffee in any form.

  3. Jane - Kitchen Stools Direct says

    Looks incredibly delicious! The saturated marinade makes it seem so succulent. You bet, fingers are the best to eat with.. easy to lick them too, in the end!

  4. “Pork ribs are a much under valued and underused cut of meat. So cheap, so full of flavour, I expect it must be because people don’t know what to do with them.”

    You’re speaking just for the UK, I assume? I have enjoyed many delicious pork ribs in the US and in several Asian countries. : )

    • Well, of course! But people reading this blog aren’t from Asia or the US predominantly. So, it’s correct. People don’t cook them here. As you know, I have travelled extensively, so of course I know that.

  5. Franziska says

    I can’t say that about people living in the South of the UK ;-) We have ribs every time we have a BBQ and my friends, too. And ribs are great when thrown in with a roast pork (my grandmother used to do that)… succulent with the flesh falling off the bone!

    I like the idea of using coffee in the marinade. I’m going to try this out over the weekend, of course, only if the weather is good enough for a BBQ! Not something you can rely on here in the UK!

  6. Pingback: Recipe: Smokin' Hot Red Eye Ribs (via eat like a girl) | FOODfirst

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  8. Definitely put them in the book! BTW, I doubled the the number of ribs but found 500ml of coffee still ample to completely cover them, and after 3 hours of slow cooking the reduction was perfect leaving a lovely sticky finish.

    And by complete coincidence, are you the Niamh that used to live next door to me at Beechwood Lodge?

Over to you! Your comments - I would love to hear from you :)