Coffee/Chocolate Rib Rub with Cashew/Cabbage Slaw

Main Ingredients
baby back ribs cabbage cashews chocolate bar cilantro coffee

coffeerubbedribsI’ve always wanted a challenge where I could use coffee, so I was excited when I heard this. Question was, what to do with the chocolate and then the other challenge ingredients? I figured a dry rub would be the way to go for the ribs. I didn’t want to simply add ground cashews to the rub and then put cabbage on the bottom of the pan. I wanted the cashews and cabbage to stand on their own and it turned out to be my favorite part of the dish. It was simple, fresh and frankly, I love salads with nuts.

Ground coffee and ground chocolate make up the base of the rub with a bunch of other dry ingredients. I decided to bake the dish at a low heat for a few hours, versus using the grill since my grill is iffy at best over long periods of time. I will say, it blackens incredibly as it cooks, but it doesn’t burn. And, for the very first time, I actually brined the ribs the night before in an apple juice/salt/garlic brine. It made the ribs fall off the bone tender.

008007Husband took a bite of the slaw and said, “nutty” and then took a bite of the ribs and said “tender.” (hmm) My daughter said you couldn’t taste the nuts in the salad (are you kidding? It was entirely nutty) nor the chocolate in the ribs (true, you can’t tell). She also said they “tasted funny.” Hmm, again. Me? The slaw I’m telling you was amazing and if you go to any BBQ and need a vegetarian dish, use this. I’ll make it again. It was simple and nutty and fresh and I finished the entire bowl after dinner. The ribs were too salty for me (from the brine?) but they were good and if you like coffee, you’ll like this. It was a “darker” taste that I can’t fully explain. When you add chocolate to a dish like this, it becomes almost like a mole sauce, which on its own is singularly unique. But, they honestly were good. I think my family is simply used to BBQ sauce or a sweet glazed sauce on ribs.  While no one except me went back for seconds, they did finish their dishes and said it was fine. So, not too bad!


Coffee/Chocolate Rib Rub with Cashew/Cabbage Slaw


Brine Ingredients
  • Apple juice - 1/2 quart or less (I only had one slab of ribs)
  • Fresh chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • pepper
Dry Rub Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup ground decaf coffee
  • 1/4 cup ground chocolate (I used the dry Hershey's)
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbs chili powder (I used half a tbsn - my family are spice wimps)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh pepper
  • Slabs of ribs (I used just one slab - this is enough rub for 2 or even 3)
Slaw Ingredients
  • Bag of red cabbage
  • Bag of coleslaw mix (cabbage and shredded carrots)
  • 3 big handfuls of roasted cashews (chopped)
  • 3 tbspns olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup chopped herbs (I used flat leaf parsley and cilantro)
  • salt, pepper



Mix ingredients for the brine in a big Tupperware or dish. Add the ribs and let sit overnight. Then wash them off the next day to remove all the salt.


Mix all the ingredients together for the rub. Put the oven on at 300. Place ribs in pan and rub the rub over both sides, meat side up when cooking. Cook for 3-4 hours till fall off the bone tender. Take out, let rest and slice.


Mix oil, vinegar, herbs and shallots together. Add salt & pepper to taste. Put half a bag (or desired amount) of red cabbage in a bowl, then add the same amount of coleslaw mix. The add chopped cashews (I chopped some of them very finely while leaving some coarsely chopped). Mix together and then add the dressing. Mix evenly.


One note: I added a touch more olive oil to the dressing and more cashews to the salad - taste and see how it comes together. Enjoy!

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