by Adam Palmer
Whether you’re in Texas, KC, Memphis or Chicago, every city worth a damn shows its personality through ribs.
Slow cooker ribs might not be traditional, but they provide an incredible tenderness and efficiency perfect for the home cook. Ribs are always better when paired with a good beer, so we went to extremes in using that beer from the start: in the brine, in the braise, and in the sauce. And by god, if we can find one more way to cram beer in this recipe, we’ll do that too.
Chocolate coffee stouts have become a popular style in recent years, especially during the winter months, and have a flavor profile perfect for ribs.
We used Founders Breakfast Stout for its smooth chocolate flavor and intense coffee notes, but we’re sure your local chocolate coffee stout is pretty good too. We’ve never gone wrong cooking with beer we like drinking. And if, like many city dwellers, you don’t have a grill, the broiler in your oven does a pretty good job finishing the ribs off.
2.5 lbs spare ribs
3 cups chocolate coffee stout
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup freshly ground espresso
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Half a large white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chocolate coffee stout
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup chocolate coffee stout
1 cup water
3 tablespoon freshly ground espresso
2 tablesppon cocoa powder
1 habanero pepper, roasted and seeded
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1. Place ribs in a large zip-top bag or snug lidded container, mix the brine, and pour over the ribs. Let sit in the fridge for at least four hours, up to overnight.
2. Remove the brined ribs to a cutting board, combine the rub ingredients, and spread generously onto ribs.
3. Place the chopped onion, minced garlic, and 1 cup of water in the bottom of your slow cooker. Turn it to low, then add the beer, water, salt, and pepper. Place the ribs into the slow cooker bone side down.
4. Cook on low for 4 hours, then turn heat to high and cook for 2 more hours. By then, the ribs should be extremely tender, almost pulling off the bone.
5. Meanwhile, make the sauce by sautéeing the garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes, then adding the tomato paste, beer, espresso, and cocoa powder. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
6. When the sauce has cooled, blend it with the habanero and onion and season to taste.
7. Light grill with dual heat zones to 450 degrees.
8. Place the ribs, meat side down, on direct heat for 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes over direct heat, then move to indirect heat and baste with sauce. Let cook for 5 more minutes, then remove and serve.