Pulled Pork Spareribs with Coffee, Molasses Barbecue Sauce

coffe ribs and molasses bbq sauce

I love messy, sticky, “get it all over your face” barbecue. I don’t love super sweet sauces and dry, shredded to a pulp meat. So this recipe contains neither of those things. Instead of the typical pork butt/shoulder, I pulled meat from the mother of all ribs, the spareribs and instead of gloppy, super sweet sauce, I was inspired by a commenter to use coffee as the base of the sauce, for an earthy, mellow and really full-flavored sauce.

Spareribs are more fatty (and I mean that in a good way), have some odd cartilage pieces floating about and can be a little difficult to eat, but the taste is like no other. So instead of taking the good with the bad…let’s just take the good. Mix the tender, moist rib meat together with a marinade that doubles as a barbecue sauce and you’ve got a recipe for a messy, sticky good time.


  • ~5 lbs pork spare ribs, untrimmed
  • 3/4 c brewed coffee
  • 1/4 c molasses
  • 1/4 c dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c wheat-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 T worsterchire sauce
  • 1 T hot sauce
  • 1/3 c tomato sauce or ketchup


Preheat your oven to 300°F. Position one oven rack in the center of the oven and another below it, with enough space in between to allow for a pan to fit. Lay the ribs on a sheet pan. Whisk together everything but the tomato sauce/ketchup. Reserving 1 cup of marinade, pour the marinade over the pork, massaging and rubbing, making sure to coat both sides. Let the ribs come to room temperature, and bast the marinade every so often, until they do.

Place the ribs meaty side down, bony side up. Cover, as tightly as you can, with aluminum foil. Place them on the middle rack of your oven. Fill a pan (cake, roasting, whatever) with water. Place that on the lower rack. This will create steam and keep the ribs moist.

Let the ribs go, until the meat falls off the bone, about 3-4 hours.

Once the meat is cool enough to handle, pull it.

To make the barbeque sauce…

Pour the reserved marinade into a sauce pot and add the tomato sauce/ketchup. Let it simmer and reduce by about half. Taste and adjust the seasoning however you want…more hot sauce, more molasses, etc.

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  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Mmmm!!!!! Can’t wait to try this one!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    This looks delicious! Do you think I could just stick the ribs in the crockpot for 6 hours or so instead of using the oven all afternoon?

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      October 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      here’s my beef with the crock pot…the oven allows a caramelization to occur on the meat, the crock pot does not. that caramelization is paramount, in my opinion, to the overall flavor and texture of anything slow cooked. BUT–it will definitely work, just won’t taste quite the same.

  • Reply
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    October 31, 2011 at 1:01 am

    […] article: a primal take on body image recipe: pulled pork sparerib with coffee and molasses bbq sauce […]

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    November 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    […] site with an index and an FAQ. I love the visual style of this site as well as the recipes. This pulled-pork recipe appeals to me! These writers seem to support the big Paleo picture and to be a bit lenient on some […]

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    November 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Looks amazing! Can’t wait to try this one!

  • Reply
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    December 23, 2011 at 9:02 am

    […] Pulled Pork Spareribs with Coffee-Molasses Barbecue Sauce […]

  • Reply
    January 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Hello!! I love this site so much but I did want to warn you (if you haven’t already received hate mail) that Molasses isn’t actually paleo. It should not be used it is made from substances in nature yes, but unfortunately its processed, extracted and boiled so many times that it is no longer considered paleo. Some would argue that this is also the case with maple syrup. I used molasses a lot when i first started paleo but was surprised by the amount of mail i got about molasses like it was some sort of evil. I dont think it’s bad to use on occasion, all depends on the person’s goals I say. Anyway love your site, just wanted to give you a heads up!

    • Reply
      brandon keatley
      January 4, 2012 at 9:46 am

      yeah, we get those. it’s the reason why we don’t call each individual recipe paleo per se – “paleo spare ribs” for example. but even when we do…we still stand behind our about page and several blog articles we have published about the paleo prefix/strict reenactments/difficulty of ever using the word paleo as a black and white definition to describe almost any food we have available today (and how it is therefore impossible to pick and choose).

      anyone here looking for a paleo reenactment is in the wrong place…and in my opinion naive and dogmatic. and that’s how i reply to the haters.

      from “about” page:

      “You will see some gray area ingredients on this site. Things like some dairy, vinegar, cashews, etc. These foods may not be quote, unquote Paleo in the sense of whether or not they were available as food in the Paleolithic (10,000+ years ago/pre-agriculture). However, we’re not after a Paleo reenactment here, since by those rules grass fed beef and olive oil (for example) would not be “Paleo” (as domestication and oil extraction was likely not available/not practical for hunter gatherers). These grey area foods do not make up staples in our diet but they are included for variety and because in the Venn diagram (go to about page for link to diagram) representing Paleolithic Foods/Neolithic Foods/Agents of Disease…they do not fall squarely in the category of an “agent of disease” (based on our best interpretation of the data/information available). We feel that these foods do fit a Paleo Framework that helps us to reach the benefits of Paleolithic metabolism…while avoiding the rigor/impracticality of strict reenactment. Bottom line…these are the foods we choose to eat, and are subject to constant evaluation as our definition states. If you have individual reasons to avoid any ingredient found on our site, by all means, please substitute or omit it. Email us or drop a comment and we will do our best to help you with these substitutions/omissions.

      Think of this site as a buffet…take what you want and leave what you don’t. In addition to the umbrella diagram below, the “blog” tab in our index contains several articles outlining some of our food philosophy. We are happy to answer sincere questions about our ingredients or approach. We do not exempt ourselves from open mindedness, but please refrain from attacking or discrediting our material based on your difference of opinion.”

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    March 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    Made this tonight with some creamy avocado slaw. It was sooooooo good. By far my favorite ever ribs recipe. The sauce was divine and just the right amount of sweetness. Thank you so much! My husband and baby were blown away!

  • Reply
    happy girlfriend
    September 8, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    RE to Laura : “In addition to providing quickly assimilated carbohydrates, blackstrap molasses can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Blackstrap molasses is a very good source of iron. ”

    “Two teaspoons of blackstrap molasses will meet 11.8% of your daily needs for calcium. ”

    “That same amount of blackstrap molasses will also provide you with 18.0% of the day’s needs for manganese. This trace mineral helps produce energy from protein and carbohydrates, and is involved in the synthesis of fatty acids that are important for a healthy nervous system and in the production of cholesterol that is used by the body to produce sex hormones.”, Blackstrap Molasses

  • Reply
    January 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I was looking for a recipe for boneless pork ribs; used this one, and decreased the cooking time slightly. OMG. Delicious. And the sauce! Tonight I just made me an extra JAR of it to keep in the fridge for the week…!

  • Reply
    Jessica McGuire
    January 28, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Does anyone know how many servings this is?

  • Reply
    Loree While
    April 21, 2013 at 2:27 am

    Most etymologists believe that barbecue derives from the word barabicu found in the language of the Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida, and entered European languages in the form barbacoa. The word translates as “sacred fire pit.”:

    Most recently released piece of writing straight from our own web site

  • Reply
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