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Sweet Sticky Balsamic Espresso Ribs

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balsamic espresso ribs



If I had to choose one last meal, I don’t know for sure, but it just may be barbecue! And these Sweet Sticky Balsamic Espresso Ribs just may have been my very best yet!

At least that’s the wonderful compliment that my hubby gave me.
And I humbly think he’s right! 😉


I love making ribs, slow-cooked in the oven until fall-off-the-bone tender, succulent and juicy, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious! This method tenderizes them perfectly every single time!

I always start with a basic rib rub that consists of dark brown sugar, several salts, and whatever spices I’m in the mood for. The ribs are tightly wrapped in foil, then slow-baked in the oven until we can’t hardly stand it any longer, and out they come!




balsamic espresso ribs collage




Part two is the fun part! While the ribs slow-roast, you have plenty of time to play “mad scientist” in the kitchen concocting up a new sauce!

I’m a total balsamic vinegar junkie, and was really craving a sauce that was sweet and sticky! So that’s the path I decided to head down this time! 🙂




balsamic espresso ribs to pin




I was also unbelievably tired that day, which led me to think to add some espresso to this crazy-good sauce that was going on, simmering away on the stove! Best decision I’ve made in awhile! 😉




balsamic espresso ribs closeup




This sauce was truly gold. Honestly, I still can’t believe that I made it, ha!! 😀 I swear I could bottle and SELL this stuff!

It went astonishingly well with the inexpensive, pork, baby back ribs; but, I bet it could be used for MANY more things as well! I couldn’t imagine how fantastic it would be to finish a grilled steak or pork tenderloin, or even a burger with this stuff! And, of course, the obvious….wings! THAT will definitely be done soon! 😉


So, if you’re looking for an incredibly delicious way to make ribs indoors,
while we’re in this horrific arctic blast,
that will completely blow your mind….try these ribs.

Seriously good stuff!!




Yield: 1 cup sauce for 1 rack of ribs/4 servings

Sweet Sticky Balsamic Espresso Ribs

Sweet Sticky Balsamic Espresso Ribs


  • 1 rack baby back pork ribs, sinew on back removed

For Rub:

  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. hickory smoked salt
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt such as Johnny's
  • 1/2 Tbl. smoked sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. herbs de provence, crush between fingers when adding
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder such as Madaglia D'Oro
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp. cayenne powder

For Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbl. cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
  • 1/2 cup sweet aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbl. firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbl. thick hoisin sauce such as Kikkoman
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced or run through a garlic press
  • 1/8 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbl. butter to finish


  • For Ribs:
  • Rinse ribs if needed and pat dry. Remove sinew from back. Place meaty side-up onto a large piece of heavy duty foil that has been sprayed in the center the size of the ribs.
  • In small bowl mix together the rub ingredients until very well mixed. Dump half of it onto the ribs and pat on evenly. Turn ribs over to bone side-up, and coat bone side with rub well, too. Bring up sides, roll down to just touch ribs, then roll up ends to seal. Be careful not to tear foil! Place foil-wrapped rack of ribs onto foil-lined large baking sheet.
  • Place into preheated 300º F oven and bake for 2 1/2 hours. (Make sauce while ribs are baking).
  • When done, remove from oven. Remove ribs carefully from foil onto another foil-lined baking sheet bone side-up. I do this with large grilling spatulas for ease. Turn oven up to 350º.
  • While oven temp is rising, coat bone side with half of the sauce. When oven is done preheating, pop back in and bake for 3-5 minutes until just bubbling.
  • Remove from oven, turn ribs over, coat meaty side with rest of sauce, pop back into oven and bake again until just bubbly, another few minutes. Watch so that they don't burn!
  • Cut into pieces and let rest a few minutes before serving as sauce will be very hot.
  • For Sauce:
  • In medium saucepan, add all sauce ingredients except butter, stir well to mix. Heat over medium heat until simmering and thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.


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