Arabic Coffee and Coriander Beef Ribs with Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

By / Food / February 10th, 2022 / 4

By Shahir Massoud

My friend Shai introduced me to this incredible idea: rubbing beef with equal parts coffee and coriander, with a pinch of sugar. I’ve been using this rub for years, but the tweak of using Arabic coffee brings in a subtle hint of cardamom as well. Look for ground Arabic coffee in a specialty Middle Eastern grocery store, or substitute by adding a pinch of cardamom to your favorite coffee. This recipe features a rib cooking technique that you can use for beef, pork, and even lamb ribs. Plus, the pomegranate barbecue sauce is another go-to that you can rely on all grilling season.

Serves 3–4

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 3 Hours

30 Minutes


  • 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
  • 1 Tbsp ground Arabic coffee
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp chili flakes 2 lb beef back ribs

Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp chili flakes 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, for grilling


Preheat the oven to 300°F. Mix the coriander, coffee, sugar, and chili flakes in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning all over the ribs and massage into the meat. Wrap the beef ribs tightly in foil, then wrap again in another piece of foil. This tight wrapping helps to trap the heat and steam, allowing the ribs to cook slowly and become fall-apart tender. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 3 hours.

To make the barbecue sauce, heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-low heat. Sweat the garlic, onion, and ginger in the oil for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the paprika, cinnamon, and chili flakes and cook for an additional minute, then add the ketchup, vinegar, pomegranate molasses, brown sugar, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer over very low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until darkened and thickened. This sauce can be made several days in advance.

Remove the ribs from the oven and unwrap. They should be fork-tender and almost falling off the bone. Coat the ribs in the sauce.

Heat some olive oil in a grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the ribs with a generous pinch of salt and place on the grill pan. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side to caramelize the sauce, but be mindful not to burn the sugars. Remove, carve individual ribs for serving, and enjoy!

In the summer of 2009, Shahir Massoud decided that his misguided attempt at becoming an accountant was over.  Just a few months shy of qualifying as a CPA, he informed his immigrant parents that he would become a cook instead – they were thrilled!  

With that, he moved to New York City to attend the famed French Culinary Institute to start his new journey.  He had the honour of working and learning in the kitchens of Lupa, Del Posto, and Jean-Georges at the Mark Hotel.  A few years later he returned home and helped open a growing-chain of Italian restaurants before his next surprise career change.  After being spotted on a morning show, he was suddenly cast as the culinary expert co-host for the CBC daily lifestyle show The Goods.  Over the next 260 episodes, he led cooking segments, interviewed guests, and hosted game shows.  

He just finished his first cookbook Eat, Habibi, Eat!   

Excerpted from Eat, Habibi, Eat! Fresh Recipes for Modern Egyptian Cooking by Shahir Massoud Copyright © 2021 Shahir Massoud. Photography by Kyla Zanardi. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.


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