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Keto Coffee-Rubbed BBQ Ribs

These BBQ Ribs are so flavorful and tender, that you won’t be able to stop eating them!

Fall of the Bone Coffee-Rubbed BBQ Ribs

A few years ago for my husband’s birthday, I bought him a small barrel house smoker for the backyard. We didn’t have a massive patio at our old house, so it was a perfect size.

I can still remember his face when he first saw it. He was like a kid at Christmas.

I had no idea how much we were going to use it so I didn’t spend that much money on it and it was pretty small.

Well, we became obsessed with smoking. We started smoking every single meat we could think of,  we smoked fish, and we even smoked cheese!!

Fall of the Bone Coffee-Rubbed BBQ Ribs

Every weekend in the summer the question wasn’t “Are we going to smoke something,” it was “What are we going to smoke this weekend?”

Fast forward two years, we moved into a larger house, and upgraded to a Traeger Grill (we still have our little barrel house smoker), and I now have this blog, so I am excited to share all of our BBQ recipes with you!

I am sad that I didn’t write all the recipes from the start, but that is ok because we are not planning to stop this tradition anytime soon.

These ribs are the first BBQ recipe I am sharing on this blog which makes them special.

Also, the rub on these makes them worthy of being the first BBQ post on my blog.

When it comes to BBQ, my husband and I work as a team. I am in charge of making the rub (I make them all from scratch) and prepping the meat. He usually buys the food and does most of the smoking.

BBQ is an art. You have to practice over and over to get it perfect.

How to make bbq ribs more keto friendly

  • Use a low-carb BBQ sauce: Many traditional BBQ sauces are high in sugar, which is not keto-friendly. You can make your own low-carb BBQ sauce using tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, and low-carb sweeteners like erythritol or stevia. Alternatively, you can purchase a low-carb BBQ sauce from the store.

  • Season your ribs with keto-friendly spices: Instead of using a store-bought seasoning mix, make your own using spices like paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder. These spices are all low in carbs and will add great flavor to your ribs. See the recipe for the rub I made.

  • Use a dry rub: Dry rubs are a great way to add flavor to your ribs without adding any carbs. Mix together some salt, pepper, and your favorite keto-friendly spices, and rub it all over your ribs before cooking.

  • Cook your ribs low and slow: Cooking your ribs low and slow will ensure they are tender and juicy. You can cook them in a slow cooker or on a grill using the indirect heat method.

  • Serve with keto-friendly sides: To keep your meal keto-friendly, make sure to serve your ribs with keto-friendly sides like roasted vegetables, cauliflower rice, or a salad.

How long should I smoke my ribs?

There’s nothing quite like the delicious, smoky taste of perfectly cooked ribs. Using a Traeger pellet grill takes the flavor to another level, infusing your ribs with a wood-fired smokiness that’s hard to beat.

The key to achieving the perfect ribs on a Traeger is understanding the time it takes to smoke them.

Choosing Your Ribs

Before discussing the timing, let’s briefly touch upon the types of ribs you can use.

The two most common types of pork ribs are baby back ribs and spare ribs (or St. Louis-style ribs).

Baby back ribs are smaller, leaner, and cook faster, while spare ribs are larger, fatter, and require a longer cooking time.

Timing and Temperature

  1. Baby Back Ribs:
  • Smoking time: 5-6 hours
  • Temperature: 225°F (107°C)
  1. Spare Ribs (St. Louis Style Ribs):
  • Smoking time: 6-7 hours
  • Temperature: 225°F (107°C)

The 3-2-1 Method for Spare Ribs

If you’re smoking spare ribs, you might want to consider the popular 3-2-1 method, which breaks the cooking process into three stages for optimal tenderness and flavor. The method is as follows:

  1. Smoke: Smoke the ribs for 3 hours at 225°F (107°C).
  2. Wrap: Remove the ribs from the grill, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil with a splash of apple juice or your preferred liquid, and cook for an additional 2 hours.
  3. Sauce: Remove the ribs from the foil, brush with your favorite BBQ sauce, and cook for an additional 1 hour, uncovered.

Tips for Perfect Ribs on a Traeger

  1. Preheat the grill: Ensure that your Traeger is preheated to 225°F (107°C) before placing the ribs on the grill.
  2. Remove the membrane: To achieve the best texture and tenderness, remove the membrane from the back of the ribs before cooking. This also allows the smoke to better penetrate the meat.
  3. Season your ribs: For optimal flavor, season your ribs with a dry rub or marinade of your choice.
  4. Smoke with your favorite wood pellets: Choose wood pellets that complement the flavor of your ribs. Hickory, oak, and apple are popular choices for smoking ribs.
  5. Maintain a consistent temperature: Make sure to keep the temperature consistent throughout the cooking process by adjusting the temperature settings on your Traeger as needed.
  6. Check for tenderness: To determine if the ribs are done, use a fork to gently pull the meat away from the bone. If it comes off easily, your ribs are ready to enjoy.

what if I don’t have a smoker? How can I make these?

Who says you need a smoker to prepare juicy, tender, and flavorful keto ribs?

While smoking is the traditional method, there are alternative ways to achieve that delicious result without investing in a smoker or having to build your own smokehouse.

Oven-Baked Keto Ribs:

One of the easiest ways to make keto ribs without a smoker is by baking them in the oven.

This method requires minimal equipment, and you’ll still get that delicious, fall-off-the-bone tenderness.


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Keto-friendly dry rub of your choice
  • Keto-friendly BBQ sauce (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C).
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and apply a generous amount of dry rub on both sides of each rack.
  3. Wrap each rack of ribs tightly in aluminum foil, ensuring no air can escape.
  4. Place the wrapped ribs on a baking sheet and bake for 3 to 4 hours, or until the ribs are tender.
  5. Unwrap the ribs, and if desired, brush them with keto-friendly BBQ sauce.
  6. Set your oven to broil and place the ribs back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to caramelize the sauce and develop a crispy crust.
  7. Slow Cooker Keto Ribs: The slow cooker is another fantastic way to prepare tender, succulent keto ribs without a smoker.


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Keto-friendly dry rub of your choice
  • 1 cup keto-friendly BBQ sauce


  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and apply a generous amount of dry rub on both sides of each rack.
  2. Cut the racks into individual portions, and place the ribs in the slow cooker, ensuring they are evenly distributed.
  3. Pour the BBQ sauce over the ribs and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours, until the ribs are tender.
  4. Optional: For a crispy crust, transfer the ribs to a baking sheet, baste with additional BBQ sauce, and broil for a few minutes until caramelized.
  5. Grilled Keto Ribs: If you have access to a grill, you can create delicious, smoky keto ribs that are sure to impress.


  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Keto-friendly dry rub of your choice
  • Keto-friendly BBQ sauce (optional)


  1. Remove the membrane from the back of the ribs and apply a generous amount of dry rub on both sides of each rack.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-low heat (approximately 275°F or 135°C).
  3. Place the ribs bone-side down on the grill, and close the lid.
  4. Grill the ribs for 2 to 3 hours, or until tender, turning occasionally.
  5. Optional: In the last 30 minutes of cooking, brush the ribs with keto-friendly BBQ sauce to add extra flavor.
  6. Pressure Cooker Keto Ribs: A pressure cooker, such as an Instant Pot, can produce tender, fall-off-the-bone keto ribs in a fraction of the time compared to other methods.

Even then, sometimes the meat doesn’t come out up to par, even after years of experience.

The BBQ ribs process can be daunting at times due to all the factors you have to deal with. For instance, the weather outside, the size of the meat, and the temperature.

Although the Traeger Grill is easier to control and work with, we are not yet 100% comfortable with it so it will take time to perfect.

BBQ Ribs

One pro tip I can give you is to cover the ribs when the bark starts to darken. That way the ribs can continue to cook, but they will not look black at the end (unless you like that.)

I don’t want to taste all the char when I first bite into the meat, so my husband covers the ribs when I tell him that it is dark enough for me.

Raw meat

Side note: Most of the rubs I make have a lot of Mexican peppers in them. My best advice is to find a local Mexican market and buy cheap packs of dried chilies and grind them online.

Likewise, you can probably find them online reasonably priced and crush those too.

Grind all the peppers in a food processor or a blender and store them labeled in an airtight container, that way anytime you need that particular pepper you will have it all ready to mix into the rest of your rub ingredients.

BBQ ingredients

what other sweeteners can I use to make a rub for keto bbq ribs?

Barbecue ribs are a classic summertime favorite, and they’re perfect for a keto diet.

However, traditional barbecue sauces and rubs are often loaded with sugar and other high-carb ingredients that can easily kick you out of ketosis.

But fear not!

There are plenty of keto-friendly sweeteners that you can use to create a delicious and flavorful rub for your barbecue ribs.

Here are some of the best sweeteners to use in a keto-friendly barbecue rub:

  1. Stevia: Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. It’s a popular sugar substitute for people on a keto diet because it has zero calories and zero carbohydrates. Stevia is incredibly sweet, so you’ll only need a small amount to sweeten your rub.
  2. Erythritol: Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that’s commonly used as a sugar substitute. It has almost zero calories and zero net carbs, making it a great option for a keto barbecue rub. Erythritol has a slightly cooling effect when you eat it, so be sure to taste your rub before you add too much.
  3. Monk Fruit Extract: Monk fruit extract is a natural sweetener that comes from the monk fruit. It’s zero calories and zero carbs, making it perfect for a keto diet. Monk fruit extract is incredibly sweet, so you’ll only need a small amount to sweeten your rub.
  4. Allulose: Allulose is a rare sugar that’s found naturally in some fruits, including figs and raisins. It’s similar to table sugar in taste and texture but has almost zero calories and net carbs, making it ideal for a keto diet. Allulose can also help keep your ribs moist while they cook.
  5. Xylitol: Xylitol is another sugar alcohol that’s commonly used as a sugar substitute. It has fewer calories and carbs than sugar and won’t raise your blood sugar levels. Xylitol has a sweet taste that’s similar to sugar and can be used in place of sugar in almost any recipe.

When creating a keto barbecue rub, it’s important to keep in mind that most traditional barbecue sauces and rubs also contain high-carb ingredients like ketchup, molasses, and honey.

To keep your rub keto-friendly, opt for low-carb alternatives like tomato paste or puree, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar.

storing keto bbq ribs

When it comes to storing keto BBQ ribs, the first thing you want to do is make sure they are cooked properly. You don’t want to leave any uncooked meat on the bone as this can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage. Once your ribs are cooked, you have a few options for storing them.

  1. Refrigerate

If you plan on eating your ribs within a few days, you can store them in the refrigerator. Make sure you let them cool to room temperature before wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You can also store them in an airtight container. Ribs can last in the refrigerator for up to four days.

  1. Freeze

If you don’t plan on eating your ribs right away, you can freeze them for later. Let your ribs cool to room temperature before wrapping them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Label the package with the date and contents, and store them in the freezer. Ribs can last in the freezer for up to six months.

Freezing Keto BBQ Ribs

Freezing keto BBQ ribs is a great way to keep them fresh for longer periods of time. Here are a few tips on how to freeze them properly.

  1. Let Them Cool

Always let your ribs cool to room temperature before freezing them. This will prevent condensation from forming inside the package, which can lead to freezer burn.

  1. Wrap Them Tightly

Wrap your ribs tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. This will prevent freezer burn and keep them fresh for longer.

  1. Label and Date

Always label your packages with the date and contents. This will help you keep track of how long they’ve been in the freezer and prevent confusion later on.

  1. Store Them Properly

Store your frozen ribs in the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent. This will help them stay frozen and fresh for longer.

Thawing Keto BBQ Ribs

When it comes time to thaw your keto BBQ ribs, you want to do it safely to prevent any bacterial growth. Here are some tips for thawing your frozen ribs.

  1. Plan Ahead

Make sure you plan ahead and give yourself enough time to thaw your ribs. It’s best to thaw them in the refrigerator, which can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on the size of the ribs.

  1. Microwave

If you’re in a hurry, you can also use the microwave to thaw your ribs. Use the defrost setting and be sure to rotate the package every few minutes to prevent uneven thawing.

  1. Cook Thoroughly

Once your ribs are thawed, you want to cook them thoroughly to an internal temperature of 145°F. This will ensure that any bacteria that may have grown during the thawing process is killed.

Fall of the Bone Coffee-Rubbed BBQ Ribs

Fall of the Bone Coffee-Rubbed BBQ Ribs

Yield: 12-14
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes


For the Rub:


  1. Combine salt, white pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, sweetener, and ground coffee in a small bowl.
  2. Rub ribs down with yellow mustard on both sides.
  3. Season the ribs liberally with the rub.
  4. Wrap the ribs in plastic wrap, then cover them in foil.
  5. Chill overnight or for at least 8 hours.
  6. Take the ribs out 1 hour prior to smoking or baking.
  7. Set up the barrel house smoker or preheat the oven to 275.
  8. Smoke or bake for 5 hours or until ribs are tender to be pulled off the bone.
Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 42Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 2gCholesterol 11mgSodium 78mgCarbohydrates 1gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 2g

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