What’s For Dinner: Easy Memphis-Style Barbecued Pork Spareribs

You can cook ribs any way you want. You can also put them in a slow cooker, bake them in a sauce or stick them straight on the BBQ. We found this recipe in Grill It! and thought we’d give it a try. It was a bit spicy for the kids, but that can be easily adjusted by minimizing the spicy spices.

NB: I used my regular propane BBQ to do the last bit, we don’t have a charcoal BBQ.


This is for those of you who don’t have the patience or the space to make slow-barbecued ribs. Although they only spend a few minutes on the grill (after several hours in the oven), this version is still mighty delicious. In fact, once they’re oven-cooked, you can refrigerate them for up to two days before finishing them off on the grill. They are “Memphis-style” because, like the pitmasters of that rib-centric city, we don’t put sauce on the meat. Instead, we coat them with our Traditional Barbecue Rub before they get cooked, then pass the sauce separately along with the cooked ribs. That way, the ribs have a nice, crisp, dry crust on the outside, which you can coat with as much sauce as you like.


Traditional Barbecue Rub


1/3 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground paprika
2 tablespoons ground chile powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground ginger

The Sauce


1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons prepared brown mustard
1/2 teaspoon “liquid smoke” (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine all the rub ingredients and mix well. (If you want to multiply the quantities, this mixture will keep, covered and stored in a cool, dry place, for months; it’s great with any pork cut or with chicken.)

Preheat the oven to 200˚F (95°C). Coat the ribs thoroughly with the barbecue rub, set them on baking sheets, and roast until the meat is tender and pulls easily from the bone (about 3 hours). Remove the ribs from the oven.

While the ribs are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, mix well, and set aside.

When the ribs are nearly done, light a small fire in your grill. You want a very low charcoal fire with the grill rack set as high as possible. When the ribs are done, put them on the grill for as long as your patience allows—at least until a light crust has formed, which can take from 10 to 20 minutes per side, depending on your fire. Of course, the longer the ribs cook, the better. Brush them with sauce during the last minute of cooking.


Excerpted from Grill It! Copyright © 2012 by Chris Schlesinger & John Willoughby/DK Publishing. Excerpted by permission DK Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without written permission from the publisher.

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