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Grilled Spare Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

Wrapped in foil, the spiced ribs oven-cook in intense heat; the foil locks in their moisture for supremely tender results. On with the sauce and over to the grill, and they're ready.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6
  • Yield: Serves 6
Grilled Spare Ribs with Barbecue Sauce

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2007


  • 2 slabs pork spare ribs (2 1/2 pounds each)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Desired variations (Kansas City style: 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard; Memphis style: 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco) and 1/4 cup sugar; Dallas style: 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in ado
  • Oil, for grates


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Season ribs with chili powder, salt, and pepper. Stack slabs on a double layer of aluminum foil; wrap tightly. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Cook until meat is fork-tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, make barbecue sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Add ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, cayenne, and desired variation (see ingredients above). Bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Heat grill to medium-high; lightly oil grates. Carefully remove ribs from foil, pouring off any accumulated liquid. Brush ribs generously with sauce; grill until charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with extra sauce, if desired.

Cook's Note

The base of our three sauces is made with ketchup, vinegar, onion, garlic, and cayenne. Add one of the variations for a sweet, spicy, or smoky sauce.

Reviews (6)

  • sheryll_rufus 15 Dec, 2010

    Oooh, I am doing these ribs for Christmas, instead of the turkey I have in my freezer. Will also make one of the coleslaws from here and the quick bbq beans and that is IT. And maybe a dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate icing.

  • EWjunk 25 Jun, 2008

    These were very tasty! I made the KC variation of the sauce. I used baby backs instead of spare ribs, and cooked them 1 hour at 375 then 1 hour at 275. They were super tender. Good idea, Chris, to just sauce them up and hit the broiler!

  • parker9090 22 May, 2008

    so good...spicy and sweet....Enjoy with a tomato and onion salad and a glass of Merlot!

  • parker9090 22 May, 2008

    so good...spicy and sweet....Enjoy with a tomato and onion salad and a glass of Merlot!

  • lzybeanie 13 May, 2008

    Amazing recipe! I doubled it and rotated the ribs in the oven about halfway through. The ribs were so tender and they literally only needed a few minutes on each side to grill in the BBQ sauce flavor. All of my guests were highly impressed with the flavor. I made the Kansas City style BBQ sauce and have made this several times before, each time wtih positive results. One guest suggested I bottle and sell it. I don't think the editors at Everyday would be happy about that!

  • chrisbensch 31 Jan, 2008

    I'll confess, I never got around to actually putting these on the grill--just fired up the broiler for a couple minutes to add a little char. That makes them perfect for year-round use and the results were fantastic!

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