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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

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
  • 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 below). 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.


Kansas City Style
In step 2, stir in 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar, 2 tablespoons molasses, and 1 tablespoon yellow mustard.

Memphis Style
In step 2, stir in 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco) and 1/4 cup sugar.

Dallas Style
In step 2, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle in adobo sauce and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin.

Cook's Notes

The base of our 3 sauces is made with ketchup, vinegar, onion, garlic, and cayenne. Add one of the variations for a sweet, spicy, or smoky sauce.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS12157780
    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!
  • MS112572971
    22 MAY, 2008
    so good...spicy and sweet....Enjoy with a tomato and onion salad and a glass of Merlot!
  • MS112572971
    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!