How to Make the Best BBQ Spare Ribs

If you typed recipe spare rib, you are no kidding around. You are looking for serious American bbq.

Be not afraid. A recipe spare rib is quite easy, it just takes time, and patience.

This page will deal with slow smoked pork ribs, check the links on the main rib page to see recipes using your oven- only allowed when there is 3 ft of snow outside…

When someone talks ribs in the bbq lexicon, they most likely mean the humble beautiful spare rib. Spareribs can get a bad wrap: too tough, too fatty. But this does not have to be the case- should NOT be the case, and I will tell you why and show you how to make them.

Cut lower on the hog, the spare rib is indeed a tougher piece of meat as it does (did!) more of the work.

And yes, it is fatty.

But if you smoke these pork ribs, and you will because you are going for authentic bbq, this negates both problems.

A long slow smoke at 225 degrees (more on that in a bit) renders the pork ribs tender; in fact you can cook them until they are fall off of the bone. But, more on that in a bit as well…

Also- a long slow smoke renders out much of the fat. Ta da. Both problems solved…

***As to my two notes from above: Many people equate great ribs as being “fall off the bone tender.”

Sorry, this is not the case.

In his great work on the Memphis in May competition, Jeffrey Steingarten reveals that optimal pork ribs are those that can be torn from the rack and will yield equal amounts of meat on both sides- a clean tear.

If you pull the rib off of the rack and only get bone- all of the meat is left-your ribs are overcooked.

As to the second point about spareribs – their fattiness. Come on, really?

Do you want to live forever?

Recipe spare rib:

• one rack of 4/down spare ribs

• Rib rub. You can use this all purpose rub or go to pork rub page to find some others..

What kind of smoker should you use for your recipe spare rib?

Well, something as simple as a weber kettle will work, or and old 55 gallon oil drum. In my restaurant I used a $15k automated smoker, but I will tell you honestly some of the best’cue I’ve had is on the side of the road in South Texas where the smoker of choice was an old drum.

For a balance of grilling and smoking, I think you can’t beat the Weber bullet for versatility and price:

For fuel, I prefer pecan and oak, but hickory works well and for ribs apple wood is dynamite, although I find it to be too mild for other meats.

Rub you ribs 24 hours in advance if possible, but this is not crucial. What is crucial is that you sprinkle (using a shaker or fingers) the rub on in a nice amount and not pack it in.

Smoke the ribs for 4-5 hours. This is not exact as it depends on your temperature, and the ribs themselves. Do not turn them. Most of the fat is on top and in the meat and it will provide a natural basting.

You will notice a few things when they are done:

the meat will pull back from the rib bone about 1/2-1″.

Also, the meat will not spring back immediately to your touch.

Now your meat is done. Time to celebrate! You can serve them as is- Memphis dry style, with sauce on the side.

Or you can go for Memphis wet ribs and bathe them in sauce- but please, use a brush and don’t go too crazy.

Or, you can go wet/dry: Brush on some sauce and then sprinkle with your dry rub.

I like mine dry as there is nothing finer than pork, smoked over hardwood.

It is, divine swine!

I then use my sauce like I would with Buffalo wings- for dunking. Now how do you cut these beautiful pork ribs?? It’s very easy

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