One of the big pleasures of the summer is all of the BBQ cooking that is done. It is the idea way to socialize with friends when the temps are high and the feeling is casual. And nothing is better on the grill than perfect spare ribs.
Summer BBQ Time – How to Cook Perfect Spare Ribs
But foodies know that great spare ribs normally take hours and hours to cook. Great spare ribs are deliciously crusty on the outside but have extremely tender pieces of meat that literally hang off the bone.
Spare ribs have a high percentage of both fat and collagen, and these cannot be broken down with a quick sear on the grill. But you can still end up with perfect spare ribs without being a slave to a smoker all day long. To make perfect spare ribs without the all day cooking, one needs a fantastic dry rub and and a few hours in the kitchen oven at a low heat before finishing the ribs off on the grill.
My favorite rub uses these ingredients:
- 1/4 cup of Spanish Paprika
- 2 tbsp Kosher Salt
- ¼ cup of garlic powder
- 1½ tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1¼ tbsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp onion flakes
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp dried thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp of ground cumin seed
This makes quite a large amount of the rub. I store it in a grinder. See my tutorial for combining these spices as well as a free printable spice jar label on The Gardening Cook.
In addition to the dry rub, you will also later need a generous helping of your favorite barbecue sauce when you sear the ribs over the coals or on a grill.
Step 1. To start, preheat your oven to 325º F. You want a low oven so that the meat will cook very, very slowly, so that it tenderizes as it cooks. Take two large racks of spare ribs and coat them liberally with the dry rub on both sides.
Step 2. Place the racks of ribs on two cookie sheets, being sure that there is a lip on the pan to collect the juices as the meat cooks. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for at least 3 hours.
Step 3. The meat will be very tender when you have cooked enough and the meat will easily pull from the bone.
Step 4. Remove and set aside while you prepare the grill.
Step 5. Ribs cook best over charcoal. You can use a gas grill, but the charcoal gives a better crusty coating to the outside of the ribs and that is what you are aiming for. At this stage you will want a good quality BBQ sauce. I used Weber Real Molasses BBQ sauce Buzz n Honey. It is really delicious.
Step 6. Once the grill is ready, use a basting brush and your favorite barbecue sauce to coat the meaty side of the ribs. Cook the ribs on this side for a few minutes. Baste the bone side with sauce and flip the ribs. Continue doing this until the ribs are crusty but not burned, approximately 15 minutes. We kept basting and turning about every 2 or 3 minutes and they turned out perfectly!
If you are short on time the day that you want to cook the ribs, they can be cooked the day before in the oven and then kept overnight in the fridge. Take them out and bring them to room temperature before you put them on the grill.
Be prepared to amaze your friends when you tell them that you didn’t have to cook these all day long! These are, without a doubt, the best spareribs I have ever eaten. The rub adds a wonderful touch of spice and the barbecue sauce adds a delicious richness to them. The meat literally falls off the bone. I promise, you will love them!
Here are some other ideas for cooking perfect spare ribs. All make use of the oven in one way or another. Most use rubs, and some also smoke as part of the process.
6. Perfect Spare Ribs. (no grill required)
And here are a few more great rubs:
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