Nothing says summer quite like a slow cooked, delicious, tender slab of BBQ Pork Spare Ribs. Even better, they are easy to make on a smoker or in the oven.
I love me a good rack of ribs. I’ve ruined a fair share in my life, though. The story I’m about to share was the first time I totally screwed up my attempt at ribs.
My first “date” with my husband of now eleven years was when he came over to my house for dinner. I put “date” in quotations because I was living with my mom (totally by choice) and it can’t really be considered a date if you’re mom is there, can it? Anyway, one day at work I was going on and on about the food I had cooked the day before. This is a common occurrence with me. I made it obvious to my now husband how delicious the food was and what a great cook I was (I wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t half as amazing as I made myself sound) because I wanted him to like me, and every woman knows that second fastest way to win a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Long story short, I invited him over for a fabulous rib dinner. I was planning on cooking them on the grill. When he got there, we found out we were out of propane. His first honey-do chore was to go fill it up. I think I ended up attempting to cook them in the oven, but little did I know that ribs really need to be braised (cook in liquid at low temperature for a long time) to make them tender. The ribs I made were incredibly tough, flavorless, and nearly impossible to rip off the bone. I’m happy to say that I have repeatedly redeemed myself.
Immediately after I took the photo above, I set my camera down and ate more ribs than I care to admit over the internet. I didn’t even bother taking the time to get a plate and I licked my fingers clean. They were that good.
- 1 rack pork spare ribs
- 1 cup yellow mustard
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup whiskey barbecue sauce or any other preferred BBQ sauce
- Prepare ribs by removing membrane which is usually attached to the underside of the rib cage. Sometimes the butcher does this before you buy them. Rub both sides of ribs with mustard and brown sugar. Wrap tightly and store in the refrigerator 6 hours to overnight. If you're in a real hurry, you can skip the refrigeration and just start the cooking process.
- Using hickory pellets, set smoker to smoke with the lid open for 5 minutes. Smoke ribs for 3 hours.
- Open lid. Increase temperature from smoke to 225 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil (the thin stuff will tear) twice the length of the ribs and transfer the ribs to the foil using tongs. Wrap the foil up around the ribs to make a bowl. Pour the apple cider vinegar over the ribs. Apple juice works as well, but I find the vinegar makes the meat even more tender. Wrap the ribs in the foil taking care not to let the vinegar spill out. Cook for 2 hours.
- Remove ribs from foil and place back on the grill. With the heat still still set at 225, cover the ribs with the barbecue sauce and cook for one additional hour.
- The ends of the bones should be exposed and the meat should be extremely tender. Take great care lifting them off the grill so as not to have them fall apart.
- Wrap ribs in heavy duty aluminum foil in such a way that the package can hold liquid. Before sealing up, pour vinegar over ribs. Bake in preheated 250 degree F oven for 3 hours.
- Remove the ribs from the oven and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Cover with barbecue sauce.
- Set the oven to broil and place ribs back in oven until sauce is slightly browned and firm but not burned.