Despite there being a quite a few ingredients, this is actually a very easy recipe: marinate, bundle into silver foil, roast and then simply finish unwrapped in the oven – or transfer to the BBQ. The result should be beautifully soft, moist and flavorful ribs.
Being from the UK, we are not as geared up for BBQs as our American cousins: smokers are rare, indeed BBQ weather too! We tend to use our BBQs more as a charcoal grill rather than a hot smoker, or oven. For that reason, this is based on being cooked in the oven – then finished on the BBQ (if you are blessed with suitable weather) or simply finishing uncovered until you get a nice colour and crispiness.
Baby back ribs are from the inner end of the ribs – closest to the spine – spareribs are the thicker meatier outer end. Therefore, spareribs have more meat – but need to cook for longer. The St. Louis Cut is a very neatly trimmed sparerib.
- 1.8 kg (4 lb) pork babyback or spareribs
- 1 lemon’s juice (or half an orange, but use a little less honey unless you want a sweeter marinade)
- 230 ml (1 cup) honey
- 60 ml (0.25 cup) tomato ketchup
- 60 ml (0.25 cup) soy sauce
- 60 ml (0.25 cup) Worcestershire sauce
- 5 ml (1 tsp.) chilli sauce (less if you want, or 15ml if you want more of a kick)
- 15 ml (1 tbsp.) paprika
- 5 ml (1 tsp.) dry mustard
- 10 ml (2 tsp. / 1 dsp. oregano)
- 15 ml (1 tbsp.) garlic powder, or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- Ideally, the ribs should marinate overnight, so prep the first part the day before. Mix all the marinade ingredients together (everything but the ribs!)
- Trim the ribs, if required, and remove the membrane from the underside (non-meaty side) of the ribs. Its quite easy to do, but too things to remember:
- Use a kitchen towel if you need to to get a better grip.
- Peel from the narrow to the wide end.
- Take a large peace of foil, double and a bit the length of the ribs, place the ribs in the middle – meat side down – liberally cover with marinade, then turn over apply again.
- Seal up the rack and place in the fridge until needed.
- Heat the oven to 160C / 320F and roast for 2½ hours (3 hours if you are using spareribs). Then open up the foil and cook for another 30 minutes (or until the the meat turn a deep golden brown) or transfer to the BBQ and cook until the desired colour has been reached.
The marinade needs to be cooked – it is not a dipping sauce – if you want to serve the ribs with extra sauce, reserve the juices when you remove the rack from the foil, you can either serve ‘as is’ or, if required, add a little cornstarch to thicken it. (Mix about a tsp. of cornstarch with a little water, bring the sauce to the boil and while stirring vigorously pour in the cornstarch mixture).
For those that are lucky enough to have one, then a Traeger or similar low temperature closed-lid barbecue would be great for the whole process. ‘3-2-1’ seems to be a popular method: 3 hours uncovered, 2 wrapped in foil then a final hour unwrapped – but I find 3 hours of cooking time sufficient to have ribs where the meat will just fall off the bone.