Spare ribs are the best things to eat at any reputable BBQ place, so why not learn how to make your own? With a tasty, super simple glaze, you can enjoy the best ribs you’ll ever have without having to get them out at an expensive BBQ restaurant.
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Spare ribs are one of the most quintessentially BBQ foods there is. Tender, juicy, and ideally served lacquered with a thick, sweet glaze, these are what you serve when you really want to impress your BBQ guests.
Though it does require a good amount of time and work, constantly turning and applying layer after layer of sweet, sticky glaze, it is definitely worth it.
Serve these at your next BBQ, or just use the good weather as an excuse to go outside and make them yourself.
Could You Use Beef Ribs Instead?
This recipe uses a rack of spare ribs, which are specifically the ribs from the lower area of the pig.
Spare ribs are great because they are naturally tender, and have a load of meat on them, while still having that super flavorful bit of bone in the middle that allows them to stand up to longer cooking times and hotter temperatures.
If you don’t particularly like pork ribs, though, you could instead go for some beef ribs instead.
Beef has spare ribs as well, though they are rightly called “short ribs” instead, and they actually have a lot more meat on them than pork spare ribs.
Keep in mind, though, that beef short ribs are really more of a soup or stock addition, as they have a ton of connective tissue that needs to cook down to turn into gelatin.
While you absolutely could swap beef short ribs in place of your pork spare ribs, you might find that you need to increase the cooking time just a little bit to get the same level of tenderness.
How To Easily Adjust The Recipe For A Larger Portion
A lot of recipes have the unfortunate problem of not being easily scalable.
Whether based on really large or really small amounts of various ingredients or because of it requiring really specific quantities of meat, a lot of recipes only really work if you follow them to the letter.
This recipe is easily scalable, however. It doubles super easily, so long as you buy two packs of pork spare ribs, and the glaze is easily repeatable to make any amount of sauce you want!
In fact, you might consider making double the sauce anyway, and just keep the glaze in the fridge for another meal! It cooks down really nicely even on the stovetop and becomes a perfect sauce for finishing steak or fish with.
Why Constant Turning And Basting Is Important
An incredibly frequent step in any ribs recipe is the requirement to turn and baste your ribs frequently.
This isn’t just one of those age-old cooking aphorisms that everyone does with no reason, however. It actually provides an incredibly important depth of flavor and texture that you just couldn’t get otherwise.
Turning the meat accomplishes two things: it stops the meat on the side from overcooking, and it also allows for the glaze you’ve applied to the meat to cool down.
The glaze needs to cool, because as it does, it hardens ever so slightly, helping to produce that desirable lacquered effect.
This is where the constant basting and glazing comes in – by applying new glaze every time you turn, you create dozens of little layers of hardened, caramelized sauce that provide a really nice crunch and extra flavor in every bite.
While you could just leave the ribs on the grill and turn them once or twice, the addition of frequent turning and glazing makes for the perfect spare rib.
What To Serve With Your Glazed Spareribs
These spare ribs are filling and satisfying enough that you could probably eat them all on their own, but they just as easily pair with one of these great sides.
The humble baked potato is a classic side dish for anything made on a barbeque, because not only can they cook right next to the meat when wrapped in plenty of tin foil, but they also require basically no prep or additional work.
Just like with a baked potato, corn on the cob is great for any BBQ because it can cook right next to the meat. Just put them on the warm side of the grill and turn them frequently to develop a really nice char, and serve slathered in butter.
Requiring a little bit more work than the previous two options, coleslaw needs finely grating or chopping the vegetables, as well as a careful blend of mayo and other seasonings.
Or you could just buy it – no one would ever know.
Looking for more delicious Rib recipes? Try these out:
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- Prep Time
- 30 minutes
- Cook Time
- 30 minutes
- Karlynn Johnston
- 1 rack pork spare ribs (2-3 lbs)
- ¼ cup onion (diced)
- ½ Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1¾ cup ketchup
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 dry bay leaf (halved)
- In a large pot bring water to a boil. Add the spare ribs and turn the heat down to medium and let the ribs simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat add the oil and onion and saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining glaze ingredients to the sauteed onion and bring to a light boil. Continue to simmer on low for about 20-25 minutes stirring often. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
- Put the ribs on a plate and pour about 1/2 of the sauce on them and spread it on both sides with a basting brush.
- Grill for about 20-25 minutes, turning every 5 minutes while basting with a clean basting brush and the remaining glaze near the end of the cooking time.
- Serve with your favorite loaded baked potato or coleslaw.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.