Slow Cooked Pork Spare Ribs
Updated: Aug 16, 2022
Nothing says 'Summer Barbecue' more than a beautiful long slab of pork spare ribs, cooked slowly and smoked on your outdoor grill. These pork spare ribs are rubbed with a sweet and smoky dry rub (and a couple unique spices), marinated and steamed with sweet apple juice, and then covered with your favorite tangy barbecue sauce. Your neighbors will be envious when they smell the aroma of these ribs smoking in your backyard. Why not make plenty and invite them all over!
Large rack of pork spare ribs
BBQ Sauce of your choice (Keto diets use low carb, sugar free option)
1 TBSN of ground cinnamon
1 TBSN of smoked paprika
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (Keto diets can eliminate this ingredient)
32 oz. of Apple juice (Keto diets can replace with beef stock)
1 stick of butter, sliced in several pats
Aluminum foil, foil loaf pan for apple juice steaming, marinating brush, paper towels, silicone gloves, baking sheet, sharp knife. tongs.
For the most tender ribs, follow the crock pot recipe. You sacrifice some of the smoky flavor, but not the amazing taste... and may even be more moist than cooking on a grill.
Prep: 24-36 hours to marinate, 10-15 to prep grill/smoker
Cook: 3 hours slow cooked in grill/smoker Ready: 3 hours, 15 min Serves: 1 rack serves 2-4
Before you handle any food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Clean your kitchen work area and pull back your hair or wear a cap. You want to avoid contaminating your meal with harmful bacteria that could cause food illness.
To make Slow-Cooked Pork Spare Ribs using Crock Pot:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On an aluminum foil sheet, lay out ribs meaty side down. Remove the thin membrane skin from the boney side. Take a knife, make a small cut under the membrane at the end to get it started. Use a paper towel to grip it and pull off. if it rips, just start pulling the rest until it all comes off.
3. Mix together dry rub, cinnamon, paprika, and brown sugar.
4. Turn Crock Pot on to LOW setting.
5. Cut ribs into individual ribs or sections then rinse and pat dry.
6. Turn the ribs over and pat dry the meaty side with a paper towel. Generously apply rub mixture to meaty exposed areas and around the edges. Coat all exposed surfaces and rub into the meat. Mostly cover meat side with rub as it is not necessary to coat the bones.
7. Baste barbecue sauce on the meat side of the ribs.
8. Bake ribs for 15 minutes in the oven on each side (30 minutes total) to sear meat.
9. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray then add a thin layer of remaining barbecue sauce, followed by ribs. Layer sauce then ribs until complete, tossing to coat as needed to ensure ribs are evenly coated in barbecue sauce.
10. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours. Rotate ribs once during cooking so they cook evenly. Cooking time may vary between slow cookers.
11. Gently remove ribs from slow cooker and serve hot. Ribs will be tender and meat can easily fall off the bone.
To make Slow-Cooked Pork Spare Ribs using Barbecue Grill:
1. On an aluminum foil sheet, lay out ribs meaty side down. Remove the thin membrane skin from the boney side. Take a knife, make a small cut under the membrane at the end to get it started. Use a paper towel to grip it and pull off. if it rips, just start pulling the rest until it all comes off. 2. Mix together dry rub, cinnamon, paprika, and brown sugar. Turn the ribs over and pat dry the meaty side with a paper towel. Generously apply rub mixture to meaty exposed areas and around the edges. Coat all exposed surfaces and rub into the meant with your hands. It is not necessary to dry rub the boney side but if you have some left over, this is OK. Mostly cover meat with rub as it is not necessary to coat the bones. 3. Once the ribs are completely coated, wrap completely in foil and put in the fridge. Let the ribs sit for 24-36 hours to allow the dry rub to set in. 4. When ready, fire up the smoker or grill with smoking capabilities. Set temperature between 225-250 degrees F. Don’t let the grill get too hot as it will dry out or burn the rib meat. 5. Place ribs wrapped in foil on the top rack of the grill as not be exposed to direct heat. Fill a foil loaf pan with apple juice and lay it on the bottom rack of the grill, and not directly under the ribs. The steam from the apple juice will help flavor the ribs and will also be used to soak the ribs periodically. 6. Close grill and let the ribs cook for 60 minutes. 7. After 60 minutes, open the foil packet and expose the meaty side of the ribs. Using a marinating brush, apply some of the hot apple juice to the ribs to keep the meat moist. Cook for 30 minutes. 8. After 30 minutes, Use marinating brush to apply more of the hot apple juice to the ribs to keep the meat moist. Add a tablespoon of butter on top of each rib. Just let it melt and use marinating brush to spread all over the full rack. Cook for 30 more minutes. 9. After 30 minutes, Use marinating brush to apply more of the hot apple juice to the ribs to keep the meat moist. Cook for 30 more minutes. 10. After 30 minutes, slather with preferred amount of your favorite BBQ sauce and let cook uncovered for 30 more minutes. 11. The ribs should have slow cooked for a total of 3 hours. Remove the ribs in foil using silicone gloves and place in baking sheet. Be careful moving rack of ribs from grill as it will be hot and tender and will fall apart easily. Let sit covered in foil for 10 min. 12. Flip the rack over to see the boney side. Slice the ribs using a sharp knife between the bones. You can either cut out each rib separately, or divide into smaller racks for each person, then serve.
1 rib: 160 calories, 12 g fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 0 sodium, 0 carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 10 g protein.
A 3-ounce portion of rib meat supplies 24 grams of protein and contains only 12 grams of fat. The protein is a great way to fuel up muscles and pork ribs supply all the amino acids you need to rebuild muscle tissue.
Spanish Grenache, Dry Creek Zinfandel, or Nero d’Avola.
Unfortunately, I am not aware of a Vegan or vegetarian alternative for Spare Ribs. Send me a comment if you have recommendations we can share.
Side Dish pairing: Macaroni and Cheese with Beer and Cheddar Cheese Sauce or Beer Soaked Potato Wedges. Be sure to check out these recipes!
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Sugar-free alternative- Use honey, molasses, or sugar substitute of choice instead of brown sugar.
Kick the GLUTS and use a gluten-free BBQ sauce from your local supermarket.
Spicy Smoked Ribs. Replace brown sugar with 2 TBSN cayenne pepper. Marinate with brush using hot sauce or Tabasco instead of apple juice.
Root Beer Ribs. Replace apple juice with your favorite root beer. Marinate with brush using root beer as well.
Add Smokie flavor by smoking your ribs using Oak, Hickory, or Mesquite wood chips.