Finger-licking barbecued spareribs

I know we just featured beef ribs last week, but it gave me a craving. So I made Michelle’s Miami Short Ribs for the fam on Thursday. And then they asked for more ribs. But the butcher was out of the beef ribs, so I picked up a rack of back ribs instead. Got home, got them boiling – but when it came time to sauce them and get grilling, I realized I had no sauce. That’s when I learned how to make this finger-licking quick and easy barbecue sauce.

Ribs are, like, the best food ever, according to my 7 year old.

shane eating ribs

What you need:

– 2 racks of pork back ribs – (we prefer back as they’re meatier, but side ribs are much cheaper, either will do

– 3/4 cup ketchup
– pinch salt
– teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
– 1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
– 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
– 2 cloves garlic – pressed
– 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
– few dashes of paprika
– 2 tablespoons vinegar (white or malt)

Optional: 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne or red chili flakes or teaspoon of habanero sauce or hot sauce for some zing

What you do:

Cut the racks of ribs down to a more manageable size – I like sections of 4-5 ribs. Throw them in a stock pot, cover with water and boil for 30 to 45 minutes. The longer you boil, the more fall-off-the-bone tender they’ll be.

While they’re boiling, grab your biggest bowl and mix all of the ingredients together. Stir and blend well until everything is a smooth liquidy paste.

When boiling is done, lift each portion out of the boiling water, give it a quick shake off, and then toss in the sauce. A wonderful Chef friend once told me the secret is to make sure that the sauce is added while the meat is still at its hottest. The pores are open and suck up all of the sauce for the best flavour, he explained.

I believe him.

A basting brush is always handy for getting the sauce into all of the nooks and crannies, in between bones and on the sides.

Fire up the barbecue. Once it’s hot, throw the ribs on medium flame – or high if you want to do this quickly and be very diligent about the barbecuing, otherwise you’ll burn everything.

Place the ribs bone-side down first so that the saucy, meaty side gets to soak up more sauce as the flames caramelize the sugars in the sauce. As the meat shows signs of cooking, flip each portion. You shouldn’t be seeing black – a bit is fine – but the sauce will have darkened. Brush an extra layer of sauce on. Repeat, flipping 2 to 3 times. The more layers of sauce that caramelize on, the better!

To serve, cut the racks into single ribs and let the crowd have at ’em.

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