Smoky Pork Spare Ribs

smoky pork spare ribs

We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave…

And unlike in Marilyn’s case, no amount of dudes in striped pants and matching suspenders can help with this situation.

There are two things I usually turn to in sweltering heat: the beach and/or a grill.

smoky pork spare ribs

Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a drive from the beaches these days.

I also find myself without a grill, so more creative measures had to be taken to rid myself of the heat wave blues. And I wanted ribs!

Super tender ribs without the use of a grill? Yes, it can be done!

Now, don’t freak out – I’m going to tell you to turn on your oven. It’s only to 300 degrees though, and in the interest of delicious ribs! Cooked with beer! This can’t be bad!

toasted spices

Some toasted and freshly ground spices couldn’t hurt the situation either.

freshly ground spices

A day of the ribs getting friendly with a dry rub? Definitely a good idea.

dry rub on pork spare ribs

At this point pretty much all the hard work is done. A beer gets poured in the baking sheet, you pop it in the oven, wait, flip it over, wait some more.

Let a handful of ingredients bubble away in a pot and you’ve got BBQ sauce! There’s even enough left over for a super delicious pizza.

smoky pork spare ribs

What comes out of the oven isn’t grilled, but if you close your eyes you can totally pretend it is.

Toasting the whole spices, then adding ground chipotle and pimenton in the rub add a smoky base, and a chipotle in adobo added to the sauce reinforces the faux-grilling factor.

I wonder what else I can faux-grill in the coming summer months…


Smoky Pork Spare Ribs

Adapted from Anne Burrell

This makes enough dry rub and sauce for two racks, but if you aren't feeding a crowd, feel free to make this with only one. Store the leftovers in tightly sealed containers - dry rub in the pantry, bbq sauce in the fridge.


3 for one rack, 6 for two racks


Dry Rub:

  • 1” cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 or 2 racks pork spare ribs (~3 lbs each)
  • 1 or 2 12-ounce beers

BBQ Sauce:

  • ½ small yellow onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • ¼ C packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a small pan over medium heat, dry toast the cinnamon, coriander, fennel, cumin and peppercorns until fragrant. Grind them and combine with brown sugar, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, smoked paprika, ground chipotle, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper. Rub this mixture on the pork, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours (24 is best).
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the ribs on a sheet pan (or two, depending on size) and pour a beer into the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan with foil, not touching the meat. Bake for one hour, then flip the ribs over and replace the foil. Bake for one more hour.
  3. After flipping the ribs over, make the BBQ sauce: Sweat the onions and garlic in a medium pot until translucent. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flavors have come together. Check for seasonings. Strain the sauce through a sieve and set aside.
  4. After the ribs have cooked for two hours, remove the foil, baste with the BBQ sauce on one side and put back in the oven for 15 minutes. Flip the ribs over, baste the other side, and bake 15 more minutes. Cut the ribs apart and serve, with extra sauce if desired.

Posted in: Mains, Party Fare, Pork, Summer

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5 Responses to “Smoky Pork Spare Ribs”

  1. Oh man, I’m so excited for bbq season, and your post just got me even more pumped! I love ribs (and my boyfriend could probably eat them every day of his life) and your recipe looks great! I found ya on Kitchen Artistry and am looking forward to seeing more of your posts! 🙂

  2. emerald says:

    how could you make this on a grill?

    • brittany says:

      You could grill them over indirect heat on a med-low grill (~250 degrees) for around the same amount of time, maybe closer to 3 hours. Baste toward the end, just as in this recipe.

      In the recipe I adapted this from, she actually finished the ribs on the grill, which you could simulate by broiling in the oven. I just couldn’t bear to turn the oven on that high. 🙂

  3. cindy says:

    my husband is obsessed with ribs…and we have never, ever made them at home. I love that these have a dry rub AND sauce…yum!

  4. Ray says:

    Those spare ribs look gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

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