How Do I Barbecue Pork Spare Ribs?

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  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 22 February 2020
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The process to barbecue pork spare ribs is relatively simple and can easily be altered to create a variety of dishes. To start, the meat needs to be trimmed of the membrane, and any excess fat should be removed as well. At least several hours prior to cooking the spare ribs, or a few days if you have the presence of mind, season the meat well so that the spices have a chance to seep deep into the pork. Once you’re ready to barbecue pork spare ribs, set your grill to a low temperature and let the pork cook for several hours. At this point, you can eat the ribs as-is or add a sauce for extra flavor.

As with most types of meat, some amount of trimming is required before you barbecue pork spare ribs. The most important part is removing the silvery membrane that is located on the bottom of the ribs across the exposed bone; while the membrane is not harmful, it tends to have an unpleasant texture. If there is any excess fat on the spare ribs, you can remove this as well; however, as the spare ribs are going to be grilled, most of the fat will melt off the meat, and add some additional flavor while doing so.


One of the most important aspects of making succulent and flavorful barbecue pork spare ribs is to season the meat well in advance of cooking it, anywhere from six to eight hours or one to two days. You can use any combination of seasonings that you like, from a simple sprinkling of coarse salt and pepper to a more elaborate dry rub or spice paste. No matter what type of seasoning you use, covering both sides of the pork spare ribs is important. This will help to ensure that the flavor of the seasoning penetrates to the center of the meat.

Grilling the meat at a low heat for a long period of time is the ideal way to barbecue pork spare ribs. A charcoal grill is generally best, although you can use gas or propane. Set the grill to about 275°F (135°C), or prepare your charcoal grill so that the heat is low enough that you can leave your hand close to the grates for five seconds without significant pain. Place the spare ribs on the grill with the side containing most of the meat in direct contact with the grates, and let them cook for two to three hours, checking occasionally for flare-ups. Then, flip the ribs over and let them cook with the bone side on the grates for about an hour.

At this point, depending on the type of seasoning that you used, you can eat the barbecue pork spare ribs as-is. If you want to use a sauce, you can either baste the ribs on the grill, flipping them over several times and applying even coats as you continue to grill, or add sauce once the ribs are off of the grill. For those who decide to use a sauce, it is important to wait until the ribs are fully cooked before applying anything, as most sauces will burn when left on the grill for the recommended three- to four-hour cooking time.



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