Help! How Do I Cook This? (Pork Spare Ribs)

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Sorry for the hunk of raw, frozen meat in the photo, especially if you’re having your morning coffee while blog reading.

I found this in the bottom of the freezer the other day.  We get 1/2 a hog from my sister’s kids’ 4-H project.  We’re getting down to the end of it.  The pork burgers and Italian sausage are all gone.  There are still many, many packs of bacon though.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all the bacon.

And there’s this piece of spare rib.  I have no idea how to cook this.   I could Google for a recipe, but that didn’t sound like as much fun as just asking you guys. 

So what do I do with this?  Grill it?  Bake it?  Dig a deep pit in the backyard, build a fire and turn it on a skewer?

What about sauce?  The secret is in the sauce, right?

I’m putting up a linky, in case you have a recipe on your blog you want to link up.  Feel free to leave links or recipes in the comments too.


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  1. With ribs, we just cut them so they fit in our crockpot. Bake them for 15 min on each side so that some of the fat drips off and place them in the crockpot. Then I whisk 1 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, 2 cans Dr. Pepper, and 1/4 cup sugar together and pour it on top of the ribs in the crockpot and let it cook on low for about 6-8hrs. My husband LOVES them this way and the meat just falls right off the bones. Delicious!

  2. The secret is slow cooking… I’d second Skye P’s suggestion on the crockpot but for sauce I would suggest 1.5 cups of your favourite BBQ sauce and 3/4 cup of pure maple syrup. By dinner, the ribs will be sticky to touch but fall off the bones at the same time…served with corn

  3. Can’t help with the ribs as I have only baked and slathered them. I want to try grilling them this year but have yet to find a recipe that looks good enough to try- I saw one with them cooking in the crock pot first- then grilling at the end. Sounded promising.

    But on the bacon! I can help there. I make my kids favorite sauce with it- You slice some bacon into matchsticks- fry in a little olive oil (yes I know bacon doesn’t “need” the olive oil but the flavor mmmm)
    When it’s crispy- toss in either 2 cans of drained chopped tomatoes- or 2 fresh chopped tomatoes. Add a dash of cayenne. Cook for about 10 minutes while your pasta cooks- Toss pasta in sauce and serve!

  4. I would probably cook them in the slow cooker. Pour a little water in the bottom of the crock, then season the ribs with Montreal grilling seasoning. Cook for 3 hours on low; then pour a bottle of honey bbq sauce over them and cook for 3 more hours on low.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Go to

  6. Christina says:

    I just made pork spareribs last week and they were wonderful! I followed a technique from Cooks Illustrated. There are some pictures that go with it. Send me your email address if you want me to email you the whole article. I HIGHLY recommend cooking them this way. They were incredible!

    6tablespoons mustard (yellow)
    2tablespoons ketchup
    3medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
    2teaspoons ground black pepper
    1tablespoon sweet paprika
    1tablespoon chili powder
    1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/2tablespoons kosher salt
    3tablespoons brown sugar

    2racks St. Louis-style spareribs , 2 1/2 to 3 pounds each, trimmed of surface fat, membrane removed (see illustrations below), each rack cut in half
    1/4cup Lapsang Souchong tea leaves (finely ground)—from about 10 tea bags, or 1/2 cup loose tea leaves ground to a powder in a spice grinder) (I used Irish Breakfast tea bags)
    1/2cup apple juice

    1. For the Rub: Combine mustard, ketchup, and garlic in small bowl; combine pepper, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and sugar in separate small bowl. Spread mustard mixture in thin, even layer over both sides of ribs; coat both sides with spice mixture, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

    2. Transfer ribs from refrigerator to freezer for 45 minutes. Adjust one oven rack to lowest position and second rack to upper-middle position (at least 5 inches below broiler). Place baking stone on lower rack; heat oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle ground tea evenly over bottom of rimmed baking sheet; set wire rack on sheet. Place ribs meat side up on rack and cover with heavy-duty foil, crimping edges tightly to seal. Roast ribs directly on stone for 30 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees, leaving oven door open for 1 minute to cool. While oven is open, carefully open one corner of foil and pour apple juice into bottom of baking sheet; reseal foil. Continue to roast until meat is very tender and begins to pull away from bones, about 1 1/2 hours. (Begin to check ribs after 1 hour; leave loosely covered with foil for remaining cooking time.)

    3. Remove foil and carefully flip racks bone side up; place baking sheet on upper-middle oven rack. Turn on broiler; cook ribs until well browned and crispy in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip ribs meat side up and cook until well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.

    • We also used cook’s illustrated, but the grilling book. This is slightly modified, and they are delicious!

      Use your favorite rub, slather it on, then let them sit at room temp for an hour.

      Get the grill hot, then turn the primary burner to medium and the other burners off. Positio the ribs over the cool part of the grill and close the lid. Turn every 30 minutes until cooked through, and meat starting to pull away from the bones, about 2-3 hours.

      Remove the ribs from the grill, wrap in foil. Place the foil in a paper bag and seal tightly. Let stand at room temp for 1 hour (they say this is how to end up with juicy ribs, and they were so juicy!)

      Unwrap, cut and serve. They are a bit of a project, but are the best ribs I’ve had.

  7. Boil the ribs, two ribs of celery, a whole onion, and 2 TBSP of Zatarains Crab Boil for 45 minutes. Then, put the meat on the grill and coat with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce. You are only baking the sauce on at this point – so about 10 minutes each side – turn and recoat 3 times (side 1, side 2, side 1)

    • Andie Battles says:

      I second Catherine. My brother boils his first and then lets them get the char on the grill. They are the best ribs on the planet!

  8. I put them in the slow cooker all day with BBQ seasoning then when ready to eat I slather on sweet baby ray’s bbq sauce. Sometimes I place them on a cookie sheet, then put on the sauce and then broil to get that grilled look.

  9. CSendykar says:

    I bake them in the oven. Pour a can of sauerkraut over the ribs and sprinkle brown and white sugar over. I usually make this for new years eve but my family loves it this way.

  10. I put a dry rub on them and bake them at 275-300 loosley covered with foil for about 3-5 hours until they about fall off the bone. I usually freeze the cooked ribs. Then grill with barbecue sauce for dinner.

  11. Breanna says:

    On the grill! You do them on the grill!!!

    Rub them with a mixture of brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and chili powder.

    Buy one of those little foil pans of hickory chips for use on a gas grill and set it up according to its directions. Heat your grill to about 300 degrees.

    Pop the ribs on and cook them slow for about 3 1/2 hours, flipping and rotating them every thirty minutes. For the last 15 minutes, paint with your favorite BBQ sauce. They are TENDER. And wonderful, and not in the least greasy. I just moved to Texas and these are every bit as good as the ribs you can get at a BBQ place.

    Enjoy! (You can probably also find the real recipie we used on America’s Test Kitchen website.)

  12. I don’t have a special recipe for ribs, I love them anyway they show up on my plate.
    I do have an awesome and unusual recipe for BACON JAM that I found here ……
    you can use it on everything, hot dogs, bread, cheese and crackers, omelets , sandwiches or just on a spoon!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m not an expert with the grill, and I’m always afraid of drying out meat in the oven, but I know how to cook with a crockpot! When I find those huge packages of ribs on sale at Sam’s (we call them brontosaurus ribs), I freeze them in sizes that will fit in my slow cooker. Sometimes I cook them with a dry rub. I also cook them with just a bit of water, then take them out right before dinner and coat them in bbq sauce and put them in the oven just long enough for the sauce to warm and sink in. Yum-o.

  14. Can’t quite tell from the picture if you have regular spare ribs or country-style ribs. No matter. Regardless of the cooking method you choose, do be sure and coat the meat with a rub at least a couple hours before cooking. It really helps to get the flavor into the meat.
    Here is a simple recipe that you should have the ingredients for:

    All South Bar-B-Cue Rub
    2 T. Salt
    2 T. Sugar
    2 T. Brown Sugar
    2 T. Ground Cumin
    2 T. Chile Powder
    2 T. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
    1 T. Cayenne Pepper
    4 T. Paprika

    Mix ingredients together and store tightly covered. Makes about 1 c.

    You might want to halve the recipe to be sure you like it.

    Here is my favorite homemade barbecue sauce recipe:

    Panhandle Barbecue Sauce
    1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup
    1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
    1/2 c. light molasses
    1/2 c. vinegar
    1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
    1/4 c. vegetable oil (I don’t use this)
    1 T. instant minced onion
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    1 T. seasoned salt
    1 T. dry mustard
    1 T. Worcestershire sauce
    1 t. orange or lemon peel (can leave out if you don’t have)
    2 t. paprika
    1/2 t. pepper

    Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer
    for 15 to 20 min., stirring occasionally. Cool and store in refrigerator. Keeps 6 months.
    Makes about 1 1/2 cups. May be frozen.

    Original recipe from Year Round Holiday Cookbook by Marlene Sorosky

    Good luck. No matter what you do, it will be good, I’m sure.

  15. This summer, I have been working my way through Steven Raichlen’s book How to Grill. I’ve learned a TON from it. Ribs are on the try list for today, and I’m doing the coffee rub from the back of the book. We’ll see how it goes. (P.S. I really like Sticky Fingers Carolina Classic mustard-based sauce)

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