Ever since the home barbecue revolution of the
1950s, spareribs have had special
status. The crispy finish and wake-up flavor they
get are hard to beat. In this article,
you'll find how to choose a rib cut, rib grilling
tips, and a recipe for a spicy pork rub.
Pick a Rib
Spareribs are the outer ends of pork ribs, which
are sparely covered with meat. A rack of ribs weighs about
3 pounds. If spareribs are to be the main part of a
meal, figure on about 3/4 to 1 pound per person.
Back ribs are short sections of ribs, cut
somewhat closer to the backbone than spareribs. They're sometimes
sold as "baby back ribs."
Country-style ribs are thick and meaty and are
cut from the shoulder end of the rib. They are more like pork
chops than spareribs. Expect about 3 country-style
ribs per pound.
Prep for Grilling
Ribs can be separated and grilled individually, but
basting and turning a rack of ribs is easier than working
with portion cuts.
Wipe the ribs with paper toweling and trim off any
surface fat. For extra tenderness, pull off the
parchmentlike filament on the inside of the rack.
The ribs can then be rubbed with dry spices or marinated.
To add extra flavor when basting pork or any other
grilled meat or poultry, tie a few sprigs of herbs
together and use them as the basting brush.
Spicy Pork Rub
Mix up a big batch of a dry spice rub, then spoon
out just the amount you need when you need it.
Blend together 1/4 cup each of Kosher salt, freshly
ground black pepper, sweet paprika, and sugar. Store
the mixture in a covered jar. Just before using, mix
in 1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest for every 2
tablespoons of the spice mixture.
Or adapt the Basic Steak Rub in the
for pork by adding 1 1/2
dried grated orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.
To cut down on grilling time, we poached (parboiled)
our ribs ahead of time. Parboiling is frequently called
for in recipes for ribs, but if you don't wish to
include this step, leave plenty of time for slow cooking over a
medium to low fire.
Slow cooking is the secret to tender ribs. Without
parboiling, figure on about 1 hour 10 minutes total grilling
time for spareribs, ad up to 1 1/2 hours for country
You don't have to baste but if you want to, brush
the ribs with a mixture of 1/2 cup of chicken stock, the juice
of 1 lemon lime, and 1 teaspoon of hot red pepper
If you want to coat the ribs with a tomato-based
barbecue sauce while they cook, wait until at least halfway
through the cooking; otherwise, the sauce will blacken and burn.