Spare ribs are always good and they cook so well on the barbeque. The name ‘spare ribs’ originally derives from the German word ‘rippenspeer’ which means ‘spear ribs’ because they used to be roasted on spears or spits. Spare ribs, which can also be spelt spareribs as one word, are cut from the breastbone and bottom section of the ribs on a pig just above the belly.
In case you are wondering, baby back ribs come from the top part of the ribs. When bacon is removed from the ribs, you end up with a thin layer of meat left on them and these are meatier and juicier than baby back ribs. A full slab of spare ribs weighs between 2 and 5 pounds, although the bigger ones are usually cut into smaller racks which are more manageable. Spare ribs take longer to cook than baby back ribs because they are tougher and bigger. Because they have more meat on than baby backs and more fat marbling though, they tend to be tastier.
Spare ribs epitomize barbequing. They are so flavorful and satisfying. No wonder they are the rib of choice with professional barbeque chefs. St Louis cut ribs, which are also called Kansas City cut ribs, are just spare ribs with the rib tips removed. This adds to the visual appeal of the ribs and also helps them to cook more evenly, but you can use either kind in the following recipe.
An Easy Sparerib Recipe for Beginners
Although there are lots of different ways to cook ribs, the following recipe was designed with the beginner in mind, although everyone will agree the flavor is fantastic because simply adding BBQ sauce, salt and pepper is enough to complement the meat and the long, slow cooking time makes the meat just fall off the bone. Sometimes keeping things simple is best anyway, because you will not want to overcomplicate the flavor of the pork.
In the following recipe the ribs are cooked for 5 or 6 hours over a low, steady heat. Try to keep the heat pretty much constant. A barbeque thermometer will assist you with this. Another way of barbequing the ribs, if you have less time, is to keep the heat around 330 degrees F and cook them indirectly for 2 or 3 hours. Whichever method you use, you will be able to tell when the ribs are done because the meat will be tender enough to pull apart with your fingers, and the meat will have shrunk ¼ inch back from the bone.
The Best Serving Ideas
Spare ribs are best eaten with the fingers so you can pick them up and suck all that wonderful meat off the bones. You might like to serve side dishes which can also be eaten with the fingers, so corn on the cob would be a great choice, and perhaps a handful of potato chips too. If you do not mind eating some of the meal with cutlery and picking up the ribs, you might like to consider potato salad or coleslaw as a nice accompaniment to your ribs.
- 3 lbs pork spareribs
- 1½ cups BBQ sauce
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Discard the membrane from underneath the ribs and trim any loose bits of fat.
- Preheat the barbeque.
- You will need a low, steady heat around 225 degrees F.
- Season the ribs with salt and pepper and put them on the grill.
- Cook until the internal temperature of the meat is 175 degrees F.
- Brush with your favorite brand of BBQ sauce and cook for 10 minutes.
- Flip the ribs and brush BBQ sauce on the other side.
- Keep cooking the ribs, flipping them occasionally and brushing on more sauce, until they are tender.
- The total cooking time should be somewhere between 4 and 6 hours, depending on the size of the ribs and the heat of your barbeque.
Spare ribs are surprisingly easy to cook. A lot of home chefs avoid them, assuming a guaranteed tender result is too difficult, but follow this recipe and you will discover a foolproof way to get the perfect result, and that means plenty of flavor, really juicy pork, and the meat literally falling off the bone. Few things beat picking up ribs and eating the meat straight off the bone. In the photo the ribs are served with some grilled corn on the cob. Because these take several hours to cook, ensure you preheat the barbeque in plenty of time and you can prepare your chosen side dishes while the meat is barbequing.
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