The Secret to Grilled Babyback Spare Ribs

by heidi on May 23, 2012

Foodie Crush Barbeque Pork Spare Ribs

This weekend we’re packing the coolers, loading up the truck with big boy toys and heading out of town with friends to the mountains.

It’s one of our favorite weekends filled with deep breaths in the stunning outdoors, leisurely morning coffee time on the aspen tree-lined deck and way too much laughter. More than most could possibly bear.

Afterall, we’re a funny and sarcastic group. Or at least we think so.

Besides hanging, hiking and harrassing, it’s the perfect occasion to get together and cook. Our grocery list takes precedence over the contents of our weekend-packed bags. Memorial day calls for chillin’ and grillin’ and nothin’ says grillin’ like RIBS!

My husband has spent many a day trying various methods to create the most succulent ribs to suckle and savor upon. So what’s his big secret?

Take them to the oven before they ever hit the fire. Most think ribs need to be cooked over an open grilled flame, but using the grill as a finishing agent instead of your main cooker is the key.

We season then refrigerate, and bake the ribs low and slow until its time for an introduction to the open flame. Sounds like most dating gigs right?

Heat the ribs on the grill first then baste with sauce. If you add the sauce too early you’ll be sure to end up with blackened crusty outtards thanks to the potential for burning the sugar in the barbecue sauce rather than the savory and delicious variety we all crave.

This rub is from my brother-in-law, a Virginian cum Texan with a penchant and passion for grilling and smoking. We first tasted this rub over Easter 2 years ago and its been a go-to for us ever since. I think my husband dreams of this rub as he covets my brother-in-law’s ultimate smoker.

Barbeque Pork Ribs with Magic Dust

Barbeque Pork Ribs with Magic Dust


4 racks baby back pork ribs (9 to 12 pounds)
2 cups apple cider
¼ cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons pepper
1 tablespoon chile powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Your favorite barbeque sauce


  1. 1. Combine all dry ingredients and generously rub over surface of ribs. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. 2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place room temperature ribs on high edged baking sheet lined with wire rack. Pour 1 cup apple cider in baking sheet, place ribs on rack and cook for 1 ½ hours. Add another 1 cup cider and cook for another 1 ½ hours or until meat pulls apart from bones.
  3. 3. Preheat grill to medium high. Grill ribs for 7-10 minutes each side, basting with barbeque sauce. Remove and serve.

from Ardie Davis and Paul Kirk

Ribs, they’re the main event, right? But we all need a little somethin’ extra to complement the Q. Here’s a complete Q-fest menu, ready to be prepped, rattled and rolled into your awaiting belly.

Foodie Crush Pink Vodka Lemonade

Let’s get this party started and bring out our inner hillbilly with Jen and Keep It Simple Foods Blueberry Infused Vodka Lemonade featuring our favorite weekend delivery vessel that withstands the strongest shot: the basic Mason jar.

Foodie Crush Sippity Sup Grilled CornSweet corn gets an even sweeter kick in the drawers with Greg’s adaptation of SippitySup’s Grilled Corn with Feta and Lime thanks to a spicy hit of chili powder, salty cheese and puckerish citrus

Foodie Crush Classic Potato SaladCue the flurry of backyard friends and hungry eaters, Brooklyn SummersClassic Potato Salad keeps it basic but loaded with tons of flavor thanks to crunchy celery and salty brined capers

Foodie Crush London Bakes Rhubarb GaletteAdd a simple but elegant ending to your BBQ with Kathryn’s sweet hot mess called London Bakes Rhubarb and Basil Galette. Oh, and don’t you dare forget the vanilla ice cream.

Related Posts
Chermoulah Swordfish Skewers
Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Burgers
Grilled Pizzas

Foodie Crush mag is just around the corner. Don’t forget to submit your frozen treat recipe to be included in the issue. Because you could rub frozen shoulders with some of the web’s best and brightest. Yes, I mean you too!


Posted in: entrees,meat and seafood,recipes

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn May 23, 2012 at 2:48 am

Gosh, thank you so much for including my galette in your bbq menu – I’m honoured to be in such great company! Ribs are such are favourite in my family but my dad always complains that it’s impossible to find good ribs here in the UK, I don’t think he’s going to let me get away with not making these for him!


Ali @ Gimme Some Oven May 23, 2012 at 7:02 am

Will have to give this oven-first method a try! These look SO delicious!!!


Carrie May 23, 2012 at 8:10 am

Lordy! Have I mentioned lately that I have a crush on YOU? Or at least your blog. Holy COW this all looks amazing.


Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 23, 2012 at 8:26 am

fabulous! Love all that you do!


Erin May 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

I learned the hard way that it is best to slow cook the ribs before grilling. When I was first married, we invited some friends over and decided to slurge and grill up some baby back ribs. I asked the guy at the meat store what the best way to cook them would be. He said to just grill them up. Later that night, we put the ribs on the grill and started visiting with our friends. A few minutes later my friends eyes got really big and she said, “Your grill is on fire!” I turned around to see a major inferno. We turned off the propane and blew the flames out that were dancing on the ribs. They were seriously charred. I offered to order up a pizza, but our friends insisted on eating the ribs as they were and even tried to offer up a few compliments, but they were seriously bad. Since then I do the slow cook in the oven and finish them off on the grill. Can’t wait to try the sauce!


Cookin' Canuck May 23, 2012 at 9:01 am

The first time I ever made ribs, I did the whole thing on the grill and ended up with charred, tough ribs. The oven to grill method really is the best and I like your idea of baking them in a little apple cider. I hope you guys have an amazing time in the mountains. I am here to vouch for you…you are indeed sarcastic and funny!


Cassie May 23, 2012 at 9:14 am

Sharing this with my husband…he does the grilling in our house and he adores BBQ sauce. He will love this!


sippitysup May 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

You have a crush on my corn? I am so thrilled. Thanks, GREG


Rocky Mountain Woman May 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

love ribs in the summer! I will pass this on to my son who is in charge of the ribs for my grandson’s birthday next month…


Singrit May 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I have been looking for a good recipe for ribs. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I love that it uses the oven and grill.


Karylle May 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

Thank you for the tips you have shared here and I just hope I can make this perfectly on my husband’s birthday.. I am sure he will love this..


Angie@Angie's Recipes May 24, 2012 at 3:36 am

Fantastic! Grilled ribs are my favourite!


Sue May 24, 2012 at 6:15 am

Oh yum, this sounds and looks fantastic! Thanks for posting!


Randall H. Forsyth May 24, 2012 at 6:27 am

Amazing recipe! I must try this one, looks yummy!!


Wendy@chezchloe May 24, 2012 at 9:34 am

So looking forward to getting reacquainted with my grill. Thanks for the inspirations. That blueberry vodka might drive me to drink!


Maria May 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Josh would love these ribs! Have fun in the mountains! Enjoy your weekend!


Val May 24, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Can’t wait for the Memorial Day barbecuing to being. That corn looks amazing! I’m planning to make these bourbon barbecued chicken sandwiches and I think they’d be the perfect counterpoint to the apple slaw.


Ingrid May 29, 2012 at 12:21 am

This may be a silly question, are the ribs touch the vinegar? As it says place on rack. Thanks :))


Kristen May 29, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Those are some seriously good looking ribs!


Nealey @ Dixie Caviar June 3, 2012 at 8:29 am

Wow, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen ribs look so good! I think these look like the perfect recipe to take the new gas grill out for a spin.


Julia June 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

So this might be dumb, but it occurred to me (as I was drinking a beer cider, apple flavor), does ‘apple cider’ mean the juice stuff, or the beer stuff? And I love the mason jar in the back aaaaand I’m pretty sure I’m making these for father’s day.


heidi June 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I used Apple Cider as in the juice stuff as but you could always add in the booze. What could it hurt :)


Karin J August 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Did anybody notice the ambiguity – kosher salt on pork ribs? lol


Eric October 3, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I noticed the heading of this article; “…baby back spare ribs.” That is like saying ,”I have a ribeye strip steak.” Baby back ribs are cut from the loin, near the spinal portion of the rib cage, while spare ribs are the bottom portion of the ribs, near the belly(close to bacon) The point of my comment: there is no such thing as a baby back spare rib! That just sounds silly! Foodie…pssh


timmy November 27, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Looks great… is that 250 degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius?


heidi November 28, 2012 at 10:05 am

That would be Fahrenheit, thanks for checking.


Cheryl December 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Crap! I’m making this now and I used Apple Cider Vinegar instead of Apple Cider! Misread the directions. Will let you know how it turns out….

Well, OMG, this recipe is amazing. This is the first time I’ve used a ‘rub’. The ribs came out with a nice crust and a sweetness that made them so delectable that you could eat them without the sauce.

I didn’t have mustard or paprika or garlic powder, so I just rubbed the ribs with freshly crushed garlic first. I mixed the remaining ingredients and added about 2 tsp of ground ginger.

I cooked at 275 for three hours (because I had to do two pans of ribs for 4 slabs because they were so long) for 3 hours. I did NOT need to put these ribs on the grill, though I totally expected to do so because I normally cook ribs this way. They were beautiful colored (browned with a little redness—from the chili powder and brown sugar, I guess) and tender and juicy.

So….I didn’t ruin the ribs with the apple cider vinegar. Although…..after I found out I screwed up, instead of using the apple cider vinegar in the next 1 1/2 hours of cooking, I used just plain water. Next time I’ll use apple cider. :-)

5 STAR recipe. I usually make great ribs, but my husband thought these were the best ever. He raved about them for hours after the meal. LOL


Lorrie April 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

Do I wrap the ribs in foil while cooking or just lay on top of the rack with the apple cider below?


Lorrie April 28, 2013 at 9:19 am

Do I wrap the ribs in foil while baking?


heidi April 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm

No, you don’t need to wrap them at all. Just pop them in the oven.


Ray Summers July 5, 2013 at 4:13 am

Looks like a great recipe for this weekend after the practice. Grilled Spare ribs? Check. Grilled Corn? Check. Thanks for sharing and keep them coming.


BBQ Sonoma County May 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Can you cook these ribs on a BBQ as well?


Melissa June 28, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Do the ribs submerge in the cider use a high wire rack?


lesbian foot fetish humiliation September 20, 2014 at 1:32 pm

each time i used to read smaller posts which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with
this post which I am reading at this time.


Leave a Comment

Current ye@r *

{ 5 trackbacks }