Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs 8 Comments

Jun 29, 2011

On 4th of July weekend, there’s nothing better than a BBQ, so I decided to host one this year. While I was working on the menu, my friend Emily—who is 7 months pregnant—requested pork spare ribs. How do you say no to a pregnant woman having a craving? And yet, I knew I needed an easy recipe that still would impress everybody. Luckily, I found Chef Thomas Keller’s recipe from his restaurant ad hoc in Napa Valley.

What I love about this recipe is that it’s foolproof; it was my first time making it, but the ribs came out incredibly moist. You don’t need a sauce to moisten the ribs. The simple rub is all you need, and the flavor of the rub is smoky, sweet, and a little bit spicy: it just pops.

The salt drew out the juices of the meat, and caused the sugar to dissolve, creating a candy like coating. This sweetness was balanced by the mixture of spices, consisting of smoky sweet paprika, cayenne pepper, allspice, red pepper flakes and foundation of garlic powder and salt. It wasn’t your typical sloppy, saucy rib. This was something special.

And here it is for you: just in time for the 4th of July weekend. Let the flames begin!

Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs (Image 1)
Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs (Image 2)
Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs (Image 3)
Rubbed and Glazed Pork Spareribs (Image 4)


1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 slabs pork spareribs ( each about 3 pounds)
** We used St Louis style pork spare ribs, less expensive and just as meaty as baby back ribs.



Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

2 hours


Combine all the spice rub ingredients in a bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the spareribs on all sides with the spice rub.

Put on the baking sheet and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 to allow the flavors to develop. (The rub will also help tenderize the meat.)

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct-heat cooking followed by indirect heat cooking.

If your grill is small, sear the meat in batches. Place the ribs meat side down, without crowding, on the hot section of the grill and cook for about 2 minutes, until grill marks appear. Turn the ribs 90 degrees to create a crosshatch pattern and cook for another 2 minutes, or until marked.

Transfer the ribs, meat side up, to the cool section of the grill, close the lid, and cook until tender but not falling off the bones about 2 hours; move the ribs after the first hour so they cook evenly.

The temperature of the grill should be about 250 F; if the grill doesn’t have a thermometer, put an oven thermometer next to the meat to check the temperature, and adjust heat as necessary. Spareribs should be done when the meat thermometer reads between 145 and 155.

Take off the grill, let the ribs rest for ten minutes, then slice. For easy cutting stand ribs upright and slice between the bones.

I lit up one side of the gas grill on high and seared the ribs in batches to get the marks. I then moved the ribs away from the heat, and let them grill from the indirect heat. It worked out great


Thomas Keller ad hoc restaurant

Filed Under

Pork, Sauces| Rubs| Blends and BBQ

Spices Used

Pepper, Paprika, Allspice, Cayenne Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes

Other Ingredients Used



Delicious indeed! Just the right amount of juicy flavor and crispy edges. I am going to bookmark this post for the weeks ahead while my carnivorous cravings continue. Thanks!

—Emily, over 3 years ago

That rub sounds divine!! I love ribs..too bad hubby won't eat them

A Little Yumminess, over 3 years ago

Those look amazing! Makes it really difficult to be vegetarian...I miss bbq so much.

Melissa Hayes, over 3 years ago

How much sugar please??

—John Kay, over 3 years ago

Hi John, its a cup of sugar

—Ursula, over 3 years ago

We had them this evening and they were delicious! We'll definitely do it again!

Teena, over 3 years ago

It seems that I have smelled the fragrance of the pork ribs.

strobe light, over 3 years ago

Trying to cook without sugar do you suggest some substitutions?

—Dan Schaefer, over 2 years ago

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