| | | |

Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Smoked pork spare ribs seasoned with dry rub and cooked low and slow until they are tender and juicy. For “wet” ribs, pair it with your favorite barbecue sauce or make your own!

Marrekus is a master in the kitchen, but he is best known for his southern barbecue recipes. These pork spare ribs are his favorite and are always on rotation at our house!

Preparation

To prepare your pork spare ribs for smoking, gather all of your ingredients. You will also need a cutting board, a butter knife, paper towels, and a sharp chef’s knife or boning knife.

Step 1: Remove the membrane. The membrane is a piece of silver skin on the back of the ribs. Some people like to leave it on but Marrekus prefers to take it off. To remove the membrane, lay your spare ribs on a cutting board and use a butter knife to get under the membrane and pull it off. You can also use your fingers with a paper towel to grip and remove the membrane.

Step 2: Square off your ribs. Marrekus loves a St. Louis-style cut, which is more uniform and rectangular. St. Louis-style cut ribs are often sold at the grocery store, but you can also do it yourself. First, trim any uneven or jagged edges. Then locate the flap of meat that extends beyond the bone on the bone side of the ribs. Use a chef’s knife or boning knife to cut along the edge of the bones to remove this flap.

Step 3: Apply the binder. Marrekus uses yellow mustard as a binder which basically acts like glue and helps the dry rub stay on. Simply coat the ribs with mustard on both sides.

Step 4: Apply the dry rub. Coat the ribs generously on all sides. Marrekus takes a heavy-handed approach and pats the rub in to make sure that it sticks. 

Setting up your smoker or grill

For this smoked pork spare ribs recipe, you can use a smoker or a grill set up for indirect cooking.

Smoker Instructions

  1. Heat your smoker to 250°F (121°C).
  2. Add smoker wood or chips when the temperature has been reached.
  3. Once heated, place the spare ribs on the smoker grates. 

Gas or Charcoal Grill Instructions

If you plan to smoke spare ribs on a charcoal grill, set your coals and smoker wood to one side for a hot and cool zone. When cooking, the ribs will go over the cool zone.

If you want to smoke spare ribs on a gas grill, you only have to worry about maintaining a 250°F (121°C) temperature throughout the cooking process. It would also help to use the burners furthest away from where you set the ribs.

Dry Rub for Pork Ribs

To make a dry rub for smoked pork spare ribs, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the spice mixture is evenly blended. Store any leftover seasoning in an air-tight container in your pantry or spice cabinet. 

Vinegar based bbq sauce

To make a a vinegar based bbq sauce, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes. Store leftover sauce in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

What type of smoker should I use?

Any type of smoker can produce delicious smoked pork spare ribs when used correctly. For this recipe, Marrekus used a Horizon stick burner. He likes the stick burner because it allows him to control every aspect of the cook and he loves the flavor that it gives off when smoking with the wood splits.

At the end of the day, the type of smoker you choose all depends on your personal preferences. For example, experience level, budget, space, and the amount of time and money you’re willing to invest in learning and maintaining the smoker.

Tip: Check out these other favorite smoker recipes: smoked short ribs, pulled pork, dino ribs, and pulled chicken.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between spare ribs and baby back ribs?

Spare ribs are cut from the belly of the pig, whereas baby back ribs are cut from around the pork loin. They also differ in terms of meatiness, fat content, and flavor.

One reason Marrekus prefers spare ribs over baby back ribs is that they are meatier and have a stronger pork flavor. Spare ribs also tend to be fattier. When cooked low and slow on the smoker, the fat renders and produces rich, succulent flavor.

How long to smoke spare ribs?

Spare ribs are smoked at 250°F (121°C) for a total of 3 hours. After the first two hours, wrap your ribs in butcher paper and smoke for 1 more hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 205°F (97°C).

How often to spritz ribs?

Spritz every 30-40 minutes as needed.

Spritzing is important because it helps prevent the ribs from drying out. Our spritz is made up of 1 cup apple juice, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 Worcestershire sauce, and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce. Pour the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake it up.

Do I need to wrap spare ribs in butcher paper?

Yes! Once your spare ribs have reached the desired color, wrap ribs in butcher paper. Marrekus always uses butcher paper because it helps to maintain the bark on the ribs. You can also use foil, but it’s easier for moisture to get in that way.

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Smoked Pork Spare Ribs

  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Category: main course
  • Method: smoking
  • Cuisine: southern barbecue

Description

Smoked pork spare ribs seasoned with dry rub and cooked low and slow until they are tender and juicy. For “wet” ribs, pair it with your favorite barbecue sauce or make your own!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 3-4 pound slab of pork spare ribs
  • yellow mustard for rubbing
  • butcher paper

Dry Rub for Pork Ribs

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder

Vinegar based barbecue sauce

  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Spritz

  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce (optional)


Instructions

  1. Add dry rub ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly; set aside.

  2. Mix sauce ingredients together in a saucepan and stir combine; simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Bring the smoker up to 250 F. If using a grill, set it up for indirect cooking and heat to 250 F. 

  4. Add smoker wood splits, chips, or pellets to the smoker when the temperature has been reached.

  5. Prep the spare ribs by removing the membrane. 

  6. Coat both sides of the ribs with yellow mustard.

  7. Season ribs thoroughly with dry rub seasoning, patting the spices into the meat for better adhesion.

  8. Place ribs on the smoker and cook for 2 hours or until a deep mahogany color has been achieved. 

  9. Spray ribs with the spritz mixture every 30 to 40 minutes to prevent ribs from drying out. 

  10. Remove ribs from the smoker and spritz before wrapping them in butcher paper.

  11. Place ribs back on the smoker and cook until internal temperature reaches 205F, about 1 hour.

  12. Remove ribs from the smoker and lightly brush on the sauce. 

  13. Slice ribs and serve.


Keywords: smoked pork spare ribs, pork spare ribs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.