Pork spare ribs have thicker bones and slightly more fat content than their anatomical neighbor, baby-back ribs, but produce excellent results when grilled properly. Grilled spare ribs do not, however, have the “fall off the bone” tenderness associated with braised baby-back ribs. Take the density of spare ribs into account when preparing them, as they do not yield as much meat as baby-backs. Approximately one pound of spare ribs constitutes one serving.

Things You'll Need

Position the spare ribs bone-side down on the work surface. Detach one end of the membrane that extends the length of the ribs with a paring knife. Grasp the detached piece of membrane, pull it from the ribs and discard.

Mix together a spice rub of your choice. A standard rub might consist of equal parts ground spices, such as cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, rosemary, cayenne pepper and chili powder. Add 2 tsp. of kosher salt and 1 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper per rack of ribs to the spice mixture.

Coat the ribs in the spice rub and wrap them in cling film. Refrigerate the spare ribs a minimum of two hours but don’t exceed 24 hours.

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to reach room temperature. Place 35 coals to one side of a charcoal grill and ignite them or set a gas grill to medium and light only half of it. Cover the grill and allow it to heat.

Trim any excess fat hanging from the ribs. Place the ribs bone-side down on the side of the grill opposite the heat.

Grill the spare ribs until the meat begins to shrink from the bone, approximately two hours. Add any sauce during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent it from scorching.


  • Baste both sides of the ribs. Be careful when flipping them, as they will be tender.

  • Baste ribs FIRST, before adding any coals.

  • Remember to keep grill covered.

  • Maintain cooking temperatures.

  • May want to cook 2 racks of ribs, as this is a semi-timely process.

  • Don’t forget, if you like baked potato’s, wrap ’em and place them on the grill as well. To check for doneness, grab with gloves and squeeze. If it “mushes” easily, they’re done. Don’t forget to turn them and not burn them.

References and Resources

Recipe Tips: Grilled Spare Ribs Recipe