Smoky barbecued spare ribs

Smoky barbecued spare ribs

Dean Cambray

Pork belly is one of my all-time favourite cuts of meat – and you’ll see I’ve got a few recipes for it in this book! These belly spare ribs are perfect for long, slow cooking on the barbecue (a kettle barbecue is ideal), and you’ll want to get yourself some hickory woodchips (they’re readily available) for that authentic smoky flavour. You’ll need about one to two cups of woodchips.

The secret to great ribs is a great marinade. The recipe here is pretty spicy as I love a big chilli hit, but do reduce the amount to your liking. You can use beef ribs instead of pork ribs, if you prefer, but remember not too trim away to much of the fat. It will render down as it cooks to the consistency of crispy bacon.

Serve your ribs American barbecue-style, with American slaw, potato salad and your favourite barbecue sauce. I also like to serve cornbread.



Quantity Ingredient
1 cup soft brown sugar
1 cup beer, (choose your favourite brand)
2 cups Homemade tomato sauce
1/2 cup runny honey
3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 spring onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup coriander, chopped, (leaves, stalks and roots)
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cumin, dry-roasted
1 tablespoon chilli flakes, (or to taste)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, (instead of, or as well as, the chilli flakes, depending on how strong you feel)
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
2kg pork belly spare ribs


  1. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl to form a paste.
  2. Arrange the pork belly spare ribs in a large shallow container. Pour on the marinade and use your hands to rub it in evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 2 days. Turn the meat around in the marinade every 6 hours or so.
  3. When ready to cook, light your kettle barbecue. When the coals die down to 180ºC (most kettle barbecues have a temperature gauge to help with this) add a small handful of the woodchips to each side of the coals and place the pork belly on the grill. Pull down the hood of the barbecue and cook the pork for 3 hours. Every 45 minutes or so add a few more woodchips to keep the smoke going.
  4. After about 3 hours, the ribs will be beautifully soft and tender and will fall apart in your hands as you rip into them. Eat with the suggested accompaniments and lots of cold beers to wash down the chilli!
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