Classic barbecued sticky ribs

Classic barbecued sticky ribs

Ben's BBQ Bible
Billy Law

Barbecued ribs conjure up images of classic American barbecues. They’re slow-cooked, to achieve meat that’s tender, moist and smoky, and finished with a sticky-sweet, sometimes sharp sauce or glaze.

There are thousands of recipes for these babies — there are even world barbecue championships to find the best rib recipes! Some people boil their ribs first, but true practitioners of the fine art of barbecuing believe this is a cardinal sin. The only way to achieve perfection is firstly to rub the ribs and then to barbecue them. The rub is generally a mix of salt, sugar and spices, which cures the meat, drawing out excess moisture and concentrating the flavour. The sugar helps to tenderise the flesh and slowly caramelises during the barbecue process to add to the wonderful flavour of the meat. You will need about 6–8 handfuls of soaked woodchips for this one.


Quantity Ingredient
3-4kg pork baby back ribs
250ml apple juice


Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon Celery salt
1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 tablespoon garlic flakes


Quantity Ingredient
1 cup brown sugar
250ml malt vinegar
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 small dried red chilli, crumbled
250ml tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
100g creamed horseradish
100ml dark rum


  1. Make the rub by placing the ingredients in a food processor and mixing until fine. Rub over the pork ribs and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2–3 hours or overnight. The rub will keep for 1 month if stored in an airtight container, but you should use it all in this recipe.
  2. Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature.
  3. Prepare your barbecue for indirect cooking over low–medium heat (roughly 100–120°C if you have a thermometer). Add a handful of pre-soaked woodchips to the coals, place the ribs over a drip tray and cook with the lid on until soft and tender, or until the bone pulls away from the meat. This will take 2–3 hours to do properly. Add woodchips every 40 minutes or so to keep the gentle smoke flavour going.
  4. If using a gas barbecue, light the outer gas burners. Heat some pre-soaked woodchips in a smoke box prior to adding the ribs with the gas on high; when the woodchips start to smoke, turn the heat down, place the ribs on the grill racks between the gas burners and cook on a low–medium heat as above.
  5. Spray the ribs with apple juice from time to time to keep them moist.
  6. While the ribs are cooking, combine the glaze ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until thick then keep warm.
  7. Once the ribs are cooked, cut them between the bones and place in a dish. Toss through the glaze then return the ribs to the barbecue, this time over direct heat to get them nice and hot and sticky.
  8. Transfer to a serving dish and eat straight away.
Ben's BBQ Bible
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again