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Nothing hits the spot like pork spare ribs, especially with the rib tip at the top intact, as in this recipe from James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott, in “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook.”
“Now, there’s always going to be preferences within barbecue,” Scott—the founder of Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ (rodneyscottsbbq.com), with locations in South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia—writes in the book. “Some people think the rib tips are too bony or too tough compared to the meat between the ribs—but I don’t mind. I like the slight resistance you get when you bite into our ribs—I consider them perfect.”
Read below for the full instructions, in honor of National BBQ Month.
Rodney’s Spare Ribs from Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ
Makes 6 servings
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 2 ½ hours
3 slabs pork spare ribs, membranes removed
1 ½ tablespoons Rodney’s Rib Rub
2 to 3 cups Rodney’s Sauce
Rodney’s Spare Ribs from Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ (Jerrelle Guy)
1. Fire up your grill to between 200 °F and 250 °F.
2. Season each slab with Rodney’s Rib Rub and make sure you get under the flap, the little piece of meat that dangles on the bone side of the ribs.
3. Place the seasoned ribs on the grill grate bone-side down, with the fatty end toward the middle of the grill. The middle of the grill tends to be hotter, so that will ensure that the thicker part of the rib gets cooked properly. Close the grill and cook: You are looking for caramelization on the ribs before you flip them. That should take about 1 ½ hours. Open the grill and look for caramelization on the bone.
4. If it’s ready, use the mop-flip-mop method:. Put one cup of Rodney’s Sauce (recipe below) to the side for serving with the ribs. Use the remaining cup to use the “mop, flip, mop” method by brushing or mopping the meat side with sauce then flipping the ribs over so that they are bone-side up. Mop the ribs again. Close the grill.
5. Bring the grill back up to a temperature between 200 °F to 250 °F. Cook the ribs until the second side gets that same caramelized look. To check doneness, we pick up a slab of ribs with a pair of tongs and check how much give there is. When you pick the slab up, it should sag or flop easily. If a slight tear develops in the meat between the bones, that’s another sign of doneness.
For the Rib Rub:
½ cup kosher salt (we like Diamond Crystal)
¼ cup MSG
¼ cup fresh ground black pepper
¼ cup paprika
¼ cup chili powder
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months
For Rodney’s Sauce:
1 gallon distilled white vinegar
1 lemon, thinly sliced
½ cup ground black pepper
⅓ cup cayenne pepper
1 ¼ tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 cups sugar
1. In a small stockpot, warm the vinegar over medium-high heat. After about 5 minutes, when the vinegar reaches 150 °F on an instant-read thermometer, just before it starts to simmer, add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemon peels begin to soften and wilt, about 10 minutes more.
2. Whisk in the black pepper, cayenne, pepper flakes, and sugar. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce reaches 190 °F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool before using. Once the lemon is removed, the sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 8 weeks.
This original recipe is from the cookbook “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook,” which was published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and was shared with Fox News Digital.