Saturday, June 27, 2009

Throwing Down Some BBQ Ribs

In wanting to be upfront and honest about this, I have a confession to make. I grilled the ribs on a gas grill. I know there are some purists out there that are gasping at such a sacrilege. And if I had a smoker, I would have used it. And, yes, you will note that I had some flare ups that caused some charring, but all in all they came out pretty tasty if I do say so. I thought about digging a pit in the backyard like my grandfather used to talk about, but not sure the landlord would have been real happy about that and so thought better of that idea.

The original intention was to barbecue beef ribs. That was the idea anyway until I got to the store. And, again, you are so right! I should have gone to a real live, honest-to-goodness, breathing butcher. But instead I went to the closest grocery store. If you notice that I live in NW Arkansas, you can pretty well guess what store that was and you would be correct. In comparing the beef ribs to the pork ribs, the pork won out. What follows is my recipe for BBQ spare ribs. It is a lot of my Texas background with a few quirky twists and kicks here and there.


You want to make the mop at least the day before so it can sit overnight. Below is my family recipe cut in half with my changes. Seems like it still made enough mop for the entire summer.

Heat up 4 cups of water just till it starts to simmer. Steep 6 tea bags in the water. I used an Earl Grey black tea.

To the tea add the following:
1 qt. beef stock
1 tbsp salt
1-1/2 tbsp dry mustard
1 tbsp powdered garlic
1/2 tbsp ground bay leaf
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp pepper sauce
1 pint Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp steak sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup oil


This sauce is not for cooking the meat in. It is for slathering all over the meat at the table if so desired.

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
3 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup strong coffee
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup pomegranate/blueberry bottled juice
3/4 cup water
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 chopped onion
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp paprika
dash black pepper

This will make about 2-1/2 cups of sauce. Mix all the ingredients together and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and strain.

Keep it in the fridge, but when you serve it, heat it a bit as it works best warm.

This is basically the family recipe minus the MSG. I really, really hate MSG.

There is one other change though. The original recipe calls for dry lemon powder. You can use a powdered lemon drink mix for this. Use the kind you have to add sugar to (not the pre-sweetened or the artificial sweetener mixes). My problem was that the store near me is in the middle of a remodel. They had associates everywhere helping you find what you were looking for, but they did not have any lemon drink mix on the shelf (you know, the kind with the happy pitcher on the package.) They did have some lemon/lime mix. This looked close enough to me. So I got the lemon/lime and used it. When it is dry, it looks just fine. What I hadn't considered was that when it mixes with liquid it turns green. Not a very appetizing sight plastered all over the ribs at all. In fact, if you need to create some spoiled looking meat for a Halloween gag, this will do the trick for you!

For the rub, mix the following together:
6 tbsp salt
6 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dry lemon powder, which is about three envelopes of drink can use the lemon/lime as it tastes great...just don't let your guests see the meat before it is cooked
2-1/2 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp paprika

Rub the spice mixture liberally all over the ribs making sure you get it into every nook, cranny and meat flap. Cook the meat for about 1-1/2 hours to 1-3/4 hours at 350 degrees until fully cooked. Make sure to mop the meat every so often as it cooks to keep the meat moist. Serve with the sauce and your favorite sides.
Rules for Virtual Throw Down:
Bloggers in Virtual Throw Down:
-Luna Cafe
SMS Bradley, Pacific Northwest
Twitter ID: @LunaCafe
-Life By Chocolate
Mark LaPolla, New York
Twitter ID: @LifeByChocolate
-Cre8tive Kitchen
Brenda Campbell, Washington
Twitter ID: @cre8tivekitchen
-Gluten Free Sanctuary
Leslie McLinden, Arkansas
Twitter ID: lesliemac59
-Fresh Eyes
Jan Richards, Washington
Twitter ID: Mrs. Roadshow
Twitter ID: @LicoriceShrine
-Grandma's Gluten-Free Baking N Cooking
Joyce Paige, Kansas
Twitter ID: @SilknPearls, @GFGrandmaBNC
- The Sensitive Pantry
Nancy Kohler, New Jersey
Twitter ID: SensitivePantry


  1. WOW!!! This is a most interesting BBQ Rib recipe. A dry lemon-spiced rub; bergomot tea, beef stock and spice mop; and then a sweet-tart pomegranate-blueberry tomato sauce. Your plate display looks so great too! Thanks for sharing your family's prize recipe! :-) ...

  2. Thanks Susan! How sweet! I really had a great time with this and found some new flavors that everyone seemed to really like.

  3. I have to say I'm drooling as I read this. I might just make the mop and eat it by spoonfuls. Your recipe is so unique and interesting and it sounds like you should invite me over to try it! ;-)

  4. Gas, Grass or Ribs, no one eats for free!
    Being a city slicker myself, I can appreciate the fact that your landlord nor city fire department would tolerate a good ol' fashioned Smokin Southern Style BBQ pit in the back yard.
    Earl Gray/Bergamot Tea. V. Nice! Grown primarily in S. Italy the Bergamot tree produces a bitter citrus fruit. The skin of this fruit is extracted usually by steam to produce an oil which is then used to flavor the Earl of Grey's tea. (The french also LOVE Bergamot oil for their precious parfum blends.)

    And Leslie uses Bergamot to Mop her Ribs! How you say, "Magnifico"!

    Your Sauce: I like the Pomegranate for flavor, color and sweetness. Chili powder and garlic will give me the kick I desire!

    Your Sides: Life wouldn't be complete without Potato Salad and Slaw Darlin'

  5. Oh, gluten-free, msg-free and looking really good! Potato salad and cole slaw too! :) Yummy!