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Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Ketchup Slather

4.0/5 rating (3 votes)
  • Prep Time: 40 mins
  • Ready in: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Baby Back Ribs with Spicy Ketchup Slather

This recipe has a 3 stage process, I make no apology for the rather involved process, as the end result is really very good, better than any shop bought ribs. Take your time, as this dish can take four hours to cook.


  • Spice Rub
  • 2 tbsp paprika, smoked is best I think
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dry English mustard
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • Mix well together and store in an airtight container, it will keep for 4 weeks.
  • Basting Sauce
  • 100mls olive oil
  • 250mls cider vinegar
  • 200mls light beer such as lager
  • 100mls tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp black pepper ground
  • Mix all the ingredients together and leave to marinate for 30 minutes for the chilli to reconstitute.
  • 2 racks (15 bones) pork back ribs
  • Slather
  • 8 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp vinegar, any will do
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Any rub that’s left over

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  1. A couple of hours before you want to start cooking, remove the racks from the fridge.
  2. Turn over, and you will see a thin silvery membrane covering the inner bones, this has to be removed or the ribs will be tough as old boots.
  3. Using a sharp knife, tease the fine membrane away from the tip of the rub, it will come away fairly easily. Then using a kitchen towel to get a grip, pull away from the ribs, repeat the process with the other rack.
  4. Next, place the ribs into a baking tray, and sprinkle over half the rub, working well into the meat.
  5. Turn over and repeat the process until all the rubs has been used up. Leave for 1 hour minimum, best overnight if possible.
  6. Any rub that’s keep, and add to the slather later.
  7. Heat the bar-b-que to 300° F 150° C.
  8. Add a small pan or tray of boiling water beside the meat.
  9. Place the ribs on the bars using the indirect method of cooking (see introduction)
  10. Cover the bar b q and cook for 20 minutes.
  11. Brush over the basting sauce using a new medium paint brush or pastry brush, then repeat every 20 minutes, taking care to be quick so not too much heat escapes.
  12. Keep topping up the boiling water.
  13. Keep and eye on the temperature if the heat rises too much the ribs will end up dry and tough.
  14. After 2 1/2 hours, check the ribs, the meat at the ends of the ribs will have shrunk away, a clear indicator that the meat is probably cooked.
  15. Try and pull apart, if they come apart with a little resistance, then they are cooked, if not then leave for a further 30-45 minutes.
  16. Once cooked, remove from the bar b q, remove the pan of water also, then turn up the heat to full.
  17. Mix the slather well together and bring to the boil.
  18. Brush each rack with the ketchup slather, lightly oil the bars with a little oil on a piece of kitchen towel.
  19. Place directly onto the hot, oiled bars and grill for a couple of minutes on each side to colour up nicely, take care as they will burn.
  20. Serve with the rest of the slather sauce as a dip, large beer and plenty of bibs and serviettes, tuck in...
  21. Alternatively eat with my bar b q sauce, see sauce section.